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Ghetto prayer case unveiled at Polish Jews museum

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Poland's chief rabbi on Sunday unveiled a special prayer case at a new Polish Jews museum, days before its opening on the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising.

"With the Mezuzah here, it really means we're at home," Rabbi Michael Schudrich said of the case, containing a scroll inscribed with a Hebrew prayer to protect the hearth.

The Mezuzah, affixed to the right of the entrance as tradition calls, was made from a brick taken from building foundations at the site of the wartime Jewish ghetto.

"It's a sign of the Jewish world's revival. A world doomed to disappear that is undergoing a rebirth through this museum," deputy director Zygmunt Stepinski said.

On the eve of the Holocaust, Poland was home to some 3.3 million Jews, then Europe's largest Jewish community.

In 1945, Poland's surviving Jewish population numbered just 300,000 people.

Funded in part by the EU, the Museum of History of Polish Jews will spotlight a once thriving 1,000-year presence crippled by Nazi Germany.

It stands on the site of the former ghetto, which Nazi Germany built in 1940 to isolate around 480,000 of the capital's Jews before deporting the majority to their deaths.

The museum opens Friday, 70 years since the ill-fated ghetto uprising that saw a few hundred young Jews take arms against the occupying Germans rather than give in.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130414/ghetto-prayer-case-unveiled-at-polish-jews-museum