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Warsaw Jews want to trade historic building for new offices

JTA

February 4, 2013 | 10:22 am

The Jewish community of Warsaw is advancing plans to demolish one of its historic ghetto-era buildings in favor of new offices.

Under the plan, the White House on Twarda Street would be replaced with a 20-story building where the community, which has tripled in size since the fall of communism, could accommodate more members during celebrations and on weekends, according to the Associated Press.

But the Association of Protectors of Warsaw's Cultural Heritage has filed a petition to the Cultural Ministry asking that the building -- one of the few that survived the German onslaught on the old Warsaw Ghetto -- be declared a historical site. The ministry is expected to decide on the issue in the coming months.

"An opinion that I can't agree with is that the building is more important than the future of the community," Andrzej Zozula, vice president of the Jewish community, told AP.

Poland's Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich reportedly is backing the plan to replace the building with a modern structure.

The white building reportedly is in a state of decay. Though it has a cellar that dates back more than two centuries, most of the building is about 130 years old and has undergone major transformations.

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