Jewish Museum leader is resigning

David Marwell, the chief executive and director of the Museum of Jewish Heritage, is resigning from the Battery Park City museum and will give up his post at the end of the year.

David Marwell

David Marwell

Marwell, 63, in his resignation letter to Bruce Ratner, the museum’s chairperson, said he had many special memories in his 15 years, including the museum’s commencing construction on the massive Morgenthau Wing at the end of 2001, just after 9/11 when Lower at Manhattan was still reeling.

“I have had a book project in mind for some time that will detail my involvement with the Josef Mengele investigation, and I think that now is the time to sit down and write it,” Marwell wrote, referencing the notorious Nazi war criminal whose case Marwell worked on at the U.S. Justice Dept.

Ratner, in a memo to staff, said Marwell “has brilliantly guided the museum…To say that David has left his mark on the museum is an understatement and he will be greatly missed.”

Marwell has led the museum, also known as A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, since 2000.

Ratner has asked Marwell to remain as president of the Auschwitz Jewish Center Foundation, which owns and operates the Jewish center in Poland at the site of the former German Nazi concentration camp. He has also asked the museum board to give Marwell the title of director emeritus.

Neither museum leader responded to an interview request left through a spokesperson. Ratner did not mention the successor search in his memo.

— Josh Rogers


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15 Responses to Jewish Museum leader is resigning

  1. Yet again irresponsible and offensive journalism on display. Since when is Auschwitz a Polish Concentration Camp???? It was and will always be a GERMAN NAZI CONCENTRATION CAMP IN OCCUPIED POLAND.

    Get your facts straight and stop perpetuating this vicious ignorance or find a new profession if you can't reference history correctly Mr. Rogers. This is deeply offensive especially to the Polish community, to the Polish and Jewish survivors and to the memory of all of those persecuted by German Nazis –and those included Gypsies, Ethnic Poles, Jews, Russians and others–younger generations deserve to be told the facts so that they don't perpetuate these errors when the survivors are gone–isn't this why centers like this were created in the first place. So a correction and an apology is in order immediately. Your readers and those who visit this center deserve better.

  2. You can call Auschwitz both Jewish concentration camp (most victims) or Polish concentration camp (victims and piece of land stolen to build it) but do not you dare call it Nazi or Nazi German concentration camp!

  3. Luke Sieniawski

    Change that slanderous phrase. Camps were German.

  4. The only "Polish" aspect of Auschwitz were the victims. Ethnic (non-Jewish) Poles were the first prisoners of this GERMAN camp, and, by war's end, their number was exceeded only by Jews of various nationalities. Even the Association of German Historians has condemned the use of this fallacious terminology. Please make a correction.


  6. I find it extremely offensive to have Auschwitz called a Polish camp. Can’t you people read your history correctly. I’m Polish American and it’s a slander to my heritage. It was a GERMAN/NAZI camp on Polish soil. Get it right or don’t talk about it at all.

  7. Josh Rogers, Editor

    Downtown Express would like to apologize to anyone who was offended by our wording choice. Poland and Poles were not responsible for the war crimes committed by Nazi Germany and we never intended to suggest otherwise. We have edited the article.

  8. wojciech pisarski

    I am pleased that this article has been corrected.

    Amazingly, the camp where the Germans murdered many thousands of gentile Poles before using an extension to exterminate Jews is often described as Polish, thus seeming to attribute the guilt for its' establishment to the victims.

  9. Can't say German camps
    because German companies
    spent lots of money to
    replace "German" camps/crimes with the word "nazi".

  10. J Przedzienkowski

    The term 'Polish concentration camp' is incorrect. The German Nazis established the 'concentration camps' on occupied Polish soil. The camps were not Polish as implied by the comment. Please correct the error.

  11. Thank you for the speedy correction.

  12. Many thanks to Mr Marwell for his years of service and dedication to the museum.

  13. Thank you for your prompt correction.

    However, please kindly remember these camps were not Polish, and refrain from making such a mistake in any further content.

    To clarify, these were German camps, situated on German-occupied territory throughout their period of operation.

  14. Dr. Marwell did not help catch Mengele-no one did-he died before he could be captured at the age of 67 in Brazil while drowning.

    As an aside, it was clear from Bruce Ratner's comments when he became the chairperson that Dr. Marwell was not to be at the museum for long-a shame because I felt that he did wonderful job in his years there.

    By the way, if I was of Polish background I would not be so quick to absolve the country of it's sins before, during and after the war.

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