The Virtual Shtetl (Polish: Wirtualny Sztetl) is a bilingual Polish-English portal of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, devoted to the Jewish history of Poland. It was officially launched on June 16, 2009. The portal lists over 1,240 towns with maps, statistics and picture galleries. In the future, it will also include an interactive system by which Internet users will interact with each other. It will create a link between Polish-Jewish history and the contemporary, multi-cultural world.
The "Virtual Shtetl" is an extension of the real Museum scheduled to open in 2011 on the site of the Warsaw ghetto. Its main objective is to provide a unique social forum for everyone interested in Polish-Jewish life. The "Virtual Shtetl" re-tells the history of Polish Jews which existed, to a great extent, in a town or a village (Yiddish: shtetl)
The portal provides information on small towns and big cities - both about the past and the present. It covers both contemporary and pre-war Poland. The English version enables Jews from all over the world to research their own Polish ancestry. Creating a fuller picture of Polish-Jewish history and Polish-Jewish relations was possible thanks to the efforts of many institutions, organizations and individuals. Because the subject is so broad, the initiatives for further research and development are considered infinite. Numerous resources have been provided by the Polin portal and the Jewish.org.pl community portal. Other Internet projects which have participated were the www.izrael.badacz.org and Diapozytyw (Adam Mickiewicz Institute) as well as the Jewish Historical Institute.
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