Warsaw Jewish Theater to have a new home with $41 million from city

The former Theatre building at plac Grzybowski (Grzybowski Square). The building was demolished in 2017.. (photo credit: ADRIAN GRYCUK/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)


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WARSAW, Poland – The city of Warsaw will allocate $41 million to give its Jewish theater a new home.

On Thursday, the Warsaw City Council approved the proposal by Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz to adapt a five-story tenement building. The building from the late 19th century is one of the few remnants of the former Jewish Warsaw. It is located on Prozna Street in the area of Grzybowski Square, where the original theater building was located before its demolition in 2017.

The Warsaw Jewish Theater was closed in 2016, when the building’s owner decided to empty the building before authorizing its demolition. Its  director and actors protested the decision.

Malgorzata Zakrzewska, a Warsaw City Council member, called the Jewish theater “one of the most important guardians of Jewish culture in Warsaw, and all over Poland.”

“It is our commitment, but also our responsibility for culture, which was a permanent element of the Warsaw landscape before the war,” Zakrzewska said Thursday at a news conference.

The $41 million will be used to hold an architectural competition and for design documentation in order to restore the splendor of the former Jewish tenement house. According to preliminary plans, there will be two stages along with facilities for the activities and promotion of Yiddish culture.

The city is waiting for conservation recommendations from the Provincial Conservator of Monuments, which will be the basis for the competition for architects.

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The opening of the new theater is planned to take place in five years.

“The city authorities believed with us that this theater is an ambassador of Jewish culture,” theater director Gołda Tencer said at the news conference. “I promise that together with the actors, staff and administration, we will make something special here.”

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