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Warsaw reconstruction: architecture, heritage and national identity.


Warsaw reconstruction: architecture, heritage and national identity. Communist influence and post-war reconstruction in years 1945-1965

Malgorzata Nicoll Szarnecka Elective: Experimental Preservation Tutor: Dr. Josep Josep-Maria Garcia-Fuentes BA Architecture University of Newcastle upon Tyne January 2018


Acknowledgements I would like to thank Dr. Josep-Maria Garcia-Fuentes for his advice and support throughout this dissertation. To my friends, Kotryna and Luc, thank you for your constant encouragement.


Abstract This dissertation will explore the issue of political influence on the preservation of architecture as well as culture and tradition using the example of the reconstruction of the Polish capital, Warsaw, following the Second World War. In 1945 85% of Warsaw’s urban fabric was demolished as a result of military operations as well as actions by Sprengkommando, the German destruction unit employed to demolish any remaining structures in the city. From 1945 Poland began the vigorous process of the reconstruction of the destroyed capital under the rule of a new communist government established after the country became part of the USSR. This work will explore the way in which the government was involved in the course of rebuilding and how they influenced the vision of a reconstructed Warsaw.


1. Introduction................................................................................................................13 2. State of the Polish society and the aftermath of the Second World War.....21 3. Urban reconstruction and its political importance.............................................31 4. Reconstructing architecture: heritage as a political tool 4.1 Trasa W-Z: tradition and modernity in a communist capital..................43 4.2 John’s House: 18th century Bellotto’s Warsaw........................................53 4.3 St. John’s Cathedral: sacral architecture and Christian heritage.........67 5. Heritage and ideological manipulation.................................................................77 6. List of figures..............................................................................................................83 7. Bibliography................................................................................................................89


Table of contents


KRN- Krajowa Rada Nadzorcza [State National Council]- a political structure established in 1944, during the Second World War, acting as a self-proclaimed Polish Parliament. The Council described themselves as “the actual political representation of the polish nation, authorized to act on behalf of the nation and direct the fate of the country until Poland was liberated from occupation” BOS- Biuro Odbudowy Stolicy [The Bureau of Reconstruction of the Capital]- an institution established by the State National Council in 1945. Its aim was to organise the rebuilding of Warsaw after the destruction of the Second World War. In 1945 the institution hired around 1500 architects, engineers, and urban planners. PKF- Polska Kronika Filmowa [Polish Film Chronicle]- existing between 1944 and 1994, the Chronicle consisted of short (about 10 minutes long) clips shown in Polish cinemas prior to the movies. It presented current events, economy or sport news, often during the communist era, the Chronicle was used as a tool for propaganda. SFOS- Spoleczny Fundusz Odbudowy Stolicy [Social Fund for Reconstruction of the Capital]- an organisation established in 1948, used to collect taxes from every working citizen, that were used in the reconstruction of Warsaw. The organisation created additional events where people could donate money towards the capital. Boleslaw Bierut- head of the State National Council in years 1944-1947, later the first President of Poland under Soviet takeover, from 1952 Prime Minister, as the Presidency was abolished after the country’s transformation into the People’s Republic of Poland.


Glossary


Chapter 1 Introduction


The idea of rebuilding and reconstruction of urban architecture after the destruction of the Second World War is present in the history of many European cities. The capital of Poland, Warsaw, suffered not only demolition due to military actions, but also destruction caused by Hitler’s directive of Warsaw’s pacification; “Warsaw has to be pacified, that is, razed to the ground, while the war is still on, unless military necessities connected with fortifications prevent it”.1 Raising the capital from ruins was a great task that required the engagement of the whole nation. In my work, I want to focus on the act of rebuilding Warsaw in the years 1945-1965, using three examples; the reconstruction of St. John’s Cathedral and John’s House as well as the new investment of ‘Trasa W-Z’, main thoroughfare of Warsaw opened in 1949. In 1945, Poland observed a shift of power towards the communist rule and the country, renamed the Polish People’s Republic, became a part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The communist party had control over most aspects of the country’s functions, a typical state of affairs in countries under a regime. As the act of rebuilding the country from the ruins after the Second World War was the main task of the nation, the communist party actively took part in and controlled the development of the new urban fabric. The government was influencing the work of architects and projecting their ideology 1. Diefendorf, J.M., 1990. Rebuilding Europe’s bombed cities, Basingstoke: Macmillan, p.79. page 15


onto reconstructed and newly designed architecture of the capital. Demolition of Poland was not only material, it also destroyed the national identity of Polish people, Hitler’s directive not only was aiming to demolish the physical structures of the capital, the main idea was to defeat the nation’s sense of belonging to its culture and heritage, by destroying places of high importance such as memorials and monuments. With that in mind, the ‘Odbudowa’ [Eng. reconstruction] was not only the reconstruction of buildings in a physical sense, it was also the act of restoring and creating Polish national identity. Taking that into consideration, the party was willing to take part in the process, as it gave them control over creating a new image of Poland and a new profile of the typical Polish citizen. I want to look in more detail on the issue of the communist party’s involvement in the planning of a new Warsaw, as well as the effect of those actions on the national identity and society’s understanding of its own heritage and culture. The issue of Warsaw’s reconstruction was discussed in both Polish as well as international research work. Authors agree that the party was collaborating with planning offices based in Warsaw and that the communist ideology influenced the mode of reconstruction of the Polish capital. David Crowley, author of the book ‘Warsaw’ 2 as well as works such as ‘Paris or Moscow?: Warsaw Architects and the Image of the Modern City in the 1950s’ 3 or ‘The Ruins of Socialism: Reconstruction and Destruction in Warsaw’4 focuses on the influence of the Russian government and architects on architectural style in Poland and brings attention to the fact that the sources for reconstructing some of Warsaw’s monuments are 17th and 18th century sketches, paintings and drawings. There are also number of works by Polish authors. Waldemar Braniewski, an art historian from Warsaw’s University, who in his work ‘Ideologia w architekturze Warszawy okresu realizmu socjalistycznego’ 5 [Eng. Ideology in the architecture of Warsaw during the era of socialist realism], touches upon the topic of the party’s need to build a grand and representative capital and the issue 2. Crowley, D., 2003. Warsaw, London: Reaktion. 3. Crowley, D., 2008. Paris or Moscow?: Warsaw Architects and the Image of the Modern City in the 1950s. Kritika: Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History, 9(4), pp.769– 798. 4. Crowley, D., 2014. The ruins of socialism: Reconstruction and destruction in Warsaw. In Power and Architecture: The Construction of Capitals and the Politics of Space. Berghahn Books, pp. 208–226. 5. Baraniewski, W., 1966. Ideologia w architekturze Warszawy okresu realizmu socjalistycznego. In Rocznik Historii Sztuki, Volume XXII, Neriton, pp. 231-260. [own translation] page 16


