Warsaw – Old Town

What is today called the old town of Warsaw began to be built in the 1200s with the castle as its then center. The market place itself, or the square, was built in the late 1300s. Around the old town, a defensive wall and moats were built to protect the city from attackers. Gama town was until the outbreak of the second world war on September 1, 1939 a cultural and social gathering place for the people of Warsaw.

Already on the first day of the outbreak of war, Warsaw was bombed by the Germans but without causing any major damage. More extensive bombings took place on 8, 13 and 25 September with significantly greater material damage and human losses. About 10 percent of Warsaw was destroyed in the first month of the war and until the surrender at the end of September.

Warsaw was bombed again in 1941 when Soviet aircraft attacked German targets in the occupied city. But it is in 1943 that the city began to be more systematically destroyed. Only when the city’s Jewish ghetto is razed to the ground by the germans after the rebellion was struck down in may 1943. An uprising that ended with the great synagogue being blown up as a symbolic gesture that the Warsaw ghetto was wiped out once and for all.

The next devastating blow to Warsaw came when the polish army at home rebelled against the germans on 2 august 1944, believing that the soviet Red army would come to the rescue. From this there was nothing without the motley crowd of SS and Police forces were able to systematically repel the insurrection and destroy everything that came in their way. After the uprising was defeated, German engineering troops began to systematically destroy the Warsaw settlement, which also affected the old town. The buildings that were not destroyed during the battle were blown up and collapsed.

Current status: Rebuilt (2021).

Location: 52°14' 59.26" N 21°00' 43.88" E

Get there: Tram.

My comment:

When the Germans were defeated in Warsaw, January 1945, the question was asked whether it was worth rebuilding the city. However, through an extensive project, the city began to be rebuilt in the same month. In the historic center (old town), the ambition was to recreate the historical buildings and monuments with the help of old drawings, photos and personal memories. It was a time-consuming process that took decades to complete.

Follow up in books: Davies, Norman: Rising ’44: The Battle for Warsaw (2004).