Warsaw “The Phoenix City”

The ending of world war 2 in 1945 brought joy to the world, as a whole. But for the people of Poland and especially Warsaw it was the start of what was to be a massive rebuilding program of both their people and their city.

By the time Poland was liberated by the Soviet Union, Warsaw was basically wiped off the map. 85% of its buildings were destroyed and the city’s population was down from 1.3 million to just 174.000. But, slowly and surely Warsaw was repaired, most of the old city by 1955, but the royal castle was not fully repaired until the 1970s. But for some here in Warsaw the city has never been rebuilt, as Warsaw is still facing serious urban planning issues.

Upon my visit to Warsaw, I had the chance to see for myself the devastation which was coursed here, yes you see it on films and war programs which is very educational, but to still see bullet holes in buildings and flowers which are still been laid today is a stark reminder of what life must have been like here during the darkest hour.

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Warsaw has the nickname of the Phoenix City: because it has also risen from the ashes. But, the local nickname of Warsaw is “The City of Statues” and it is well suited, as there seems to be a statue or monument on every street corner! So, for the tourist it is a fascinating city to explore, there is always something to do from statue hunting to museums.

Here are a few of Warsaw’s historical sites;

Monument to the Ghetto Heroes

Pomnik Bohaterow Getto

The Monument to the Ghetto Heroes was designed by Leon Suzin and unveiled in April 1948 to honor the fighters and martyrs of the Warsaw uprising in 1943 against Nazi Germany. The monument is located on the spot of the first armed clashes, which is located on the square of Anielewicza Street, Karmelicka Street, Lewartowskiego Street and Zamenhofa Street. This was also the last location of the Judenrat (Jewish Council) from August 1942 till the end of the Warsaw Ghetto.

The monument is made of materials originally brought to Warsaw, Poland by Hitler’s chief architect Albert Speer and stands 11 meters tall (36 feet). The first part of the monument (A small memorial tablet) was unveiled in April 1946, with the larger monument sculpted by Nathan Rapport. Nathan Rapport worked closely with Leon Suzin on the monument and said “the wall of the monument was designed to evoke not just the Ghetto Walls, but also the western wall (Kotel) in Jerusalem. The great stones would thus have framed the memory of events in Warsaw in iconographic figure of Judaism’s holiest site”.

 

Maly Powstaniec (The Little Insurgent)

The little insurgent is a moving monument that tributes the child soldiers of the Warsaw uprising in 1944 which lasted two months and one day (1st August 5pm – 2nd October) The statue is of a young boy holding a submachine gun and a helmet which is styled after the German forces. This equipment was seized during the intensive fighting of the uprising, and then used by the resistance against the invading forces. It’s reported that the statue is of a young fighter who fell to his death on August 8th 1944 whilst fighting for the pseudonym of “Antek” (The underground) warsaw

The designer of the monument was Jerzy Jarnuszkiewicz who created the statue in 1946. But it wasn’t until 1983 that the monument was revealed after collections by boy scouts help raise funds. Professor Jerzy Swiderski himself a courier for the resistance during the uprising had the honor of revealing Maly Powstaniec (Little Insurgent) on the 1st October 1983 which is situated in the old town of Warsaw.

Behind the statue is a plaque reading “Warszawskie Dzieci” (“Warsaw Children”) which was a popular song from that period.

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“Warszawskie Dzieci, pojdziemy w bojza kazdy kamien twoj, stolico damy krew” (“We’re the children of Warsaw, going into battle – for every stone of yours, we will give our blood”)

 

The Uprising Museum

 

The uprising museum is a must for all visitors. I’ve been lucky enough to have visited twice, and the museum still educates me with all the information from the uprising period.

 

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