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Friday, May 24, 2024

Warsaw. They rebuilt the tram that used to run in the Warsaw Ghetto

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Warsaw Trams meticulously reconstructed a wagon that traveled through the Warsaw Ghetto. The only such tram in the world was presented just before the 80th anniversary of the uprising of Warsaw Jews. It will go to a museum in the future.

After the gates of the ghetto were closed in November 1940, a special line marked with the Star of David ran through its area, which was intended only for Jewish residents. The oldest trams in the city were used to serve it.

At that time, two trains were leaving the tracks separated from the rest of the city. Their task was to ensure communication within the district of nearly half a million people. The line marked with the Star of David ran from the north to the south of the Warsaw Ghetto. Probably the last time she went on the tracks was in July 1942 – during mass deportations of inhabitants to extermination camps.

Warsaw GhettoLEAVES

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“The steel chassis of one of the wagons that ran through the Warsaw Ghetto has survived to this day. It is the largest and most important element of the then trams, which were mostly made of wood. Tramwaje Warszawskie, in cooperation with the City of Warsaw and the provincial government Mazowiecki, decided to support the emerging Warsaw Ghetto Museum and in the second half of 2022 began the reconstruction of the historic tram” – recalled the town hall.

Tram reconstruction

The reconstruction of the vehicle was carried out according to the preserved original documentation, using the same materials that were used over 100 years ago when trams of this type were built. Work technologies from the beginning of the 20th century were also used, e.g. riveting with the use of an original riveting machine.

The reconstruction of the wagon began in the second half of 2022 and was carried out by employees of the “T3” Tram Repair Plant in workshops where trams running around Warsaw are repaired and renovated on a daily basis.

After assessing the technical condition of the preserved chassis and supplementing the missing parts, corrosion was removed, and then the tram trolley was painted.

Most of the reconstruction work was carpentry – construction of the skeleton, walls and roof made of oak wood. The sides of the wagon were covered with sheet metal and painted red. At the very end, additional markings were placed on the vehicle, i.e. decorative patterns and the image of a mermaid, which were made on the basis of photos of the tram.

Unique on a global scale

The only thing left to complete the reconstruction was to complete the interior fittings. Only then will it become a unique exhibit on a global scale. The authenticity of the tram running through the ghetto is documented.

The reconstructed type A tram dates back to 1907. It was built in Germany, before the electrification of horse trams in Warsaw. The same vehicle, also from before World War I – in the version that traveled around Warsaw during the Russian partition, is now part of the historical collection of Warsaw Trams. It leaves only for special occasions, because its wooden structure requires special storage conditions.

Going to the new museum

The wagon, meticulously reconstructed by tram drivers in the version from World War II, will not run. Warsaw Trams and the city and provincial authorities want to donate the vehicle as a deposit to the Warsaw Ghetto Museum. It is to become part of the permanent exhibition of this institution.

– After the tram is handed over to the Warsaw Ghetto Museum, it will be one of the main objects telling the history of Warsaw, World War II and the losses that the capital suffered during it – said Aldona Machnowska-Góra, Deputy Mayor of Warsaw, during the presentation of the vehicle.

Main photo source: Warsaw City Hall

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