of the main socialist realism aim: creating an aesthetically pleasing, idealized vision of cities. He criticises projects such as MDM residential blocks, that can be accessed only through back doors and whose grand, sculptural façade doesn’t correspond with the role of the interior space; or the Teatr Wojska Polskiego, theatre whose splendid façade lacks a main entrance. He points out the idealized visions of the party, aiming for representational values rather than a form that allows practical usage. There are also works of architects who were personally involved in rebuilding the capital, such as Stanislaw Jankowski’s work ‘Warsaw: Destruction, Secret Town Planning, 1939-44, and Postwar Reconstruction’. 6 He recognises the problems that were faced during the reconstruction and focuses on the financial issues and spatial organisation, rather than the influence of the party. As a direct observer of the events of ‘Odbudowa’ he shows a new perspective, an architect’s perspective whose biggest priority was the efficient rebuilding of the most needed structures such as housing, hospitals and communication infrastructure, even at the cost of supporting political ideologies. The issue that I want to focus on in my work is the question of whether the act of rebuilding Warsaw under communist control was used for political manipulation. I will explore the issue of the remodelling Warsaw as an intended method of manipulating society into a different understanding of their heritage as well as modelling Poland as a free, flourishing state that it was during the 18th century. I am intending to analyse primary sources such as newspapers, architectural plans and proposals, interviews, photographs as well as speeches and Chronicles. These examples will showcase the methods the communist party was using to manipulate town architects as well as citizens and ways in which they projected their ideology onto architecture. To address the issue, I will consider three types of development: John’s House, a medium importance monumental building in the Old Town district, St. John’s Cathedral, an important building for Warsaw’s inhabitants as well as place of religious worship and Trasa W-Z, a new investment greatly supported by the communist party. The work following the introduction is divided into three chapters. Chapter 2: State of the Polish society and the aftermath of the Second World War will touch upon the situation of Poland after the war, the level of demolition and the mental state of the nation. 6. Jankowski, S., 1990. Warsaw: Destruction, Secret Town Planning, 1939-44, and Postwar Reconstruction. In Diefendorf, J.M. Rebuilding Europe’s bombed cities, Basingstoke: Macmillan, pp. 77-93 page 17


Chapter 3: Urban reconstruction and its political importance identifies the methodology used by the communist party and focuses on the narrative of creating a new national identity of Polish citizens. Chapter 4: Reconstructing architecture: heritage as a political tool will explore the influence of a communist rule on the methods of reconstruction and its final effect. The chapter will be divided into three parts, each showcasing a different case study that explores specific political and social issues. The first part, Trasa W-Z: tradition and modernity in a communist capital, will explore new, original investment of the ruling party into modernising and improving the capital. It will focus on the propaganda surrounding architecture and the way in which the party promoted the proposal, authority and prioritization of creating an idealized, representational capital at all costs. The second part, John’s House: 18th century Bellotto’s Warsaw, showcases the way in which the townhouse was remodelled by architects and what role it played in creating an idealised vision of a modern socialist capital. The final part, St. John’s Cathedral: sacral architecture and Christian heritage explores the restoration work as well as the significance of religious architecture during the communist rule.

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Chapter 2 State of the Polish society and the aftermath of the Second World War


The aftermath of the Second World War was clearly visible in Poland, especially in Warsaw. The level of destruction in the capital was the topic of many conversations, the government was considering moving the capital to less demolished cities, e.g Lodz. However, a resolution from a conference of Krajowa Rada Nadzorcza [Eng. State National Council], dated the 3rd January 1945 states that7:

“KRN sees Warsaw as a capital of the independent Polish State. The ruins of Warsaw are a symbol of the unstoppable fight of the Polish nation for freedom and democracy, a battle, which was led by the capital through all the uprisings, defence in 1939 and Nazi occupation […] KRN thinks, that the rebuilding of Warsaw is one of the fundamental tasks of the state in the act of rebuilding the country”. The rebuilding of the capital was an important factor of dealing with the psychological scars of the Second World War as well as the Partitions of Poland at the end of the 18th century. The repercussions during the Partitions as well as during the war undermined the integrity of heritage and the national identity of Poles. The Nazi occupation damaged places and monuments commonly understood as sacred for the majority of citizens, such as churches, war memorials and national heroes’ monuments. The main act of destruction was the 7. Sprawozdanie stenograficzne z posiedzeń KRN w dniu 31 XII 1944r. oraz 2 i 3 I 1945, A. Skalimowski, „”Budowniczy stolicy”. Warszawski mecenat Bolesława Bieruta w latach 1945-1955.” Pamieć i Sprawieldiwość Journal pages 75-94, issue 2(24), 2014. [own translation] page 23


‘Warschau- Neue Deutsche Stadt’ [Warsaw - a New German City], an urban plan of the demolition and reconstruction of Warsaw as a model German city.8 Hitler’s directive, that was part of the urban plan, left Warsaw razed to the ground. German occupants destroyed the capital in phases: first, they decreased the population of Warsaw by the deportation of Ghetto and relocating Polish inhabitants of the capital. The population in 1939 reached 1 800 000 people, in 1944 it was only 162 000. 9 After the Warsaw Uprising in 1944, the German army started demolishing any surviving buildings, district by district. Visiting the capital General Eisenhower said: “I have seen many towns destroyed during the war, but nowhere have I been faced with such extent of destruction executed with such bestiality.”10 Around 90% of the urban fabric, including 85% of buildings, was demolished by bombing, burning or by being dynamited. Out of 957 building that were classified as monuments, 782 were destroyed and 141 partially destroyed11. This left the capital with 34 buildings that survived the wartime, around 4% of monuments registered before the Second World War. The demolition of cultural heritage wasn’t caused only by actions of war. The German forces created special academic units to name buildings and monuments that should be destroyed first in order to disrupt Polish heritage; “Special units were assigned to the task of destroying historic buildings, monuments, museums, libraries and archives. These units benefited from the advice of experts- art historians, architects, etc. - who instructed them which buildings, monuments and collections should be destroyed first, in relation to their particular historic or artistic value.” 12 The libraries of Warsaw, containing centuries of documents, books and records, were burnt one after another. The only library that survived the war was the National Library, that was saved from destruction by accident, as the fire was not set properly and extinguished itself. 13 8. Crowley, D., 2003. Warsaw, London: Reaktion. 9. Pacione, M., 1981. Urban problems and planning in the developed world, New York: St. Martin’s Press. 10. Jankowski, S., 1990. Warsaw: Destruction, Secret Town Planning, 1939-44, and Postwar Reconstruction. In Diefendorf, J.M. Rebuilding Europe’s bombed cities, Basingstoke: Macmillan, pp. 77-93 11. Murawski, M; (2009) (A)Political Buildings: Ideology, Memory and Warsaw’s “Old” Town. Docomomo Proceedings , 2 pp. 13-20 12. Ciborowski, A., Jankowski, S. & Malcuzyński, K., 1962. Warsaw rebuilt, Warsaw: Polonia Pub. House. 13. Ciborowski, A., Jankowski, S. & Malcuzyński, K., 1962. Warsaw rebuilt, Warsaw: Polonia Pub. House. page 24


Warsaw in 1939 and 1945. Figure 1

Pabst Plan. Plans for the reconstruction of Warsaw as a new German city. Figure 2 page 25


Even thought there were no resources, infrastructure, housing or food, it did not stop people from returning to the capital. Between January and March 1945, the Polish army removed around 100 000 mines left in the city by German occupants,14 and people marched back to the city. In September 1944, when the right bank of Warsaw was liberated, it had around 160 000 inhabitants, in May 1945 the population rose to 366 000 people. 15 The early days of the capital were characterised by the motion of ‘parterowa Warszawa’ [Eng. ground-floor Warsaw]. As the ground floors of many buildings were the only places that could be used for housing or services, they brought capital back to life. Shops, hair-dressers, doctor’s practices, and pharmacies were opened in the half-demolished buildings of Warsaw. 16 Even though people came back to the liberated capital, the standard of living had not improved since the end of the war. The occupation left Poland with a lack of any resources, the cities struggled with a mortality rate twice as high as before the war.17 Hunger was one of the main issues of society. During one of the public conferences involving the ruling party, one of the women said:

