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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » June 29, 2015
Exhibitions
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War, Devastation and Recovery
June 29, 2015   
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A new photographic exhibition in Warsaw’s Old Town documents the immense damage the capital suffered during World War II and shows how the city was brought back to life after the war.

The outdoor exhibition is entitled A jednak jest Warszawa!!! (Warsaw Is Still Here!!!) and can be viewed on the city ramparts near the Barbican. Put together to mark 70 years since World War II ended in Europe, the exhibition features photographs of Warsaw ablaze after the Germans bombed it in September 1939, of the German occupation and of residents who fled the capital after the failed Warsaw Uprising of 1944. Visitors can also get an idea of the monumental efforts local people put into rebuilding the devastated capital after the war.

The exhibition is divided into two sections. The first comprises pictures taken during the war and shortly before it. A sense of impending conflict is conveyed in a photograph of Poland’s then Foreign Minister Józef Beck, pictured during a speech he gave in the Polish parliament on May 5, 1939, after Germany reneged on a non-aggression pact with Poland. In addition to members of parliament, the speech was heard by crowds of concerned Varsovians, also shown in the picture.

Other photographs document a triumphant German military parade after Warsaw surrendered, images of the city after it had been given German street names and of the area designated as the Jewish Ghetto.

The second part of the exhibition contains images of postwar ruins and of reconstruction efforts. Rubble is present in most of these photographs: people are removing debris, rebuilding the city, doing their best to find a place to sleep and leave their recent nightmare behind them.

The exhibition then moves on to pictures taken in the 1950s featuring a selection of reconstructed areas, especially Krakowskie Przedmie¶cie Street, the Old Town and the city center. Viewers can follow the construction of such landmarks as the Palace of Culture and Science and the continuing reconstruction of the Old Town.

Violetta Urbaniak from the State Archive of Warsaw, which organized the exhibition, says the photographs pay homage to Poles who survived World War II and returned to their non-existing homes in the capital. “People made a huge effort and sacrificed much to rebuild a city in which we can live today,” says Urbaniak.

The exhibition comprises 50 boards with photographs placed along the Barbican walls. The pictures come from the State Archive of Warsaw, the Archives of Modern Records, the National Digital Archive and the National Remembrance Institute.

Until July 31
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