London, United Kingdom
July 31, 2006
We took some time at Zamenhofa, where the park is home to the striking Monument to the Ghetto Heroes. From here you can follow the Path of Remembrance, a series of 16 granite blocks, commemorating the 450,000 Jews who were murdered in the Warsaw Ghetto. It seemed unfortunate that the park itself isn’t that well kept, and it’s circled by a group of dilapidated apartment blocks.
A short walk south (about 5 minutes), on the edge of Krasinski Gardens you can walk along ul. Bohaterow Ghetta. You wouldn’t know to look at it now, but this cobbled street used to be part of Nalewski Street, the main commercial thoroughfare in the Jewish quarter. The guidebook advised us to look out for bullet holes on fragments of the remaining walls, and sections of tramlines that were left in the cobblestones. These silent wartime leftovers make you stop and think about what life used to be like in this area. The dead-end street and adjacent park were grey and a little depressing, but the constant hum of traffic nearby grounds you in the present – obviously a more preferable era to be living in than the 1940s.
From Krasinski, we continued further south for another 30 minutes until we reached Chloda Street. From here, we walked down Walicow Street where you can see parts of the Ghetto Wall and a few buildings that somehow survived the war but are now in severe states of disrepair. The wall was built by the Nazis to contain Warsaw’s Jewish population. In this small area, most people were either left to starve to death, or taken away to concentration camps.
One interesting stop for us was at 55 Sienna Street where a stretch of the Ghetto Wall borders a courtyard of an apartment block. There’s a small plaque on the inside of the wall, which is the only obvious clue to the wall’s history. You have to keep an eye out for these signs as many of them are discretely marked, if at all. Somehow though, the lack of advertising makes for a more rewarding and poignant experience.
From journal An Easter Weekend History Lesson in Warsaw