“During the German occupation my child asked me, ‘Mother, when will you give me a roll with butter? And I replied ‘You will get a roll with butter when we have chased out the Germans.’ The Germans were chased out, democratic Poland came, and a tough, tragic collision took place. We can’t deliver that roll with butter, and very often we can’t even give bread.”18 Not only was the standard of living the same as during the war, according to many, it was even worse, which defeated the vision of strong, rich and liberated Poland. The society was opposing the government, as their expectations of living in a free country were nowhere near the realities of everyday life. After the decision to rebuild the capital city, the act of ‘Odbudowa’ engaged the whole nation. There were two main reasons why society 14. Jankowski, S., 1990. Warsaw: Destruction, Secret Town Planning, 1939-44, and Postwar Reconstruction. In Diefendorf, J.M. Rebuilding Europe’s bombed cities, Basingstoke: Macmillan, pp. 77-93 15. Ibidem. 16. Pierwsze dni oswobodzonej Warszawy, PKF 45/07, 1945. 17. Pacione, M., 1981. Urban problems and planning in the developed world, New York: St. Martin’s Press. 18. Kersten, K., 1991. The establishment of Communist rule in Poland, 1943-1948, Berkeley: University of California Press. page 26


People coming back to Warsaw. First days of liberated Warsaw. Figure 3

People coming back to Warsaw. First days of liberated Warsaw. Figure 4 Figure 2.1

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got involved in the rebuilding of Warsaw; the wounded pride of Poles, who experienced cultural repression from occupants and wanted to rebuild Warsaw to show the strength of liberated, free country. The second reason was the opportunity to gain a better social status and what comes with it, access to higher standard of living. The workers, no matter whether engineers or brick layers, were praised by the government and presented as heroes of the rebirth of the free country of Poland. The party members often visited construction sites in Warsaw and worked hand in hand with the workers, showing their support for the strength and determination of the Polish nation. 19 The propaganda surrounding ‘Odbudowa’ represented every citizen as a crucial member of society, working together towards the creation of a stable, socialist country. 20 As Roman Piotrkowski, head of BOS, said in one of the interviews:

“What were those BOS people like? Were they far-sighted realists or visionary dreamers? I believe they were just ordinary people who happened to experience an extraordinary adventure, for on a small part of their lives, of only a few years duration, history had left an imprint of greatness.”21 These two reasons as well as constant propaganda made it possible to raise the capital from ruins. People from around the country were coming to Warsaw to help with the honourable act of rebuilding a new capital of free, democratic Poland. Bricks, iron, and raw materials were transported from cities all over Poland to Warsaw. In 1948 in Warsaw SFOS was created. The organization collected money from all around the country as well as from Poles abroad that had escaped the war, in order to rebuild the city.22 The contributions of cities were listed in Stolica magazine, which encouraged competition between the cities. Articles such as “Wroclaw throws down the glove to Katowice, Lower Silesia wants to beat Slasko-Dabrowskie region in collection of money towards the reconstruction of the Capital.” were popular during the first years of SFOS functioning, to attract people into donating money for Warsaw. 23 The ‘Odbudowa’ became a heroic act, involving every citizen in the country, from child and peasant, to elderly and intelligentsia. It was understood as a communal act, in which everyone should take part in, in order to rebuild the strength and power of the country. 19. Premier przy odbudowie, PKF 47/18, 1947 20. Ibidem. 21. Jankowski, S., 1990. Warsaw: Destruction, Secret Town Planning, 1939-44, and Postwar Reconstruction. In Diefendorf, J.M. Rebuilding Europe’s bombed cities, Basingstoke: Macmillan, pp. 77-93 22. Konferencja w Biurze Odbudowy Stolicy, Polska Kronika Filmowa, no. 08-09, 1946 23. Stolica 1946 nr 5 page 28


Pharmacy opened in a burnt-out tram. Figure 5.

Soup restaurant and bakery opened in burnt-out trams. Figure 6 Figure 3.1

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Chapter 3 Urban reconstruction and its political importance


The reconstruction of the Polish capital was in process when the new government was established in the country. The communist party had to win support of the nation in order to introduce their ideology and strengthen their power as a government. One of the ways in which they were achieving this aim was their contribution towards the reconstruction of Warsaw, a new capital, representing the strength of the Polish nation. The involvement of the party in the reconstruction of the city can be seen at different stages of proposals. First of all, the president of the country, Boleslaw Bierut, was highly engaged in the process of planning and designing developments as well as reconstruction works. In the first PZPR conference he stated: “The issue of reconstruction has reached a new phase in Poland and especially in Warsaw, it gains new character, that requires more than ever, planned control from the Party and people’s republic.” 24 The president was often invited to the planning offices and held discussions with the architects about the projects.

“BOS held a conference with president of the KRN and members of government. Architect Skibniewski presented detailed plans of Warsaw’s reconstruction. President Bierut, with particular interest, studied plans of the Old Town district with new governmental buildings as well as project of reconstruction of Aleje Jerozolimskie” 25 24. Bierut, B., 1949, Sześcioletni plan odbudowy Warszawy, Ksiązka i Wiedza [own translation] 25. Konferencja w Biurze Odbudowy Stolicy, PKF 46/08-09, 1946 page 33


What is more Bierut, without any official architectural education, was not only the main decision maker when it comes to the proposals, he also published the plans of the reconstruction under his name, portraying himself as an author of the projects for the rebuilding of the capital. In 1949 a book „Szescioletni Plan Odbudowy” [Eng. Six-year plan of rebuilding] was published with Boleslaw Bierut listed as the author. The book consisted of an outline of a new economic plan that focused on increasing new developments and industrialization following the standards set by the Soviet Union. What is more, the book focuses on the redevelopment and reconstruction of the capital, showcasing multiple plans, drawings and concepts for the new Warsaw. The book was published after one of the events organised by the party, Kongres Odbudowy Stolicy [Eng. Capital Reconstruction Congress], hosted in 1949. The event gathered architects working on the proposals for new Warsaw as well as members of the party to celebrate the progress of the reconstruction. The guests also included a Russian delegation send by the Soviet government. One of the members of the delegation, poet Aleksander Surkow, said:

“When we saw Warsaw in 1945, it seemed that it would take dozens of years to rebuild the city. But us, Soviet people, we knew that the rebuilding will be much quicker, when a Polish peasant and worker will engage in the process.”26 At the meeting president Bierut said that: “The case of rebuilding our capital is a glorious task of our generation, a work, that we will leave as our inheritance.”27 The congress shows the involvement of both Polish and Soviet governments in the work of architecture. The plans and proposals were discussed with the involvement of the political members who, in the end, had the power to decide which projects were developed. The communist party being involved with the reconstruction is connected with the concept of architecture being used as a tool to create a new national identity and understanding of heritage. The capital was remodelled after an 18th century vision of Warsaw, especially on the basis of Bellotto’s paintings. Bernardo Bellotto was an Italian painter, nephew of Canaletto which is why in Poland and Germany he often was called Bernardo Canaletto. 28 26. Kongres Odbudowy Warszawy, PKF 49/49, 1949 27. Ibidem. 28. Bernardo Bellottto, [accessed: 24.11.2017 at: https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/ search/actor:bellotto-bernardo-17221780] page 34


