Tag Archives: Warsaw underground history

Warsaw – a bomb waiting to go off

News today that construction workers on the new metro line have discovered a two tonne WWII era bomb under Plac Powstańców (more or less under the Polish National Bank). This comes not long after they found a “surprise” underground lake and flooded one of the cities main roads. They’re not having much luck really.

The bomb squad

Many people evacuated. I have no idea what sort of damage a two tonne bomb would cause but it sounds big! According to the article a smaller but still significant UXB was found earlier this month by sewage system workers not far away on Marszałkowska. Back in April last year I posted elsewhere about the WWII bunker that had been found when doing work on the tram system.

None of this should be surprising really. I often wonder what we would find if we were able to remove the top layer of Warsaw and inspect what lays a few centimetres below the feet and wheels of current day Warsaw commuters. No doubt a mix of wonder and horror as the last days of the war gave way to rushed redevelopment. I don’t know what kind of “tidying up” was done but given the circumstances at the time, the lack of human resources, the overwhelming extent of the devastation and the need to get the city back on its feet again the temptation must have been to just paper over the cracks leaving quite a story laying underground and undisturbed until we need a new metro or sewer or tram line.

There’s a programme on British TV called “Time Team”, another called “Pub Dig”, where teams of archaeologists, historians and so forth go around digging up promising parts of the country to see what they find. The results are often very interesting although in the UK the findings often go back far further in history than WWII – Bronze Age, Roman and so forth. It would be fascinating to do something similar over here and, I think, would also make for riveting TV as well.

My vote for where to start would be under the Chinese Embassy on Bonifraterska. As far as I know, this is built on the site of an old factory that used slave labour within the walls of the Jewish Ghetto and is not somewhere that has been subject of any redevelopment at all for many years. I’m sure there are many, many other good candidate locations that are almost guaranteed to yield interesting results.

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