As Jewish people and culture strongly influenced the life of pre-WWII Warsaw it is important to mourn the victims and attrocities they faced from German nazis together with the rest of Warsaw and its inhabitants.
As much as not a lot of Jewish Warsaw, which was so interesting and lively when described by IB Singer, remained there are still places in Warsaw that are really worth visiting and interesting and usually they are off the paths of most visitors' journeys.
IB Singer wrote in July 1944 in the New York Yiddish newspaper Forverts:
"I know that the Jews have disappeared from Warsaw, but I cannot truly imagine it. When I say: 'Warsaw,' in my soul's eye I see the old, Jewish Warsaw. I see Jewish streets, vendors' stalls, synagogues, houses of study, marketplaces, courtyards full of Jewish inhabitants. Despite what I know, I cannot present Warsaw judenrien nor Jewish streets as heaps of rubble,"
That was here in Warsaw that Roman Polanski, himself a Pole with Jewish roots, shot a lot of scenes for the Oscar-winning movie "The Pianist" that brought back to people's memories a story of Wladyslaw Szpilman.
More on "Tha Pianist" at:
During WWII the Nazis set up the Warsaw Ghetto which was enclosed by 11 miles of brick walls.
One little remining part of the original wall can be found in an inner courtyard of the apartment blocks at ul. Sienna 55/59 and ul. Zlota 62. You need to ring the bell at one of the archways to get into the courtyard. I spoke with a shop owner who was pleased to let me in.
The wall is about 3 m high and it has two commemorative plaques. One says that two bricks of the wall were brought to the New York Holocaust Museum to give authentic power to the permanent exhibition.
We followed a self-guided walking tour of the old Jewish Ghetto. This led us past some of the sites in the movie “The Pianist”, like the old wall, old workers bridge, etc. We ended up at the Warsaw’s old Jewish Cemetery. This was one of the most powerful environments we have ever experienced.
When we were in Warsaw I wanted to see the Last part of the Warsaw Getto Wall that still stands. We took the 175 bus from Old Town to the Central Train Station beside the Palace of Arts and Culture. We walked to Jana Pawla II street which is beside the Train station, went right on to Jana Pawla II street a short distance and on the left side of the street is Zlota Street, a short walk along this street on the right hand side is an entry which leads into a small Courtyard between Sienna Street and Zlota Street.
It was when we went into this Courtyard that we met Mieczyslaw Jedruszczak, (During World War II Mieczyslaw Jedruszczak was a Boy Scout in the "Armia Krajowa - AK" Home Army (“Postal Service”) At the end of the World War II he was arrested by the Russian NKVD and spent a number years in a Sovie Gulag forced labour camp in Siberia.) When we met him he was standing in his garden in the Courtyard of 62 Zlota Street talking to one of the local residents, when he saw us he welcomed us and began to tell us about the history of the Warsaw Ghetto and that the last remaining part of the wall was in the Courtyard at the back 55 Sienna street. He told me that he had created this memorial, working on it for 21 of the 50 years he has lived there. He has created a large map of the ghetto area, which is affixed to what is left of the wall of one of the houses that were bombed by the Luftwaffe.
He planted grass and flowers in the bare clay yard and has tended them all these years. Since the late 1970’s some local resident and Mieczyslaw Jedruszczak has fought to preserve the historical site from being a victim of urban expansion.
There is very little left of the Ghetto Wall which was 3 metres in height with another metre of barbed wire on top and was nearly 18 km in length. This piece of wall is in a residential courtyard but it is behind a locked entry system door. I was lucky the day I went because a resident was stood at the door waiting for someone to arrive. So I would suggest hanging around the entry door and wait for someone to let you in.
In 1940 Germans made in Warsaw so called Jewish Getto where more than 450 thousand people where closed behind walls. Those Jewish were killed in 1940 - 1943.
Before 1940 about 30% of Warsaw's population was Jewish. Nowadays, about 400 people are registered to be Jewish and about 6,000 are registered with the Jewish Religious Association. The total number of Jews residing in Poland is estimated at 10,000 to 15,000.
From this site, since July 22nd, 1942, transports with Jewish people from the Warsaw Ghetto departed for the Extermination Camp in Treblinka. The Monument is a work of Hanna Szmalenberg and Władysław Klamerus, with the inscription reading: `Between the years 1940 and 1943, on this path of suffering and death, more than 300.000 Jews from the Ghetto established in Warsaw passed to Nazi Extermination Camps`.
There are 448 names, from Abel to Zanna, inscribed on the wall, as a commemorative symbol of Warsaw Jews. On the lateral side, there is a verse from the Book of Job in Polish, Hebrew and Yiddish, reading: `O earth, cover not thou my blood, and let my cry have no place.`
Umschlagplatz is located in Stawki street.
if u are interested and because i dont know if there is any other, by the way this one is located just in the corner of Okopowa Boulevar and Anielewicka ....i guess that there is the right corner...try to look in the map that i attach and match it with your guide
Located far away from the center this is really huge and longer... when i was there 27th of Sept was open till 5pm so we had to come back the next day... we didnt know that guys have to cover their bloody head with a traditional cap..it deeply sucks me, but i did it ..the cemetery is really old and its quite nice to see it
Umschlagplatz is an easily overlooked and not very exciting monument that marks the place where hundreds of thousands of Jews were taken and held before being send to the Treblinka concentration camp. After being congregated in this horrid place, they would finally get loaded on trains bound for Treblinka.
The German SS Headquarters was across the street, which is where the Nazi commandant in charge of the deportations lived.
On the wall of the memorial are inscribed 400 first names of Jewish people. Only first names are celebrated, as there would never have been enough room to inscribe all of the last names of the many thousands of Jews who were carried away.
This is a very important place for the Jews and I was wandering where to put its description: a must see? off the beaten path?
The Neo-Romanesque synagogue was built between 1898 and 1902 and was the ONLY synagogue in Warsaw to survive World War II. It was founded by Zelman and Ryfka Nozyk.
It is very close to Plac Grzybowski, right behind the Jewish Theater.
Very close to Plac Grzybowski and ul. Twarda a number of Jewish organizations have their offices. Here they are:
- The Ronald Lauder Foundation
- Educational Center for Jewish Education, sponsored by The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee
- Polish Union of Jewish Students
- Our Roots Travel
This used to be a part of the Warsaw Jewish Ghetto. After the Ghetto uprising (during World War II) most of Ghetto buildings were totally destroyed and only a few of them were left.
Ulica Prozna consists of 19th century Jewish buildings, now in a very bad condition. They were never restored after World War II and now they are falling apart. Some of them are inhabited, some are not. As far as I know, an Israeli investor decided to restore those buildings but somehow he didn't.
In this picture you can see windows of abandoned flats. As you see, the house used to be a pearl of downtown architecture...
You'll find more pictures of Prozna in my travelogue.
The Nozyk Synagogue is the only operating synagogue in Warsaw today. Synagogue was built between 1898-1902. It was the only synagogue to survive WW II although the Germans used it as a warehouse. It might be difficult to find the synagogue but remember that building is unique.
The former wire fence in the main entrance...looks really scary and awful but you can figure out what it was in those days of fear where political prisoners were jailed and killed here!!