Boleslaw Bierut at Kongres Odbudowy Warszawy Figure 7

Plans of Warsaw’s reconstruction at Kongres Odbudowy Warszawy Figure 8 page 35


He created a series of paintings depicting Warsaw in the 18th century, that later on were used as a basis for the reconstruction of facades of historic buildings in the Old Town. The history of Poland between the 18th and 20th century influenced the ideology behind the reconstruction of the capital the way it was portrayed in Bellotto’s paintings. On the Polish timeline, the 18th century is associated with the Golden Age of the country, development of arts and culture and establishing international connections. What is more important is that the 18th century was also the last time Poland was a free country, before the Partitions. Following three Partitions in 1772, 1793 and 1795 the country seized to exist. Between 1795 and 1918 Polish people struggled to preserve their culture, as the ruling countries did not allow it. Following the end of the First World War, Poland became concerned with the state of its heritage and began surveying typologies typical for the country as well as creating books and albums describing Polish architecture.29 However the Second World War brought another wave of destruction, in some sense even worse than the Partitions. Nazi ideology of destroying countries not only in a physical state but also as “heart, brain and treasury” 30destruction, led to a cultural and historical annihilation of Polish heritage. Both in architecture as well as in media, the ruling party recalls the greatness of the 18th century. As the communist party had control over media, including newspapers, radio and film, the ideology that was published and broadcast can be associated with ideology promoted by the party. In many articles published in Stolica magazine there are connections to the 18th century. The article “How New Years Eve was celebrated in the past?” 31 published in 1946, describes an idealized vision of the 18th century celebrations and grand events full of luxuries. The government reconstructed not only the historical vision of the city, but in a way it also reconstructed the historical heritage of Polish nation. As the architecture as well as literature and art was almost completely destroyed following the Second World War, the new work created was a basis for a new understanding of Polish heritage and history. By bringing back the image of 29. Lewicki J., Inwentaryzacja zabytkow w okresie dwudziestolecia miedzywojennego, 1999, Muzeum Historii Polski [own translation] 30. Ciborowski, A., Jankowski, S. & Małcużyński, K., 1962. Warsaw rebuilt, Warsaw: Polonia Pub. House. 31. How New Year’s Eve was celebrated in the past?, Stolica no. 9, 1946 page 36


Poster of Stalin and Bierut from 1950s, promoting union of Soviet countries. Figure 9 page 37


Poland from the 18th century the communist party created the idea that they are rebuilding the city not only in its physical state but also the strength and importance of the country that was achieved before the Partitions. For these reasons, the party was supported and praised by society, who believed that the country would return to the position that it held 200 years before. In a way, the reconstruction was used as a psychological manipulation tool, as the 18th century was associated by society as the last time the country was free and well-functioning. The reconstruction suggested that the city and the country was returning to its original state before the Partitions and wars. For this, the party was praised, especially by the working and middle class as the living conditions were improved and the idea of a strong, culturally and economically developed country was re-established. What is more, the skipping of two centuries worth of history was used in order to minimize the effect of a political past with Russia. As the Polish People’s Republic was officially part of the Soviet Union and therefore was under Russian government control it was important to decrease the possibility of protests and objections from society. As for the past 123 years, the Eastern part of the country, including Warsaw was under Russian Partition, which was considered the most rigorous and immoral of the three, it was crucial to change the vision of Russian rule. Many events were organised where Russian youth was brought to help with the rebuilding of Warsaw, to show the support from the Eastern Bloc; “voluntary Battalions for Reconstruction that are clearing out our capital increased in size as a big group of Yugoslavian youth joined the process.”32 The Russians were portrayed as friends and saviors of the Polish nation, even though they were oppressors of the Polish nation and attacked Poland during the Second World War. In the Six-Year plan for Reconstruction one of the first pages states:

“Invaluable and unforgettable help in this hardest time for our city was received from the Soviet Union and the Red Army […]Great Commander of the USSR nations and friend of Poland, Generalissimuss Stalin, shortly before the liberation of Warsaw was motivating us to immediately start work on the reconstruction of the Capital.” 33 The way in which the party influenced the reconstruction can be understood as a political tool of manipulation and propaganda.

32. Warszawa przyszlosci, PKF 47/30, 1947 33. Bierut B. 1949, Szescioletni Plan Odbudowy Warszawy, Warsaw. [own translation] page 38


The remodelling of the 18th century Old Town and highlighting the traditions and customs connected with that era showcase that the party tried to recreate the image of a strong and free country that would convince the citizens that Poland is regaining its strength and independence, even if the reality was the opposite. However, the historical reconstruction was only superficial, the buildings created the external image of grand, majestic creations, however the interiors did not follow;

“Schemes suffered from awkward spatial planning; rooms opened into one another without corridors or hallways that might have afforded some kind of privacy to inhabitants; and supporting columns often disturbed domestic spaces.� 34 The government gained the support of the working class and manipulated society by creating a model of a grand, modernised capital, that connects tradition with modern developments.

34. Crowley, D., 2003. Warsaw, London: Reaktion. page 39


4.1 Trasa W-Z: tradition and modernity in communist capital 4.2 John’s House: 18th century Bellotto’s Warsaw 4.3 St. John’s Cathedral: sacral architecture and Christian heritage


Chapter 4 Reconstructing architecture: heritage as a political tool


Chapter 4.1 Trasa W-Z: tradition and modernity in a communist capital


In the years following the war, removing debris from the capital was the main task for the inhabitants of Warsaw. People from different social classes worked hand in hand to clean up the streets and prepare the city for new construction. Parallel to plans of reconstruction of the principal areas of the city, new projects and developments were presented in BOS. 35 One of the main developments that caused the most controversy was Trasa W-Z, an East-West Thoroughfare running through the Old Town. The project would completely change the look of Plac Zamkowy, the main square in Warsaw, but it also proposed the demolition of townhouses that survived the war.36 The development was criticized by many architects, including the ones that worked on the project. Stanislaw Jankowski, the architect working in Trasa W-Z Studio, said:

“When we discussed the project at the drawing boards and on the site, we knew that we had little chance to build it. It was the year 1947. The third year of rebuilding. It was a time to ensure people have place to live and work: first of all, give people a roof over their heads. […] And our project of Trasa W-Z proposed demolition. Demolition of a few burned, but densely inhabited buildings at Nowy Zjazd and public transport infrastructure.” 37 35. Konferencja w Biurze Odbudowy Stolicy, PKF 46/08-09, 1946 36. Skalimowski A., „Budowniczy stolicy”. Warszawski mecenat Bolesława Bieruta w latach 1945–1955, 2014, Journal Pamiec i Sprawiedliwosc, Issue 2(24), p.75-94 [own translation] 37. Ibidem. page 45


Trasa W-Z in 2017 Figure 10 page 46


Plac Zamkowy, view before the war Figure 11

Plac Zamkowy, view in 1949 Figure 12 page 47


However, president Bierut was a supporter of the project and after many discussions with architects showcasing strengths and weaknesses of the project, he decided to start the construction. 38 The project was widely promoted in newspapers, film chronicles as well as during the First Public Exhibition of Architecture in Polish People’s Republic, where the project was part of an installation presenting connections between historic Warsaw and its modern redevelopment.39 The project was presented in detail to the public as well. Architects’ speeches were included in extensive articles published in Stolica, magazine that documented the progress of the capital’s reconstruction. One of the articles written by two architects, Skibniewski and Dziewulski, outlines the importance of the development for the population of Warsaw as well as its benefits for the restoration of the Old Town.40 The article examines the project in the context of historical Warsaw stating that:

