- Warsaw: A City Destroyed and Rebuilt by Adolf Ciborowski – Published 1964. Edition Language: English.
Virtually every imaginable detail is provided on the reconstruction of Warsaw following her razing by the Germans during WWII. There are also countless photographs, many of them showing before-and-after views of destroyed and rebuilt structures and monuments. Strategies of rebuilding, and Warsaw expansion, are elaborated, and a year-by-year chronology of the rebuilding process is included. (p. 65-on).
CONTRARY TO POLONOPHOBIC MYTHOLOGY, POST-WWII POLISH AUTHORITIES DID NOT TRY TO FORGET ABOUT JEWISH DEATHS
In recent years, a curious argument has been advanced, accusing postwar Polish literary sources of ignoring Jewish deaths during the Holocaust, or just lumping them together with Polish ones as „victims of fascism”. Against such nonsense, Warsaw’s Jews are explicitly mentioned, in this 1964 book, as specific targets of Nazi German destruction, in the Warsaw Ghetto, death camps, and during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. (pp. 46-48).
NOT ONLY JEWS SUFFERED
Jews were not the only victims. Prior to the Poles’ Warsaw Uprising of 1944, over 1,500 Polish Varsovians had been locally murdered in 36 public executions by the Germans. (p. 48). Of course, this does not include many more Polish Varsovians murdered elsewhere, as in the nearby woods, or in prisons, concentration camps, etc.
GERMAN BARBARISM DESTROYED WARSAW
Most of Warsaw’s destruction was not the result of military actions, but was caused by the deliberate genocidal actions of the Germans after the fall of the Warsaw Uprising. The Germans systematically burned and blew up countless irreplaceable treasures after having expelled the Polish population. The scope of the destruction was staggering. (See p. 56). Of Warsaw’s 3,708 million cubic feet of buildings, 2,600 were destroyed. Parts of central Warsaw, including its historic district, had only individual surviving buildings. Structures of an industrial, health, and historic character had each suffered 90% losses, and 95% of theaters and cinemas had met the same fate.
WARSAW REBUILT? WHERE TO START?
An incredible 720 million cubic feet of rubble had to be removed (p. 64)–almost entirely by manual labor and horse-drawn lorries. (p. 71). This fell to 9,000,000 by 1960 (p. 78). In 1945, there were only 140,000 habitable rooms in Warsaw against 595,000 in 1939 (p. 175); in 1960 there were 697,000 (p. 78) and, in 1963, over 775,000. The 1938 levels of Warsaw’s power consumption had been restored by 1950 and quintupled by 1960. (p. 208). Some 93,000 unexploded bombs, shells, and mines had been removed from the ruins by March 1945. (p. 66). The bodies of 25,000 Varsovians were found, for a projected total of 250,000 dead entombed in the ruins.
The Old Town was rebuilt first, although there was no compelling reason for this priority. It was done for sentimental reasons, and as a reply to the Nazi attempt to annihilate the Poles and their culture. (p. 280). It took until mid-1953 to complete the rebuilding of the Old Town Market Square (p. 76) and 1956 to complete the reconstruction of the New Town. (p. 77).
Numerous Polish volunteers helped rebuild Warsaw, to the tune of over 50 million person-hours. (p. 147). [Spread out over 1945-1963, and assuming a 2,000-hour (50 weeks times 40 hours) work-year, this comes out to an equivalent of 1,389 full-time workers toiling continuously over these 18 years.]
- Source: GoodReads.com , December 28, 2018
Published with the author’s permission.
Title image: Aerial photo of Warsaw made in 1945, probably by a Soviet plane. Source: AP, Henry Griffin, dziennik.pl, 2014.01.17. / selected by wg.pco