Monument to the Heroes of the Ghetto

This monument was built in 1948 at the site of the first clash between Jews and Germans during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in 1943 on the square between streets: Anielewicza, Karmelicka, Lewartowskiego and Zamenhofa.
Before the war, the square was the site of the Horse Artillery Barracks, built during the reign of Stanisław August in the years 1784-1788. During the partitions, and also after Poland regained its independence, they housed a military prison. During the Second World War, these buildings became the last headquarters of the Judenrat.

The decision to build the monument was made in the autumn of 1944 in Lublin by the Central Committee of Jews in Poland. In 1946, the Committee asked Leon Marek Suzin to design the project, which was then prepared and realized very quickly. On 16 April 1946, flowers were laid in the form of a circle on the plaque, on which a palm leaf had been engraved – a symbol of martyrdom – along with the Hebrew letter “B” (Bereishis – “in the beginning”, the name of the first book of the Torah). The following text is also inscribed there in Polish, Hebrew and Yiddish: “To those who fell in the unprecedented and heroic struggle for Dignity and Freedom for the Jewish people, for a Free Poland and for liberation of man – [from] The Polish Jews”. The plaque was surrounded by red sandstone. The color of the rock and the crushed bricks placed on the ground around it symbolized the blood spilled in battle. A decision was made to build a second monumental memorial to the Jews’ struggle against the Germans. In July 1946, a Monument Construction Committee was created, with the following members: Adolf Berman, Icchak Cukierman and Bernard Falk.
The sculptor Natan Rappaport was commissioned to design the project, whose architectural form was to be designed by Leon Marke Suzin. Preparatory work began in 1947 with the participation of political and social organizations, as well as young people and numerous volunteers. Marian Pliszczyński’s company carried out the construction work, and masonry work was done by the J. Fedorowicz Company. The well-known Paris foundry Eugene Didier cast the sculpture.

The monument, in the eastern part of the square, is an eleven-meter-high wall with a sculpture, bas relief, plinth and stylized menorahs. The western side has a bronze sculpture depicting a group of men, women and children. It symbolizes the struggle and heroic revolt, against all hope. The figures hold bottles with gasoline, pistols and hand grenades. From the eastern side, the stone bas relief has a different theme, showing the suffering and martyrdom of women, innocent children and old people, helpless against the cordon of Nazis. It is these people who were being defended by those commemorated on the monument’s western face. The large stone slab is adorned by two bronze menorahs and the following text, in Polish, Yiddish and Hebrew: “[From] The Jewish People, To Its Fighters and Martyrs”. The monument is surrounded by slabs of roughly polished labradorite from the quarries in Hunnebostrand, Sweden. It is worth noting that the stone had been ordered in 1942 by Albert Speer, Minister of the Economy of the Third Reich, as material for future monuments to Hitler’s victory.
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Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Mokotowska 25, 00-560 Warsaw tel. (48-22) 44 76 100,
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