The Warsaw Ghetto (part 2)


I’m not sure there is any easy way to slip smoothly from Lech Wałęnsa to the ghetto, although I’m sure there’s a link somewhere. Anyway, Lech is just below if you want to keep arguing about it discussing it. :)

Welcome back to our tour of what’s left to see of the Warsaw ghetto. The hunt continues!

For reference purposes we’ll start with a map of the ghetto, two in fact:

The second map will blow up to a much larger size when you click it, the first one will be larger but not as big as the second.

There are some subtle differences between these maps, primarily that the second map shows two ‘extensions’ to the ghetto not shown on the other one. One extension is to the right of ‘B’ (taking in my in-law’s apartment!), the other is to the left of where the footbridge was (along ul. Chłodna). This second extension makes a much bigger connection between the large and small ghettos and makes the idea of running trams down the street more difficult. I cannot comment on the authenticity of these maps, nor on why they have slight differences. Presumably the ghetto did change shape as it evolved and then shrank as people were shipped out.

One of the photographic images of the ghetto that has stayed in my mind is the one of prisoners crossing a footbridge to get from the big ghetto to the small one (big on right, small on left)

The location of the footbridge is clearly marked on the top map. The photo below is taken from ul. Chłodna and looking towards where that footbridge used to stand. I have marked the location of the bridge on the photo in black.

The white building to the right is Chłodna 20 and is most likely an original building. It used to be the home of Adam Czerniaków. It is very likely that the old photo of the footbridge was taken from one of the balconies of this house and I’ve tried to show how in the photo below:

Finally, here’s a shot looking the other way, down Chłodna in the direction of what is now Jana Pawła II but is called Mirowski Square in the top map. Chłodna 20 is now on the left and on the right is ul. Waliców, which is where we go next.

On ul. Waliców is a section of old ghetto wall. As best I can tell, the photo below is the view you would have had when standing inside the ghetto somewhere inside the rectangular projection that sticks downwards between “Zelazna” and “Twarda” in the top map, just to the left of what looks like a little courtyard area that was kept out of the ghetto for some reason.

There is a plaque on the wall that reads, slightly confusingly – “In this place in the years 1940 – 1942, Waliców street was divided by the ghetto wall.”.

This end of ul. Waliców has a very ramshackled look and is obviously, very slowly indeed, being turned into a sort-of-trendy “old ghetto” area. It’s not there yet though, as can be seen from this tenement house, directly opposite the wall segment, that obviously once stood inside the rectangle of ghetto I referred to earlier:

And here the beginnings of Waliców’s “Covent Garden” style trendyness;

There is actually a much better “Covent Garden” style area at a more advanced stage on ul. Próżna. This street was just inside the ghetto and can be seen on the big (lower) map to the right of the lowermost synagogue. Photos of this area are below:

Read The Warsaw Ghetto (part 1)

Read The Warsaw Ghetto (final -part 3)

Read The Krakow Ghetto

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19 thoughts on “The Warsaw Ghetto (part 2)

  1. Ralf says:

    Obrigado, scatts, Danke !

  2. Anna says:

    Fab post!

  3. […] Read The Warsaw Ghetto (part 2) […]

  4. zegar says:

    Nice post!

    I suspect that picture of the bridge was taken from Chłodna 22 or from the window most to the right of Chłodna 20.

    There is another picture of the bridge taken from a window of Chłodna 20 which we recently managed to recreate :

    Chłodna 20 is most definitely an original building- it was built in 1912. The architects were Wacław Heppen and Józef Napoleon Czerwiński who gave us such other gems as Bagatela 10, Śniadeckich 10, Hoża 39 and 41 and Lwowska 15.

    Before the war Chłodna 20 was 2 floors higher- as shown on this drawing:

  5. island1 says:

    Scatts & Zegar: Superb stuff! Now that’s what I call serendipity.

  6. island1 says:

    What exactly is going on with ul. Próżna? It’s been mostly boarded up and half empty for 10 years to my certain knowledge even though it’s about half a kilometer from the center of Warsaw. Are there some plans to turn it into a ghetto memorial/museum or something?

  7. zegar says:

    That’s a very good question! If I remember correctly (and I may not) the plans were:
    1. There was some kind of deal between the City and the Lauder Foundation that the LF would get one side of the street on condition of it doing up the whole street (the side owned by LF was supposed to be turned into an area for Jewish culture.
    Nothing happened
    2. Some years later the next plan was for a 5 star hotel
    nothing happened
    3. The owner of the LF side of the street changed and the new owner wanted to extend upwards. ZOK protested, there were ’round table talks’ and what was finally agreed was that the buildings will be the same height but have inhabitable attic space rather than an extra floor. This was approx. 3 years ago.
    Nothing is happening.

    One interesting thing about Próżna – in the entrance gateways to some of the buildngs the cobbles are made of wood. Probably this was in order to reduce the echo effect of horse hooves!

  8. zegar says:

    Scatts – the plaque on the wall on Waliców which you described as confusing is accurate. The wall ran aldong the middle of the street. What is now the entrance to the Aurum centre was the entrance to a large brewery which was outside the ghetto – but Waliców was planned to be in the ghetto- so – the wall was built in the middle of the street to allow access to the brewery but other buildings were behind the wall – the wall was a kind of a zig-zag until after the brewery entrance.

  9. scatts says:

    zegar, thanks for all the helpful back-up information and corrections. It is always nice to come across someone who REALLY knows what they’re talking about. Fascinating.

  10. island1 says:

    zegar: “cobbles are made of wood”

    *bows down*

    You are my new hero…

  11. Sylwia says:

    The footbridge was built much later. At first the ghetto wasn’t a closed area, so it wasn’t needed. Later, after they closed it (November, 1940), people had to queue and wait for Germans to let them cross the street. (I think there’s even such a scene in The Pianist with people waiting. The filmmakers were really careful about all of the details.) After some time they built the footbridge.

  12. zegar says:

    Sylwia is right that the film makers were really careful about the details. Chłodna street and the bridge were recreated on Stalowa in Praga. I visited the set and it was really impossible to tell just by looking which of the buildings were real and which were just facades.
    There were lots of hand-written notes stuck on the buildings – adverts for different services – and the detail on them was amazing. You would never see it on the screen but the notes for e.g. tuition were written in an educated hand, whereas the notes advertising e.g. milk for sale were scrawled.

  13. Reason says:

    Outstanding Post, very well done and informative!

  14. […] continues the virtual “tour of what’s left to see of the Warsaw ghetto.” Posted by Veronica Khokhlova Share […]

  15. […] Polandian continues the virtual “tour of what’s left to see of the Warsaw ghetto.” […]

  16. […] Read The Warsaw Ghetto (part2) […]

  17. Marzena Chrzanowska says:


    Dziekuje serdecznie za bardzo ciekawe informacje i zdjecia dotyczace Getta i starej Warszawy. Wlasnie takich blogow jak Panski szukam i czytam najbardziej.

    Ps. Interesuje mnie Melchior Wankowicz. Czy posiada pan troche informacji rowniez na jego temat. Chodzi mi miejsca w ktorych mieszkal przed wojna jak i po wojnie. Tzw “Domeczek” na ul. Dziennikarskiej itp.


  18. Stacy Goldberger says:

    Your pictures and descriptions of the Warsaw Ghetto have been helpful as I review the photos I took during my several day stay. In the future I’ll be checking your blog as well as other websites to view the progress of Ul. Proznia.

  19. […] Read The Warsaw Ghetto (part 2) […]

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