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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Warsaw. Archaeological works at Anielewicza Street. They dug out the cellars of the former buildings of the Jewish district

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During the archaeological works at Anielewicza, the foundations of an old tenement house were discovered. Pre-war address: Gęsia 33. The street was in the area of ​​the Warsaw Ghetto. A new block is to be built here soon. What about the relics of the past?

Archaeological works between Karmelicka and Aleja Jana Pawła II are carried out in connection with the planned investment. From the information board on the construction site, you can learn that a residential building with retail and services on the ground floor, as well as a two-level underground garage, is being built here. The investor is Pasaż Wolski SA

Not just walls and cobblestones

During the works, relics of the pre-war buildings of the Northern District were discovered. As Michał Grabowski, head of archaeological works, describes in an interview with tvnwarszawa.pl, excavations are carried out in an area of ​​​​about two thousand square meters.

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– This is the former Gęsia Street. At the moment, we are working on a large tenement house at 33 Gęsia Street. We have uncovered part of it and the cobbled yard – explains Grabowski.

The discovered relics are fragments of the ground floor and basement. – Probably, the tenement house was effectively demolished by the Germans after the fall of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, similarly to the neighboring buildings on the former Gęsia Street – the archaeologist points out. The exposed walls reach about one meter.

Fragments of the walls were not the only find of archaeologists. – We also discovered individual items related to the use of this tenement house, i.e. the remains of kitchen equipment, table sets, and a few coins. The oldest one comes from the tsarist times, from the end of the 19th century – enumerates Michał Grabowski.

What will happen to the relics?

He points out that the archaeological work will continue for about two to three months. What will be the fate of the discovered foundations is not yet known.

– Our task, as archaeologists, is to document the discovered relics as accurately as possible. We work using new technologies, drones. We also create orthomaps. This allows for a 100% reproduction of what we found on the spot. Further decisions on the relics will be made by the Mazovian Voivodship Conservator of Monuments, who supervises the archaeological works, our interlocutor said.

The work is supervised by a conservator

With questions about the work, we turned to the Mazowieckie Voivodship Conservator of Monuments.

– We have issued permission to conduct archaeological research. They have been suspended recently due to weather conditions. The works are related to the implementation of the planned investment. They have been and will be carried out under constant archaeological supervision. A representative of the Warsaw Ghetto Museum also participates in them, said Andrzej Mizera, MWKZ spokesman. He added that the discoveries made so far have been documented.

We asked Mizera whether the conservator can oblige the investor to preserve and expose the excavated foundations and whether a decision in this matter is planned? “As long as they’re worth it,” he replied. – Work is underway under our supervision and everything is monitored by us – he assured.

The writer proposes to expose

The news of the discovery in Muranów spreads like wildfire on social media. The future of cellars is being considered by, among others, writer and publicist Piotr Paziński and, sharing his post, fellow writer Ziemowit Szczerek. The latter summons the president of Warsaw, Rafał Trzaskowski, to the blackboard.

“Why can’t it be exposed, or even – perhaps – reconstruct at least a fragment of the former Muranów (…)? The memory of the city is probably more important than another commercial project” – writes Szczerek on Facebook.

So we asked the city hall if the city intends to intervene and oblige the investor to preserve and expose the discovered foundations. Marlena Salwowska from the press department of the city office indicated that the conservator gave consent for the work and any questions in this matter should be directed to him.

History of Gęsia Street

The non-existent Gęsia Street began to be intensively developed in the second half of the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century. Mostly tenement houses were built there. From 1908, trams ran along the street. In the interwar period, the buildings became more and more dense, and their character became typically commercial.

During the German occupation, from 1940, Gęsia Street was fully incorporated into the Warsaw Ghetto. On this street, on the corner with Zamenhofa, there was the Central Detention Center for the Jewish Quarter. After the collapse of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, a prison and a concentration camp, commonly known as “Gęsiówka”, were established in this area, where Poles and Jews from various European countries were murdered.

After World War II, the foundations of the completely destroyed buildings on Gęsia Street were filled in. The Muranów housing estate was built here, and Mordechaja Anielewicza Street was marked out in the footsteps of Gęsia.

Main photo source: Mateusz Szmelter/tvnwarszawa.pl

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