English Section

Museum honours Warsaw’s WWII Jewish fighters

17.04.2024 12:30
"Testimonies from the Warsaw Ghetto" is the title of an exhibition that opens on Wednesday at the Museum of Warsaw in the city’s Old Town district.
A section of the historic wall of the Warsaw Ghetto at 62 Złota Street. Photo: Adrian Grycuk [CC BY-SA 3.0 pl (https:creativecommons.orglicensesby-sa3.0pldeed.en)]
A section of the historic wall of the Warsaw Ghetto at 62 Złota Street. Photo: Adrian Grycuk [CC BY-SA 3.0 pl (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/pl/deed.en)]via Wikimedia Commons

The exhibition documents the period from the beginning of the German occupation of Poland in September 1939 and the establishment of the Jewish Ghetto in the Polish capital in the spring of 1940 to the commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1948.

The display includes artifacts recovered during postwar archeological digs at the site of the former ghetto, such as pieces of kitchen utensils, cutlery and buttons, as well as a selection of photographs made by both ghetto inhabitants and German soldiers.

Visitors to the exhibition in Warsaw's Old Town Market Square can also watch extensive fragments of the documentary My, którzy przeżyliśmy, distributed abroad under the title The Jewish People Live. Made in 1947 by Natan Gross, the film chronicles various aspects of the life of Polish Jews after World War II. 

Testimonies from the Warsaw Ghetto is set to become a part of the Museum of Warsaw’s core exhibition. Curator Anna Duńczyk-Szulc told the media that the museum wants to fill a gap in its documentation of the city’s history in this way. She recalled that Jews accounted for some 30 percent of Warsaw’s prewar population.

April 19 will mark the 81st anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which is described by historians as the largest single revolt by Jews in WWII.

The fifth anniversary of the uprising, as depicted in the closing section of the exhibition, was commemorated amid a sea of rubble, all that remained of the city's Jewish district after its destruction by the Germans.

British journalist Neal Ascherson had this to say about the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in his book The Struggles for Poland: “The handful of men and women held out against tanks and artillery for almost a month, while the smoke of burning buildings and the stink of burning bodies drifted across Warsaw. Before he committed suicide with his comrades, Mordechai Anielewicz, the leader of the Ghetto Uprising, said ‘I have seen Jewish self-defence in all its glory.’”


Source: IAR