The Legacy gallery, an extension of the Core Exhibition of POLIN Museum, explores the lives and achievements of such outstanding individuals as Julian Tuwim, David Ben-Gurion, Arthur Rubinstein, Rosa Luxemburg, Raphael Lemkin, Ludwig Zamenhof, and Helena Rubenstein, among many others. Visitors are invited to reflect on how the lives and achievements of these individuals illuminate the history of Polish Jews, and how the history of Polish Jews helps us better understand who they became, what they accomplished, and their impact on Polish, Jewish, and world civilization.
The twenty-six individuals featured in the Legacy gallery represent creative achievement in many fields: art, literature, music, film, theatre, science and the humanities, law, education, economics, politics. Their biographies also testify to the diversity of their life experience and to the complex relations between Polish and Jewish worlds. All of them were born in Poland or in Polish lands; most of them grew up in Poland. Some were raised in religious families, others in acculturated or assimilated ones, and some converted. Some stayed in Poland, while others left. That said, the fact that they were born and bred in a world of Polish Jewish values had an impact, to a greater or lesser degree, on their life choices. This constellation of luminaries forms a collective portrait of Polish Jews in all their diversity, as seen through the prism of the lives and achievements of individuals who are at once exceptional and representative. Their biographies and careers were shaped at the crossroads of many cultures, which made them particularly open to the world. May their lives, values, and achievements continue to inspire us today and the generations to come.