“Building a new road will not change the historical monuments, instead it will situate them in the right way, relative to the view of the passer-by.” It also outlines the city defence benefits including using the tunnel as bombing shelter for 10 000 people and improving the communication between parts of the city that would allow for more efficient military operations. The opening of the Trasa W-Z was a grand event in the capital, it opened on 22nd of July 1949, on the fifth anniversary of the liberation of Poland. (fig.x) President Bierut as well as other members of the party such as the Prime Minister and marshals Zymierski and Rokossowski led the opening ceremony. Crowds of people attended the event that was highly publicised in newspapers and on radio. 41 The new investment was promoted by the government “as the greatest architectural and town planning achievement in Poland since the war” 42 and as grand example of collaboration between Russia and the Polish Republic. It was a symbol of a new, improved capital and showcased the strength of a communist government and its power to 38. Skalimowski A., „Budowniczy stolicy”. Warszawski mecenat Bolesława Bieruta w latach 1945–1955, 2014, Journal Pamiec i Sprawiedliwosc, Issue 2(24), p.75-94 [own translation] 39. Czapelski M., 2016, Architektura polskiego socrealizmu w Zachecie, Warszawa, Zacheta- Narodowa Galeria Sztukii. [own translation] 40. Wspoltworcy trasy objasniaja projekt, Stolica, no.26/27, 1947 41. Kronika odbudowy, Stolica, no. 32, 1949. 42. Jankowski, S., 1990. Warsaw: Destruction, Secret Town Planning, 1939-44, and Postwar Reconstruction. In Diefendorf, J.M. Rebuilding Europe’s bombed cities, Basingstoke: Macmillan, pp. 77-93 page 48


Stolica magazine article: ‘ Architects working on Trasa W-Z explain the project’. Figure 13

Photos from the opening of Trasa W-Z in 1949. Figure 14 page 49


remodel the city into an efficient and modern capital. The development was contradictory to the idea of the reconstruction of the Old Town, discouraged by many architects, engineers and other specialists. Not only did it entail the demolition of buildings that were already inhabited, but also it required the demolition of historic town houses at Krakowskie Przedmiescie43. The Trasa W-Z was an example of a grand gesture connected with the ideology of totalitarianism. In his book Lawrence Vale states: “Many political regimes make especially powerful symbolic use of the physical environment. (…) We can, therefore, learn much about a political regime by observing closely what it builds” 44 . Capitals are expected to be practical but also a symbolic picture of strength of the ruling government. It is supposed to promote the culture and national identity of the country45 therefore placing a new, modern investment of Trasa W-Z, is as much an architectural intervention as a political one. The acceptance of the Trasa W-Z proposal symbolizes the need of the government to showcase their power in the city. Although advised by experts in the field, only the president had the power to initiate the project. Society needs were set aside and the creation of a representational piece of urban architecture that can be associated with the new government became the priority for the party.

43. Trasa W-Z, Stolica no. 30/31, 1949. 44. Vale, L.J., 2008. Architecture, power, and national identity 2nd ed., London ; New York: Routledge. 45. Ibidem. page 50


Historic marker board, installed at the opening of Trasa W-Z in 1949. Figure 15 page 51


Chapter 4.2 John’s House: 18th century Bellotto’s Warsaw


Amongst the new developments, the main task for Warsaw’s architects was the reconstruction of the capital. As mentioned in the first chapter, German invasion of the city was not only physical, it also aimed to destroy the cultural and national identity of Poles, disconnecting them from their heritage. One of the most difficult tasks was relinking the nation with its past. The reconstruction of the Old Town of Warsaw not only proposed new housing and rebuilding after military destruction, it was also a process of establishing a new connection between survivors of the war and their history. In the first five years after the war, the Old Town of Warsaw was the main area of focus for the city’s architects. The communist party was highly engaged in the process, as the city centre was considered as a representational part of the capital. In this part of dissertation, I will focus on the course of the rebuilding of the Old Town using the example of John’s House, one of the townhouses, situated on Krakowskie Przedmiescie 89, the main promenade of the Old Town. One of the main tasks concerning the rebuilding of the Old Town was combining the historical heritage of the area with the need for modernisation of the city, “the facts of modern social life constitute the backbone of the whole structure”. 46 46. Jankowski, S., 1990. Warsaw: Destruction, Secret Town Planning, 1939-44, and Postwar Reconstruction. In Diefendorf, J.M. Rebuilding Europe’s bombed cities, Basingstoke: Macmillan, pp. 77-93 page 55


The main idea behind regenerating the Old Town was to provide new and egalitarian living conditions as well as cultural resources for both the working class and the bourgeoise. 47 The party was promoting their ideology of an equal society, criticising the upper class that, before the war, owned large properties in the city centre. Many citizens that before the war had lived in better conditions criticized new housing offered by the party;

“She remember how it look before only fragmentarily. She talked about these happy times, about visits, laughter, flowers, about going abroad for holidays, even about her maids and about her old room where she could ride a bike with her brother.” 48 The article posted in migration magazine ‘Wiadomosci’ in London was highly criticised, especially in Polish Film Chronicle used as one of the propaganda tools of the party. In the episode “Mr. Welsh discovers Warsaw” they criticise the article by saying that:

“This woman lives in MDM with her husband and hates it. Well, it’s not a surprise. This woman probably dreams about pre-war townhouses, courtyards with wells, cellar rooms in which working class children were suffering tuberculosis.” 49 The party criticized the upper class and their lack of sympathy towards the working class that before the war had suffered in poor living conditions. The idea of creating a capital that would accommodate every citizen in the same way was very important for the ideology of the party. It gained support from the working and middle class that in the past could not achieve the status that would provide better living conditions. The new ideology allowed people of all backgrounds to portray themselves as equal citizens. The party promoted the idea by creating the image of party members as hard working people, often seen working hand in hand with manual workers from local villages, helping with the important task of clearing the capital. Most of the appearances of government officials were documented by the Polish National Chronicle. Many official events and celebrations were held at the construction site in the Old Town. The main party members along with President Bierut were often invited and welcomed by the working class workers. 47. Jankowski, S., 1990. Warsaw: Destruction, Secret Town Planning, 1939-44, and Postwar Reconstruction. In Diefendorf, J.M. Rebuilding Europe’s bombed cities, Basingstoke: Macmillan, pp. 77-93 48 . Welsh, D.J, 1953, Przechadzka po Warszawie w roku 1951, Wiadomosci magazine 49. Mr. Welsh odkrywa Warszawe, PKF 53/27, 1953 page 56


