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Obj. ID: 52321  Memorial Route of Martyrdom and Struggle of Jews in Warsaw, Poland, 1988

© Center for Jewish Art, Photographer: Unknown,

Memorial Name

Trakt Pamięci Męczeństwa i Walki Żydów w Warszawie (Memorial Route of Martyrdom and Struggle of Jews in Warsaw)

Who is Commemorated?

Jewish victims and fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto

Description:

The route includes 19 stone blocks (two are inserted into building walls), which commemorate the history and struggle of the Warsaw Ghetto. It begins at the Square of the Heroes of the Ghetto, near the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes, then leads through Zamenhofa and Dubois Streets to the Anielewicz Bunker Site, and ends at Stawki St., next to the Umschlagplatz, from where Warsaw Jews were deported to the death camp in Treblinka. Additional monuments were installed along the route later: Żegota Monument, Szmul Zygielbojm Monument, and the Umschlagplatz Monument.

Each stone block is made of unpolished black syenite. Its upper surface is shaped like a traditional Jewish tombstone and polished. This surface bears a depiction of a seven-branched menorah and identical Polish and Hebrew inscriptions. The dates 1940–1943, indicating the period of existence of the Warsaw Ghetto, are placed on the front of the block. Polish and Hebrew inscriptions, “Memorial Route of Martyrdom and Struggle of Jews,” are placed on the left and right sides of the block.

Inscription

Each stone has an individual inscription on its upper surface, describing the history of the ghetto or commemorating its heroes. The inscriptions on blocks 1 and 19 and on blocks 2 and 4 are identical.

On the sides of each stone:

1940–1943

Polish

Trakt pamięci
męczeństwa
i walki
Żydów

Translation: Memorial Route of Martyrdom and Struggle of Jews

Hebrew

נתיב הזיכרון
לשואה
ולגבורת
היהודים

Translation: Memorial Route of the Holocaust and Heroism of Jews

Commissioned by

 [to be determined]

List of blocks:

Documenter
Vladimir Levin, Marina Sedova | 2019, 2023
Author of description
Vladimir Levin | 2023
Architectural Drawings
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Computer Reconsdivuction
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Section Head
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Language Editor
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Donor
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Name / Title
Memorial Route of Martyrdom and Struggle of Jews in Warsaw | Unknown
Monument Setting
Object Detail
Completion Date
1988
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Location
Site
Unknown
School/Style
Unknown|
Period
Unknown
Period Detail
Collection
Unknown |
Iconographical Subject
Textual Content
Languages of inscription
Shape / Form
Material / Technique
Black syenite
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Density
Colors
Construction material
Measurements
Height
85 cm
Length
Width
80 cm
Depth
Circumference
Thickness
100 cm
Diameter
Weight
Axis
Panel Measurements
1
Custom
Contents
Codicology
Scribes
Script
Number of Lines
Ruling
Pricking
Quires
Catchwords
Hebrew Numeration
Blank Leaves
Direction/Location
Façade (main)
Endivances
Location of Torah Ark
Location of Apse
Location of Niche
Location of Reader's Desk
Location of Platform
Temp: Architecture Axis
Arrangement of Seats
Location of Women's Section
Direction Prayer
Direction Toward Jerusalem
Signature
Colophon
Scribal Notes
Watermark
Hallmark
Binding
Decoration Program
Summary and Remarks
History

The unveiling of the route took place on April 18, 1988, on the eve of the 45th anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

The history of the monument is described by Kontanty Gebert:

"For the fortieth anniversary of the Uprising, in 1983, the Polish government, in an unprecedented gesture, invited Jewish organizations from all over the world to parti­cipate. Just as unprecedented was the call of Marek Edelman, the last surviving mem­ber of the Jewish Fighting Organizations command and activist of the then-banned Solidarity Trade Union, for a boycott of the official ceremonies. Edelman's call went largely unheeded, while Solidarity endorsed the unofficial ceremony. Police forcibly prevented trade union participants from laying wreaths at the memorials, outraging local inhabitants, who then joined in the ceremony-turned-demonstration. There­after, until the end of martial law, unofficial ceremonies at the memorials became im­portant Polish patriotic events with the mass participation of the Gentile population.

An offshoot of the activities of the dissident group was the creation of a Civic Committee for the Preservation of Jewish Monuments. Having gained official recog­nition, the Committee decided to build a new Holocaust memorial, breaking with the traditional emphasis on both the Uprising and the de-individualized approach to the Jewish victims who were being commemorated. The project, called the Memorial Route of Jewish Martyrdom and Struggle, designed by architect Hanna Szmalenberg and sculptor Wladyslaw Klamerus, received official approval and was unveiled in 1988, on the forty-fifth anniversary of the Ghetto Uprising.

Its basic idea, based on the format adopted by participants in unofficial ceremo­nies, consists of nineteen one-meter high, black syenite blocks spread out between the monument and the Umschlagplatz, two commemorative plaques on the buildings that housed the SS headquarters and the Jewish hospital, and a new Umschlagplatz memorial. Each block commemorates an individual connected with the Ghetto, such as the poet Itzhak Katzenelson, Ghetto fighter Frumka Plotnicka, or religious leader Itzhak Nyssenbaum. Walking along this route, which is a kind of "memory lane," passersby can acquaint themselves with the fates of these leaders and thus gain insight into the personal fates of some of the half million Ghetto victims.

This route leads visitors to the new Umschlagplatz memorial, an enclosure in white marble, with a narrow entrance capped by a black bas-relief representing a forest of felled trees. Facing that entrance is a gap in the opposite wall through which a living tree can be seen. On the inner walls of the memorial, several hundred names are engraved — the first names of the Ghetto victims who were deported to Treblinka. The languages used are Polish, Hebrew, and English, but the list of names is only in Polish, for lack of space.

This new memorial merges with the community's real-life, urban surroundings. Its physically and metaphorically human scale, and the shift in emphasis from the heroic resistance of the few to the tragic fate of the hundreds of thousands, enables passersby to experience a personal relationship with those who lived there. Thus, the history of the Warsaw Ghetto has again become connected with the lives of its latter-day inhabitants, re-creating a bond which the former official version of events had all but broken." [Gebert]


Main Surveys & Excavations
Sources

Gebert, Kontanty, “The Dialectics of Memory in Poland: Holocaust Memorials in Warsaw,” in James E. Young, The Art of Memory: Holocaust Memorials in History (New York: Jewish Museum, 1994), 121-129., pp. 121-129.
Type
The following information on this monument will be completed: