Press conference in January 2014

Will we find the Bund Archive hidden in 1943?

After the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising the area of the battle was leveled to the ground….  In 1945 the former Ghetto was literally the ocean of rubbles estimated for 3 million cubic meters capacity. The new residential district was built on top of them after the war…. the basements of demolished houses as well as the sewers and underground shelters usually were not searched… How many mysteries and secrets are hidden underground?

Marek Edelman, the commander of military Jewish underground – Jewish Fighting Organisation (Polish: Żydowska Organizacja Bojowa – ZOB) and BUND member, who died in 2009 – personally dug the the party’s documents in the cellar of the building at 40 Swietojerska Street, shortly before the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The building was standing next to the “Brush Workshop” area where he fought as the commander of ZOB units from April 19, 1943 (Warsaw Ghetto Uprising).

Due to almost total destruction, this area was aligned and changed after the war – the fighting area is now the property of the Chinese Embassy with beautiful Chinese Garden, former 40 Swietojerska Street house would now be located in expanded Krasinski Gardens…. one of the historic public parks in Warsaw…  The building foundations and basement walls still remain deep in the soil.

As the park has been recently revitalizing an idea to search for the Bund Archives was born. The documents have not been found so far but the cellars of the former building at 40 Swietojerska Street were excavated and revealed other secrets…. human remains found in the basements, a dried loaf of bread and a pot with grain were fairly uncommon discoveries. Two dozen objects recovered from the tenement site, still dusty with soil or rusted before conservation were displayed for the press conference in January 2014: a vacuum tube radio for receiving illegal wartime broadcasts, a child’s cup with colorful figures, a massive iron fitting that may have twisted in the building’s collapse and many others.

The works are to be continued….

What was found underground:




fot. Jewish Comminity of Warsaw

Hanukkah at Grzybowski square in Warsaw

Hanukkah also known as the Festival of Lights, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar.

The festival is observed by the kindling of the lights of a unique candelabrum, the nine-branched Menorah or Hanukiah, one additional light on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight on the final night. The typical Menorah consists of eight branches with an additional raised branch. The extra light is called a shamash and is given a distinct location, usually above or below the rest. The purpose of the shamash is to have a light available for use, as using the Hanukkah lights themselves is forbidden.

On December 8, 2012 the Jewish Community in Warsaw celebrated the beginning of Hanukkah. Grzybowski square located next to the Nożyk Synagogue and Warsaw Jewish community centre was the place of the ceremony for the second time. Before 2011 the Hanukiah was placed in front of the Palace of Culture and Science, nearby.

fot. Jewish Comminity of Warsaw

fot. Jewish Community of Warsaw

fot. Jewish Comminity of Warsaw

fot. Jewish Community of Warsaw

fot. Jewish Comminity of Warsaw

fot. Jewish Community of Warsaw

fot. Jewish Comminity of Warsaw

fot. Jewish Commuity of Warsaw

fot. Jewish Comminity of Warsaw

fot. Jewish Community of Warsaw

fot. Jewish Comminity of Warsaw

fot. Jewish Community of Warsaw


Sukkot Town at Grzybowski square

Several architects were invited to design modern booths or tabernacles inspired by the Jewish tradition, which will be on display from October 1st to the 10th, 2012. The temporary space of Sukkot Town (Polish: Miasteczko SZAŁasów) will be a place for learning and the exchange of ideas between communities. Within the booths, participants will be introduced to the traditions of Sukkot, providing visitors with a glimpse of the vitality of Jewish culture and life.

Sukkot, in Polish “Kuczki” (booths), is celebrated by Jews to commemorate the Exodus from Egypt, the journey of Israelites through the desert to the Promised Land. Booths symbolize both the temporary homes built by Jews moving from place to place, and those in which Jewish farmers lived during the harvest season. Sukkot is therefore also a joyful celebration of the harvest.

The holiday lasts seven days (eight in the diaspora). The sukkah walls can be constructed of any material (wood, canvas, aluminum siding, sheets). The walls can be free-standing or include the sides of a building or porch. The roof must be of organic material, known as S’chach, such as leafy tree overgrowth or palm fronds. It is customary to decorate the interior of the sukkah with hanging decorations, the Seven Species.