Boleslaw Bierut at the debris removal in the Old Town. Figure 16 page 57


“On the 1st of September crowds of workers and public figures appeared on the streets of the Old Town. It was one of the events to launch the Month for the Rebuilding of the Capital. In the crowd, we can witness: minister Skrzeszewski, president Tolwinski, minister Berman and the deputy speaker of Sejm Zambrowski. Enthusiastically greeted president Bierut helped with the removal of debris in the Old Town. This is what president said: ‘Let’s get together to work in order to build a new Warsaw - the future, amazing capital of Poland. We need to remember that the quick rebuilding of Warsaw is a great, national aim.’” 50 The involvement of the party in both manual work and in the planning offices is connected with the need for the government to highlight their ideology in a newly rebuilt capital city. As Lawrence J. Vale states in his book “the modern capital is expected to be, above all else, the seat of government and the focus of its symbolic presence. […] it is also expected to serve as the focus of efforts to promote a sense of national identity.” 51 Through involvement in architectural practices working on the reconstruction plans, they could decide upon the final vision and idea behind the Old Town. The example I am focusing on, John’s House, is one of the townhouses that became transformed during the reconstruction from privately owned buildings to a public centre for Warsaw’s inhabitants. It became a house for the Polish Writer’s Association During the Second World War, John’s House was almost completely destroyed. Following the motion of capital rebuilding, it was decided that Krakowskie Przedmiescie, as one of the representative streets in Warsaw, had to be rebuilt. However, the reconstruction of townhouses, especially in that part of the Old Town, was halted after the proposal of Trasa W-Z which was supposed to run right beneath the main square. The proposed tunnel was supposed to be created using the same technique as sewage system construction, which required digging up a trench and producing a concrete structure that is later re-entombed in the ground.52 As the Trasa W-Z runs right below John’s House, it was necessary to demolish it for the duration of the construction.53 The article in Stolica newspaper states that:

50. Premier przy odbudowie, PKF 47/18, 1947 51. Vale, L.J., 2008. Architecture, power, and national identity 2nd ed., London ; New York: Routledge. 52. Trasa W-Z, Stolica no. 30/31, 1948. 53. Wspoltworcy Trasy W-Z objasniaja projekt, Stolica no. 26/27, 1948. page 58


John’s House in 1942. Figure 17

View from John’s House towards Plac Zamkowy Figure 18 page 59


John’s House in 2017. Figure 19 page 60


John’s House at the end of the Second World War (right). Figure 20

Escalators inside John’s House in 2017. Figure 21 page 61


“They (townhouses) had to be demolished because of underground construction works, however a detailed survey of the building was conducted to allow reconstruction.” 54 However following the war, only a few of the internal walls of John’s House were preserved (fig.20) which makes a detailed survey of the building, especially a Rococo style townhouse, almost impossible. John’s House was fully rebuilt after the end of the construction work on Trasa W-Z. It became an inseparable part of the new development as the ground floor of the building was transformed into a pedestrian access to the Trasa W-Z from the level of the main square, Plac Zamkowy. One of the elements of Polish-Russian collaboration on the Trasa W-Z was an escalator connecting Plac Zamkowy with the lower level of Trasa W-Z where tram and bus stops were located. 55 It was the first escalator in Poland and became one of the attractions for people coming to the capital to experience the modern, rebuilt Warsaw. The tourists visiting the escalator were documented in one of the episodes of the Chronicle in 1949, “Sightseeing Warsaw”, where a group of tourists “want to see the work of the rebuilding of the capital as they contributed to it by supporting SFOS. […] And the greatest excitement - first time in their lives: descent on escalator.” 56 At the beginning of the 20th century, the ground floor of the building was full of shops and local services e.g hairdresser (fig.22). The changes after the reconstruction minimized the ground floor to the role of a pedestrian circulation space. What is more, the reconstruction of the building, even though allegedly it was surveyed before the demolition in 1947, is mostly visually based on the paintings of Warsaw from the 18th century. One of the paintings used was Bellotto’s “View of Krakowskie Przedmieście Street from the Zygmunt III Column” which showcases the façade of John’s House with other townhouses located on Krakowskie Przedmiescie (fig.23). The painting became a basis for the reconstruction of the historic façade, even though there were multiple illustrations, sketches and photos that show how the building changed between the late 18th century and the 1930s. The façade as well as floor levels and the number of floors were changed multiple times by the owners of the townhouse.57

54. Trasa W-Z, Stolica no. 30/31, 1948. 55. Skalimowski A., „Budowniczy stolicy”. Warszawski mecenat Bolesława Bieruta w latach 1945–1955, 2014, Journal Pamiec i Sprawiedliwosc, Issue 2(24), p.75-94 [own translation] 56. Zwiedzamy Warszawe, PKF 49/48, 1949 57. Murawski, M; (2009) (A)Political Buildings: Ideology, Memory and Warsaw’s “Old” Town. Docomomo Proceedings , 2 pp. 13-20. page 62


John’s House at the beginning of the 20th century. Figure 22

Bellotto’s “View of Krakowskie Przedmieście Street from the Zygmunt III Column” Figure 23 page 63


What is more, after the First World War many architects as well as architecture schools in Poland realized the importance of surveying the buildings as many historic architecture styles and monuments were lost during the war. Therefore, groups of architects and architecture students worked together to preserve the architecture that survived. In Warsaw, Oskar Sosnowski, architect and lecturer at the School of Architecture at Warsaw’s University, worked with groups of students surveying the city. In 1922 Sosnowski along with Jerzy Raczynski, researcher of architecture, established Zaklad Architektury Polskiej (ZAP) (Eng. Polish Architecture Institute). They worked towards researching and surveying polish architectural heritage. Students of architecture in Warsaw, in small groups, conducted detailed surveys of townhouses in the Old Town during their practical work projects over the summer. 58 There were many resources that could be used to give John’s House the look that it had right before the war in the late 1930s however the way in which it was rebuilt is quite symbolical. Bellotto is a popular ‘Golden Age’ artist and in Poland highly recognized as a painter serving the last Polish king, Stanislaw August Poniatowski. His paintings are valued by both historians and society. In a 1946 article in Stolica, Ksawey Pruszynski encourages the Polish nation to showcase the works of Bellotto as well as photos and short movies depicting the process of the rebuilding of Warsaw in the United States. 59 The idea of rebuilding a streetscape that mimics the 18th century is significant because of Polish history. In 1772 the first Partition of Poland took place. The last one, in 1795, divided the country between Austria, Prussia, and Russia, erasing Poland from the map for 123 years until 1918, when the country gained independence after First World War. Rebuilding Warsaw based on an 18th century depiction can be viewed as the most patriotic solution as it brings back the image of an independent Poland.

58. Lewicki J., Inwentaryzacja zabytkow w okresie dwudziestolecia miedzywojennego, 1999, Muzeum Historii Polski [own translation] 59. Pokazmy Ameryce Canaletta, Stolica no.1, 1946 page 64


Survey of an Old Town townhouse created by ZAP. Figure 24 page 65


Chapter 4.3 St. John’s Cathedral: sacral architecture and Christian heritage


Another example is St. John’s Cathedral, the main church in the Old Town area. For the Polish nation, the rebuilding of the cathedral was symbolic, as religion has always played a big role in the everyday lives of society. In a country where the majority of the population is Catholic, a lack of churches was an issue, especially in times of hardship when spiritual support could be vital. In 1946 the Primate of Poland, August Hlond, established Prymasowska Rada Odbudowy Kosciolow (Primate Council for the Rebuilding of Churches), which coordinated the process of rebuilding churches in the capital. After Hlond’s death, Primate Stefan Wyszynski, took over the council and under his leadership the cathedral in Warsaw was rebuilt between 1948 and 1956. 60 Originally the cathedral was built in gothic style around 1300. In 1602 one of the gothic towers collapsed and during the renovation of the church, the main façade was transformed to early baroque style. Following that event, the main changes took places in the 19th century. The cathedral was in a poor technical state and so was renovated from state funds and changed style again to English Neogothic based on a project by Adam Idzkowski. The cathedral was the place of many military operations and following the war was almost completely destroyed. The cathedral was rebuilt according to the projects of Jan Zachwatowicz, Maria and Kazimierz Piechotkowie. They created a number of proposals for the cathedral, 60. St. John’s Cathedral Museum page 69


