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Notes.from.Warsaw 2007- an alternative guide to Warsaw

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Jews comprised one third of the pre-war population of Warsaw. The district wedged between the Old Town in the east and the Jewish Cemetery in the west was a bustling center of Jewish culture articulated in Yiddish, Polish, and Hebrew. It was here that one found a thriving community of Jewish-owned busi- nesses, a Jewish educational system, publishing houses and even movie studios. In 1940, all the Jews were confined to the ghetto, which was subsequently razed in 1943, and the inhab- itants murdered in Nazi death camps. After the war the site of the ghetto was developed with modern apartment buildings. Most Varsovians today would be at a loss to show where the borders of the ghetto actually were. There is a massive fissure in space and the local culture. The absence of Jews is both painful and inspiring. In 2006, the ar- chitectural group Centrala organized an informational pavilion about the soon-to-be-built Museum of the History of Polish Jews – a blue tent bearing a Hebrew name Ohel. In 2004, a member of Centrala – Gosia Kuciewicz, designed the Eruv installation, a 15.5 km long fluorescent tape marking the outline of the ghetto wall, and reminding us of what was once the largest concentration of Jews in Europe



ISSN 1730-9409

pages: 46-49

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