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By DPA

 www.haaretz.com

Construction on the long-awaited Museum of the History of Polish Jews will begin in the Polish capital Warsaw next fall, with its doors expected to open within three years.

Warsaw's chief architect Michal Borowski was quoted Monday with a confirmation that work on the long-awaited multi-million dollar multi-media facility would finally begin after more than a decade of preparation.

Construction will begin in an area of the city that was the thriving centre of Jewish life prior to the Second World War. It was later enclosed by the Nazis inside the infamous wartime Jewish Ghetto.

The museum is to face an imposing black marble monument dedicated to the dead of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The doomed rebellion by members of the Jewish Fighting Organization (ZOB) was the first armed revolt by partisans against the Nazis in occupied Europe.

Warsaw's museum will focus not only on the Holocaust, but also on the 800 years of Jewish life in Poland which it obliterated.

Poland's Jewish minority numbered some 3.5 million prior to WWII and accounted for roughly 10 percent of the country's pre-war population.

The ghettos and death camps established by Nazi Germany claimed the vast majority of Poland's Jews. Polish Jews account for half of the six million Europeans of Jewish ancestry killed by Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler's Third Reich.

Europe was home to some 11 million Jews prior to the Holocaust.

Designed by Finnish architectural duo Rainer Mahlamaeki and Ilmar Lahdelma, the museum's entrance will be of large proportions.

A symbolically ruptured facade will open up to monumental undulating walls alluding to the Old Testament's miraculous parting of the Red Sea through which the prophet Moses led the Jews to escape captivity in Egypt to life in the Promised Land.

It is the brain-child of project director Jerzy Halbersztadt and head of the Warsaw-based Jewish Historical Institute, Professor Marian Turski. Holocaust and Jewish history expert Professor Israel Gutman heads the team preparing expositions.

Financed by the Polish government, Warsaw City Council and private donors, the project will cost some 55 million dollars. Some 250,000 to 500,000 visitors are expected to walk through its entrance each year.