however in the end they decided not to reconstruct the cathedral in the way it look before the Second World War but to rebuild it in the style of Vistula gothic. 61 The style used by the architects is meaningful and symbolic, Vistula gothic came with the revival of gothic style in Poland. Between 1870 and 1914 the style developed, as a manifestation of the Polish national style, reflecting national identity. It was mainly used for sacral Catholic architecture to show opposition to the revival of Byzantine style architecture endorsed by Russia.62 Rebuilding St. John’s Cathedral using Vistula Gothic style reflects on its symbolism in the past and shows the opposition of the architects towards the style and ideology imposed by the Russian government following the war. What is interesting is the fact that the reconstruction of the cathedral not only was limited to the reconstruction of the building itself, it also involved specific urban elements connected to the cathedral. One of them is a bridge connecting the cathedral with the adjacent building. It is part of an arcade connecting the Royal Castle and the Cathedral built for the Polish kings.63 The arcade was built in 17th century, after the planned assassination of king Zygmunt III Waza on the 15th November 1620. In order to provide more safety for the royalty that used the church every Sunday, the passageway between the Royal Castle and the royal balcony in the cathedral was constructed. 64 However, the reconstruction remodels 17th century traditions and events, it also shows how the rebuilding just recalls the idea rather than actually reconstructs the pre-war architecture as the arcade is no longer connected with the cathedral. (fig.26) What is more, the government rule affected the reconstruction of the cathedral. The sacral architecture, important for society because of its religious past, did not go well with communist ideology. This led to many oppressions connected with sacral buildings reconstruction. One of them is the height of the building, which is quite crucial in terms of churches, especially cathedrals, as in the past they were usually the tallest structures in the urban environment. Most of the churches were refused permission to build high spires as it might create an issue of a sacral building being very visible in the cityscape65 which did not correspond with the idea of an atheist country. 61. St. John’s Cathedral Museum 62 . Diniejko A., The Gothic Revival in Poland, Warszawa, Uniwersytet Warszawski. 63. St. John’s Cathedral Museum 64. St. John’s Cathedral Museum 65. The urban structure of historic part of Warsaw- Vienna, 2009. page 70


Military operation in the Cathedral. Figure 25

Interior of the arcade, no longer providing passage to the cathedral Figure 26 page 71


Sketch of the proposed reconstruction. Figure 27 page 72


Proposals for the Cathedral’s reconstruction. Figure 28

Proposals for the Cathedral’s reconstruction. Figure 28.1 page 73


The cathedral was also an example of a “selective and creative” conservation approach that was promoted mostly by professor Jan Zachwatowicz, who was the General Conservator for Historic Monuments between 1945 and 1957.66 He promoted the idea of stripping monuments from the historical layers of changes that they experienced over the centuries and redesigning and reconstructing the facades on the basis of interpretation of existing iconography.67 Jan Zachwatowicz said:

“Warsaw cannot be a city without a past. Warsaw cannot be imagined without the figures of the Royal Castle or Cathedral, there is no other way than reconstruction of our monuments. Will we create forgery? Technical intervention in order to preserve monuments was considered acceptable and in the Louvre the wooden ceilings were changed to reinforced concrete, many objects were taken apart and put together anew. We need to collect the maximum of original elements, that provide the link with authenticity.” 68 Zachwatowicz argued that authenticity can be achieved by usage of original elements as well as skilled manual workers. He organised a series of lectures for builders working on the reconstruction of the Old Town, including the Cathedral, where he taught the basics of Polish architectural history as well as preservation of monuments.69 In that way the construction works in the Old Town, could be undertaken in a appropriate manner, without further damaging the monuments, even without the supervision of skilled architects and monument conservators. The Cathedral is an example of both political influence as well as a notable work of conservation of heritage during Odbudowa. The building façade as well as the height was affected by political influence, especially under pressure from the Soviet Union’s atheist ideology. However, it also show the architectural engagement of architects as well as manual workers that had to work under the jurisdiction of the communist regime, but still draw attention to correct preservation techniques and methods. The Cathedral is also a symbol of strong Polish tradition, that survived the war as well as political influence. The Catholic religion is a major part of Polish culture since 966, when Poland was baptised by Mieszko I, the first ruler of the Polish state. It showcases that there are symbols, traditions and beliefs that survived the Nazi cultural destruction as well as political manipulation. 66. The urban structure of historic part of Warsaw- Vienna, 2009. 67. The urban structure of historic part of Warsaw- Vienna, 2009. 68. Centrum Interpretacji Zabytku- Muzeum Warszawy 69. Centrum Interpretacji Zabytku- Muzeum Warszawy page 74


Main facade of the Cathedral in 2017. Figure 29 page 75


Chapter 5 Heritage and ideological manipulation


The reconstruction of Warsaw is a problematic issue, many factors influence the understanding of value and authenticity of the reconstruction. From an architectural point of view, it can be argued that the rebuilding of the capital was conducted in the best possible way considering the conditions of the country in the first years after the Second World War. The Old Town of Warsaw is listed as one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites, as an “outstanding example of a near-total reconstruction of a span of history covering the 13th century to the 20th century” 70. UNESCO points out important details about the reconstruction of the city, first of all the whole act took place during hard conditions following war and was an achievement of the whole nation united in rebuilding the capital. What is more, the buildings were adapted to modern needs and conditions that improved the way of living for many working class citizens who struggled before the war. The reconstruction was carried out by groups of renowned artists that created polychrome decoration using traditional techniques such as sgraffito. The detailing and care put into the reconstruction of the city is an achievement that influenced doctrines of conservation and urbanisation of cities around Europe and is praised by UNESCO. Even though the act of ‘Obdudowa’ is connected with political manipulation and ideological 70. Historic Centre of Warsaw, [accessed: 07.12.2017 at: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/30/] page 79


influence upon architecture, it is still considered an important architectural contribution in the history of the country as well as Europe. The political manipulation is enabled by the fact that architecture has a large psychological impact on society, even for people not educated in the field of design or construction. The visual power of buildings can be used to convey an ideology or philosophy and create or remodel existing understandings of culture, heritage, or political state of the country. The preservation of historical buildings is a process highly influenced by factors such as political tensions, personal opinions or religious beliefs. The preservation of heritage is never fully objective and is an object of bias. The history of Warsaw, from cultural annihilation by Nazi forces to political manipulation by a communist government showcases that architecture can be used as a tool of displaying power and strength, which is a strategy used by many states and nations throughout the centuries. The example of Warsaw’s reconstruction demonstrates the complex issue of preservation and understanding of heritage. The preservation of heritage is never fully objective and is influenced by the personal interpretation of historical background. Post-war reconstruction in Warsaw showcases political influence on preservation and creation of new understanding of heritage. It reflects the wider debate about preservation and subjectivity. The fragments that create a heritage are always perceived with the bias of a modern perspective. Their understanding is updated and remodelled in the landscape of contemporary political and social factors. Effectively preservation can never be objective and does not fully reflect the historic perception. Heritage is created by the network of connections and relations that shape its understanding and change according to the time and place as well as personal beliefs. Historical understanding can be altered by a sequence of modern political factors. Although the reconstruction of Warsaw can be perceived as successful, it does not change the fact that it is an example of political manipulation of national heritage. This example showcases that preservation is a complex set of connections and perspectives that create an understanding of historic outlook in a contemporary environment. As discussed before, preservation is never fully objective and is altered by personal bias, however the example of Warsaw shows that this could be used as part of political manipulation. The projecting of ideology onto understanding of heritage can alter society’s vision of the dogma and present it in different light. This expresses an issue of using heritage as a tool of dogmatic manipulation. page 80


List of figures Including references


Figure 1

page 23

Figure 2

page 23

Figure 3

page 25

Diefendorf, J.M., 1990. Rebuilding Europe’s bombed cities, Basingstoke: Macmillan Diefendorf, J.M., 1990. Rebuilding Europe’s bombed cities, Basingstoke: Macmillan Bierut B. 1949, Szescioletni Plan Odbudowy Warszawy, Warsaw.

