Virtual Shtetl Goes Mobile

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The Virtual Shtetl 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 soon 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.

Multi Interactive, a department of  Multi Communications, PR agency from Poland, has prepared a mobile version of the websiteMulti Communications has been cooperating with the Museum of the History of Polish Jews on the project of the Virtual Shtetl since 2008. Its core idea is based on the concept  of a ‘museum without walls’ – connecting people from all over the world and encouraging them to recreate the history of the Polish Jewish community. Thanks to the engagement of some 3,500 volunteers form Poland and abroad, the website managed to collect so far around 56,800 pictures from past and present, over 1000 audio material and video footages, as well over 30,000 pages of text.

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(click on images to enlarge)

The mobile version designed by Multi Communications works on iPhone, smartphones with Android system and modern Nokia phones. Its additional feature allows those who have a GPS to locate objects related to the Jewish culture, such as a synagogue or cemetery.

“Cooperation with the Museum of the History of Polish Jews allows us to be part of a very important project, the aim of which is to preserve the cultural heritage of Polish Jews. The Virtual Shtetl and its mobile version provide a perfect opportunity to learn more about the history and culture of a nation that for hundreds of years have been contributing to the creation of our national identity”, says Sergiusz Roszczyk, head of the Interactive Department at Multi Communications.

You can follow Virtual Shtetl on: Facebookhere and Twitterhere.
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