Do you know that before the World War II Warsaw was one of the largest centres of Jewish culture in Europe? Jewish traditions were evident at every step from everyday life to architecture, art and literature. Discover the colourful world of Polish Jews and learn about their history from the Middle Ages to the present day.
POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews
ul. Anielewicza 6
Monument to the Ghetto Heroes
ul. Okopowa 49/51
Jewish Historical Institute
ul. Tłomackie 3/5
ul. Twarda 6
ul. Sienna 55, entry from Złota 62
Nalewki Street was the centre of the Jewish community in Warsaw. Stalls, workshops, wholesalers and various geszefty, or businesses run by Jews, were located in tenements that were crammed together. During the war, Nalewki was inside the ghetto and was razed to the ground after the fall of the Ghetto Uprising. A small fragment of it has survived to this day, starting next to the Arsenal, and stretching along the fence of Krasiński Garden. The cobblestones, along with the original rails on which trams full of people once ran, are reminders of a street that once brimmed with life…
Exit from the Sewers
In May 1943, Jewish fighters were looking for any kind of evacuation route out of the ghetto. Sewage channels were already tried-and-tested routes. A group of fighters, led by Marek Edelman, entered the sewers at Franciszkańska Street. However, with no knowledge of the complex system, they could not find a way out. A rescue expedition was organised by their colleague, Kazik Ratajzer, who led the group to the manhole at 51 Prosta Street and organised transport to a safe hiding place. There is a memorial at the site of these events. Go and see it for yourself!
ul. Prosta 51
During the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, Jewish fighters and civilians sought shelter in bunkers, or rooms hidden under buildings. The Germans gradually discovered them and cornered the defenders. The commander of the Jewish Fighting Organisation, Mordechai Anielewicz, was hiding, along with 120 insurgents in one such bunker at what was then 18 Miła Street. The group was discovered by the Germans on 8 May 1943 and most of its members committed suicide. There is a memorial mound at the site, along with plaques.
ul. Miła / Dubois
Ringelblum Archive Memorial
The dramatic events in the Warsaw Ghetto were successively described and documented by historian Emanuel Ringelblum and the Oneg Shabbat organisation he founded. Hundreds of documents, drawings and descriptions were then hidden in metal boxes and milk cans and buried in the cellars of the now-defunct house at 68 Nowolipki Street. Found after the war, they are now priceless historical testimonies. A monument commemorating the archive and the work of its creator was erected at the site where the Ringelblum collection was hidden.
Between 28 and 30 Nowolipki Street
The Pilecki Institute – Called by Name
The permanent exhibition “Called by Name” presents the fate of Poles who helped Jews during the Second World War, paying the highest price for it. Here you will learn about ordinary people who, when faced with dramatic choices, acted with courage, generosity and solidarity. Here, each has their own story told in the context of family and local community. Look out for archival documents and photographs, objects belonging to those commemorated, and listen to interviews with their families. To better understand the circumstances under which they helped, read about the terror machine to which the people of occupied Poland were subjected.
ul. Krakowskie Przedmieście 11
Called by Name
ul. Ratuszowa 1/3
Mikveh and the Now Non-Existing Praga Synagogue
On Kłopotowskiego Street, there is a brick building built between 1911 and 1914. It is Warsaw’s only mikveh, or ritual Jewish bath. The building survived the war in good condition, but unfortunately, its original furnishings have not survived. The building is now home to a high school.
Right next door you will see the original fence of the former Praga Synagogue. The site is now occupied by a kindergarten playground, and the hill you can see there is a pile of rubble from the building. The synagogue was built in 1836 and was one of Europe’s first circular synagogues. It survived the war, but its condition was so bad that it was demolished in the mid-20th century.
ul. Kłopotowskiego 31
Educational Building of the Warsaw Old Jewish Community
The former Educational Building of the Warsaw Old Jewish Community is one of the best-preserved Jewish buildings in Warsaw. Until 1940, it housed an orphanage and a school for children. After the war, the synagogue inside was converted into a theatre, where performances of the Jewish Theatre were held. It is now home to the Baj Theatre.
ul. Jagiellońska 28
“Men’s Tailor” on Brzeska Street
Take a walk along Brzeska Street, which was mostly inhabited by Jews before the war. Stop in front of number 21, where you will find the sign for a tailor shop painted on the wall. Now imagine that each of these buildings housed businesses like this and the whole street bustled with the sounds of daily work, commerce, conversations, games, and arguments of a community that no longer exists.
ul. Brzeska 21
Polychromes in the House of Prayer
The interiors of the house of prayer, located in the current Museum of Warsaw Praga, stand out among the remains of the Jewish community in Praga. The two surviving rooms, where prayers were held until 1940, contain polychromes from various periods. One of them – Jews praying at the Western Wall – is known to have been painted between 1933 and 1934. After the war, the polychromes were painted over only to be rediscovered in 1996. Newly restored, they bear witness to the rich religious life of Warsaw’s Jews.
ul. Targowa 50/51
Jewish Cemetery in Bródno
Walk along the main avenue and you will see sections with sandstone tombstones and plates in front of them. On the sides there are enormous steel baskets filled with pieces of broken matzevot, or Jewish tombstone, brought from various places in Warsaw. Set in a circle at the end of the alley along with the tombstones, they form a symbolic mausoleum in honour of the thousands of dead buried here.
ul. św. Wincentego 15