Sienna 55 – Zlota 62
In late 1940 and early 1941, the
Germans created a ghetto in Warsaw, separating off an area of almost 307
square kilometers in the city center with a wall nearly three meters
high, topped with barbed wire, or broken glass. Anyone who attempted to
cross it risked immediate death. The wall that surrounded the ghetto in
1942 survived the war almost in its entirety. It was dismantled after
the war as ruins were being removed from the city, which had been
completely destroyed by the Germans.
Two fragments of the ghetto’s walls dating back to the autumn of
1940 have survived, utterly by chance. They are in the western part of
downtown, in courtyards, and on the border between the lots at ul.
Sienna 55 and ul. Złota 62. Two fragments of brick walls divide the
courtyard between buildings. These fragments of the ghetto’s wall were
discovered and identified by a resident of Sienna street, Mr. Mieczysław
Jędruszczak. He became involved in documenting their history and that
of the site where they were found. Thanks to his efforts, the wall’s
fragments were included in the list of historical sites in Warsaw and
put under the care of local conservation authorities.
Thanks also to him, an information board
with a map of the entire neighborhood and squares, a project that
received financial support from the Nissenbaum Foundation and Warsaw
Municipal Management Company. The plaque and square are at ul. Złota 60.
Below the plaque one can see two bricks missing, and next to it another
metal plaque, funded by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum,
describing the situation in Polish and English. The text reads: „A copy
of this wall, erected by the Nazis when they created the ghetto in
Warsaw, was sent along with two of its [original] bricks to the United
States Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., where it enriches the
permanent exhibition of that Museum.”
In May 1992, the courtyard of the buildings at Sienna and Złota were
visited by the Israeli president, Chaim Herzog, who was on an official
state visit in Poland. This event is commemorated by a special plaque
that was unveiled on the small piece of the surviving wall.
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