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1943 - The Warsaw Jewish Ghetto Uprising

The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising – 69th anniversary

April 19, 1943 – Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Please spare a minute to think of those who fell and of those who survived to give their testimonies of the Nazi crimes…
On April 19, 1943, the Germans under the command of SS General Juergen Stroop, began the final destruction of the ghetto and the deportation of the remaining Jews. The ghetto population, however, does not report for deportations. Instead, the ghetto fighting organizations have barricaded themselves inside buildings and bunkers, ready to resist the Germans. After three days, German forces begin burning the ghetto, building by building, to force Jews out of the hiding places. Resistance continues for weeks as the Germans reduce the ghetto to rubble. General Stroop reports after the destruction of the ghetto that 56,065 Jews have been captured; of those 7,000 deported to the Treblinka extermination camp, and the remainder sent to forced-labor camps and the Majdanek camp. Some of the resistance fighters succeed in escaping from the ghetto and join partisan groups in the forests around Warsaw.
the project

Warsaw Museum of the History of Polish Jews

Soon we will be celebrating 69th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising which started on April 19th, 1943.  Next year – the 70th anniversary will be marked by opening the new Museum in Warsaw – The Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Still under construction, but …. already looks very impressive…

A Finnish project by architects Rainer Mahlamäki i Ilmari Landelma won the International Architectural Competition for the Museum building in 2005.  The competition was attended by 119 architects and architectural teams, including famous Daniel Libeskind.

The Museum is being erected on the square framed by Zamenhofa, Anielewicza, Lewartowskiego and Karmelicka streets, in Warsaw’s borough of Muranów, in the heart of the old Jewish quarter, of which one part became the Warsaw ghetto in 1940. The museum will stand across from the Monument of Ghetto Heroes designed by Nathan Rapoport and was designed so it opens up on the monument and creates with it a cohesive whole.

The Core Exhibition is the heart and soul of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Eight galleries, occupying more than 4,000 m² of space, will present 1000 years of history of the largest Jewish community in the world, settled on Polish land. The exhibition will show this presence in the manner that has never been shown before. Instead of artifacts locked in dusty display cabinets, visitors will participate in an interactive tale about Jewish history, culture and religion based on source materials – drawings, photographs, films and articles of everyday use.

see the construction progress (2007-2012)

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The building will have 12,800 m2 of useable space. One-third will be occupied by the Core Exhibition. The remainder – by temporary exhibitions, a multi-purpose conference/cinema/concert hall, Educational Centre film projection and workshop rooms, club, restaurant and café.

Construction timeline:

  • 1996 – The idea of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews is born
  • 1997 – Transfer of land for the Museum by the City of Warsaw
  • 2005 – International architectural competition for design of the Museum building is won by Finnish architect Rainer Mahlamäki
  • 2007 – Ceremony of laying the foundation act
  • 2008 – Invitation to tender for the construction of the Museum
  • 2009 – Selection of the winning bidder – Polimex-Mostostal. Ceremonial start of Museum construction. Preparatory works, pouring the concrete base plate, start of structural works
  • 2010 – Further structural and reinforced-concrete works, construction of the curved wall and exterior walls; the Museum reaches full height
  • 2012 – Finishing works, installation of the Core Exhibition, preparing the building to receive visitors
  • 2013 – Opening of the Museum

Another good reason to visit Warsaw soon….  :)

Janusz Korczak gra w orkiestrze z wychowankami Domu Sierot, Lata 20. XX wieku

2012 – The year of Janusz Korczak in Poland

Janusz Korczak and the children in front of Orphans Building in Warsaw at 92 Krochmalna street (before 1939)

“When a child laughs, the whole world laughs” (Janusz Korczak)

Polish Parliament decided that year 2012 is dedicated to Janusz Korczak, Polish-Jewish writer, thinker and the great leader in the fight for children’s rights and innovative pedagogics.

Janusz Korczak real name was Henryk Goldszmit. He is remembered today primarily for his contributions to education as a great authority when it came to custodial pedagogy, yet he was an accomplished writer as well, taking on a range of literary forms to pursue varied social topics, from medicine and pedagogy to hygiene, politics and interpersonal relationships.

This year Poland commemorates two separate dates in Janusz Korczak’s life, the 70th anniversary of his death at the Treblinka extermination camp during the war (1942) and the 100th anniversary of his founding the House of Orphans in Krochmalna street in Warsaw (currently Jaktorowska street) in 1912.

more information:
1. Janusz Korczak at Wikipedia: