Jewish Heritage Europe

Polish Jewish History Museum’s new logo

The Museum of the History of Polish Jews has unveiled its new logo: a green and grey “P” formed in part by the Hebrew letter “pey”…It has triggered a lively discussion.  What do you think of it?

Here’s what the Museum says:


22 January 2013

On January 22nd, the Museum of the History of Polish Jews changes its logo and visual identification, as we begin a new chapter in the story of the Museum – the inauguration of educational and cultural programming in the Museum’s new building, which will take place in April. The new logo conveys the character of this dynamic cultural institution, international in its reach, which will present Polish Jewish culture and history in its traditional and contemporary forms.

On April 19th, the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, the Museum of the History of Polish Jews will open its doors to the public. The installation of the Core Exhibition will still be underway, but the museum’s offer will already include temporary exhibitions, panel discussions, films, plays, concerts, activities for children and adults alike. We will present many different facets of Jewish history and culture: the well-known and the surprising, the traditional and the modern.

The new logo is intended as a reminder of the one thousand years of Jewish presence in Poland, but also of the rich offer and international character of the Museum, which will welcome visitors from all over the world in its new building– one of modern Warsaw’s architectural landmarks.

The logo was designed pro bono by a well-known Polish advertising agency, Przybora Zaniewski Ltd. (PZL). The creation of the new logo was a long process. In the end, the PZL team took their inspiration from a legend about the arrival of the first Jewish settlers in Poland. Jews began to arrive in Polish lands already in the Middle Ages, fleeing persecution. Having come to Poland, as the legend goes, they heard a voice from the heavens, saying “Po-lin”. In Hebrew, “po” means “here”, and “lin” means “you shall dwell”. Hearing “here you shall dwell”, the Jews settled in these regions, calling their new home, Poland, “Polin”. This is a beautiful legend. It is therefore no surprise that the word “Polin” is engraved in Hebrew and Latin letters on the glass panels of the Museum’s facade.

The Latin letter “P” has been combined with the Hebrew „פ” (pei), symbolically intertwining Polish and Jewish history. “P” for “Poland” and “pei” for “Polin”. A simple, geometric sign, comprehensible both to those using the Latin alphabet, as well as the Hebrew.

The font used for the letter “pei” in the new logo was not chosen at random. It is Chaim, the first modern Hebrew font, which revolutionised Hebrew and Yiddish typography. It was created by Jan Le Witt – a graphic designer, poster artist, typographer and illustrator, born in Częstochowa, Poland. Le Witt, or Lewitt, is best known for his work on illustrations of Julian Tuwim’s poetry. In 1929, while working for a Warsaw publishing house which printed books in Yiddish, Le Witt designed a font which he called Chaim, supposedly after his own middle name. De Witt’s story is thus an excellent example of the stories that will be told at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

The colors used in the symbol allude to the cool greens and grays of the building’s unique glass facade.

The new Museum of the History of Polish Jews logo is bursting with symbolism, while at the same time remaining extremely simple. It expresses the modern character of the new museum, its openness, as well as respect for the history and traditions it recounts. The Museum of the History of Polish Jews tells a story that is important to us all. This Polish-Jewish past not only determines the character of modern-day Poland and the identity of its inhabitants, but also that of Europe and the world today.

The new logo will promote the museum as a place of transformation, which connects people and creates the opportunity to look at Polish-Jewish relations from a different angle. Such an open attitude makes it possible to approach people from different cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds with respect and sincerity. We wish to make the museum an open place for dialogue and exploration. We are ready to engage in discussions with our visitors and the participants of our activities. The Museum of the History of Polish Jews does not give ready answers, but encourages independent reflection. We would like our guests to learn to use the riches of diversity, of which the history of the Polish Jews stands as a reminder.