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
The museum restores the memory of the rich, 1000-year history of Polish Jews from the Middle Ages to modern times. Look out for the unique architecture of the main hall, which in its shape resembles a gorge symbolising the passage of Jews across the Red Sea on the way to the Promised Land. Stop at the reconstructed vaulting of the 17th-century synagogue in Gwoździec and admire this example of how synagogues in Poland were painted. See also an interactive exhibition that will take you on a journey through the ages, for example along the streets of the pre-war Jewish quarter. More…
ul. Anielewicza 6
Monument to the Ghetto Heroes
The monument was created shortly after the World War II to commemorate those who fought and died in the Warsaw ghetto. It was at this monument in 1970 that the German Chancellor Willy Brandt knelt in apology for the crimes committed by the Third Reich.
The Umschlagplatz monument is located in the place where in 1942 Jews were transported to the Treblinka extermination camp. The shape resembles the walls of the ghetto and a railway wagon, and more than four hundred names of victims are engraved on the walls. Walk from the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes to Umschlagplatz along the Memorial Route of the Martyrdom and Struggle of Jews and pay attention to the commemorative stones depicting the history of the most important figures of the Warsaw ghetto.
This historic place of rest contains beautiful tombstones and traditional matzevot. Many eminent persons are buried there, among them the founder of the Esperanto language Ludwik Zamenhof and the writer Ischok Leib Perec. Visit the symbolic grave of Janusz Korczak, the protector of children who during the World War II was murdered in Treblinka along with the children in his care in a gas chamber.
ul. Okopowa 49/51
Jewish Historical Institute
Before the war, this historical building housed the Main Judaic Library and the Institute of Judaic Sciences. During the war, it was the office of Jewish Social Self-Help Organization. In 1947, after reconstruction, the building became the headquarters of the Jewish Historical Institute. Look at the priceless documents from the underground Ringelblum Archive of the Warsaw Ghetto stored here. The archive is on the UNESCO World Heritage list. More…
ul. Tłomackie 3/5
Visit the only synagogue in the capital that survived the Holocaust period. It was founded by Zalman ben Menashe Nożyk, a wealthy textile merchant, and his wife Ryfka. The Nożyk Synagogue was built in the Neo-Romanesque style. During World War II, the building served the Germans as a stable and feed store. Go to Próżna street, one of the few places where the atmosphere of Jewish Warsaw has been preserved.
ul. Twarda 6
Go to the courtyard between Sienna and Złota streets to see fragments of the Jewish Ghetto wall. In the city centre, also pay attention to the iron slabs set in the pavements that set out the boundaries of the former ghetto.
ul. Sienna 55, entry from Złota 62
In 1942, a wooden bridge was built over Chłodna street connecting the ‘small’ and ‘large’ ghetto. Today, in this place you will find a multimedia art installation The Footbridge of Remembrance about the tragic events of that period. It looks most impressive in the evening.
Learn about the extraordinary story of the house located in the Warsaw Zoo. During World War II, the zoo director, Jan Żabiński, and his wife hid Jews from the Warsaw ghetto. Their story was depicted in the Hollywood movie The Zookeeper’s Wife starring Jessica Chastain as Antonina Żabińska. More…
ul. Ratuszowa 1/3
Jewish Cemetery in Bródno
It is the oldest surviving and largest Jewish cemetery in Warsaw in terms of the number of people buried there. Founded in 1780 on the initiative of Szmul Zbytkower – the court banker of the Polish king Stanisław August Poniatowski, it was the final resting place for primarily poor Jews. Before you enter the depths of the cemetery learn about its dramatic fate by visiting the exhibition “Bejt almin – the house of eternity,” located in the pavilion at the entrance. You will learn about Jewish funeral customs and find out why the historic cemetery is now reminiscent of a huge tombstone repository.
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