Figure 4 page 25 Bierut B. 1949, Szescioletni Plan Odbudowy Warszawy, Warsaw.

Figure 5.

page 27

10 minut po wojnie [accessed: 20.01.2018] [https://whu.org.pl/2016/09/22/10-minut-po-wojnie/10-minut-po-wojnie warszawa-1945-4/

Figure 6 page 27 Bierut B. 1949, Szescioletni Plan Odbudowy Warszawy, Warsaw.

Figure 7 page 33 Bierut B. 1949, Szescioletni Plan Odbudowy Warszawy, Warsaw.

Figure 8 page 33 Bierut B. 1949, Szescioletni Plan Odbudowy Warszawy, Warsaw.

Figure 9 page 35 Wielkie przyjaznie, [accessed: 20.01.2018] [https://komparatystyczni.wordpress.com/2014/11/30/196/]

Figure 10 page 44 Own photograph, Warsaw 2017

Figure 11

page 45

Ulica Nowy Zjazd (wiadukt Pancera) w Warszawie [accessed: 20.01.2018] [https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Arkady_Nowego_Zjazdu_w_Warszawie_ pocztówka_przed_1915.jpg]

Figure 12 page 45 Pocztowka ‘Trasa W-Z 1949’ Czytelnik

Figure 13 page 47 Trasa W-Z, Stolica no. 30/31, 1949

page 84


Figure 14 page 47 Trasa W-Z, Stolica no. 30/31, 1949

Figure 15 page 49 Own photograph, Warsaw 2017

Figure 16 page 55 Bierut B. 1949, Szescioletni Plan Odbudowy Warszawy, Warsaw.

Figure 17 page 57 National Archive in Warsaw [accessed: 20.01.2018] [https://www.warszawa.ap.gov.pl/referat_gabarytow/referat_gabarytow.html]

Figure 18 page 57 National Archive in Warsaw [accessed: 20.01.2018] [https://www.warszawa.ap.gov.pl/referat_gabarytow/referat_gabarytow.html]

Figure 19 page 58 Own photograph, Warsaw 2017

Figure 20 page 59 27th May 1945, Kamienica Johna [accessed: 20.01.2018] [http://warszawa.fotopolska.eu/24901,foto.html?o=b7747&p=1]

Figure 21 page 59 Own photograph, Warsaw 2017

Figure 22 page 61 Kamienica Johna 1902 [accessed:20.01.2018] [http://warszawa.fotopolska eu/479474,foto.html]

Figure 23 page 61 “View of Krakowskie Przedmieście Street from the Zygmunt III Column” [accessed: 20.01.2018] [https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bellotto_Cracow_Suburb_as_seen_from_ the_Cracow_Gate.jpg]

Figure 24 page 63 Lewicki J., Inwentaryzacja zabytkow w okresie dwudziestolecia miedzywojennego, 1999, Muzeum Historii Polski

Figure 25 page 69 St. John’s Cathedral Museum page 85


Figure 26 page 69 Own photograph, Warsaw 2017

Figure 27 page 70 Own photograph, Warsaw 2017

Figure 28 page 71 Own photograph, Warsaw 2017

Figure 28.1 page 71 Own photograph, Warsaw 2017

Figure 29 page 73 Own photograph, Warsaw 2017

Chapter cover photos: Chapter 1 Bierut B. 1949, Szescioletni Plan Odbudowy Warszawy, Warsaw.

Chapter 2 Fotograf w Warszawie [accessed:20.01.2018] [http://histografy.pl/fotograf-w-warszawie/]

Chapter 3 Plakat w sluzbie odbudowy stolicy [accessed: 20.01.2018] [http://www.twarzewarszawy.pl/plakat-w-sluzbie-odbudowy-stolicy-1678]

Chapter 4.1 Ale to był dzień! 22 lipca w Warszawie w okresie PRL [accessed:20.01.2018] [http://warszawa.wyborcza.pl/warszawa/1,54420,16358987,Ale_to_byl_dzien__22_ lipca_w_Warszawie_w_okresie_PRL.html]

Chapter 4.2 Warszawa po kapitulacji w 1939 r. [accessed:20.01.2018] [http://warszawa.fotopolska.eu/137321,foto.html]

Chapter 4.3 Ciborowski, A., Jankowski, S. & Małcużyński, K., 1962. Warsaw rebuilt, Warsaw: Polonia Pub. House.

Chapter 5 Ciborowski, A., Jankowski, S. & Małcużyński, K., 1962. Warsaw rebuilt, Warsaw: Polonia Pub. House. page 86


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Hughes, R. (1949, Mar 15). People and ideas: The phoenix city of Warsaw. Vogue, 113 Ikonnikov, A.V., 1988. Russian architecture of the Soviet period, Moscow: Raduga Publishers. Jankowski, S., 1990. Warsaw: Destruction, Secret Town Planning, 1939-44, and Postwar Reconstruction. In Diefendorf, J.M. Rebuilding Europe’s bombed cities, Basingstoke: Macmillan Kersten, K., 1991. The establishment of Communist rule in Poland, 1943-1948, Berkeley: University of California Press. Knox, B., 1971. The architecture of Poland, London: Barrie and Jenkins. Lewicki J., Inwentaryzacja zabytkow w okresie dwudziestolecia miedzywojennego, [Eng. Surveying monuments during Interwar Period] 1999, Muzeum Historii Polski Miłobędzki, A. & Międzynarodowe Centrum Kultury w Krakowie, 1994. The architecture of Poland : a chapter of the European heritage, Cracow: International Cultural Centre. Pacione, M., 1990. Urban problems : an applied urban analysis, London ; New York: Routledge. Skalimowski A., „Budowniczy stolicy”. Warszawski mecenat Bolesława Bieruta w latach 1945–1955, [Eng. “Builder of the capital”. Patronage of Boleslaw Bierut in years 19451955] 2014, Journal Pamiec i Sprawiedliwosc, Issue 2(24) Steffen, K. & Kohlrausch, M., 2009. The limits and merits of internationalism: experts, the state and the international community in Poland in the first half of the twentieth century. European Review of History: Revue europeenne d’histoire, 16(5) Szmygina, B., 2014. Wartość fukcji w obiektach zabytkowych. [Eng. Value of function in monuments] Muzeum Pałac w Wilianowie Vale, L.J., 2008. Architecture, power, and national identity 2nd ed., London ; New York: Routledge Welsh, D.J, 1953, Przechadzka po Warszawie w roku 1951, [Eng. Walk around Warsaw in 1951] Wiadomosci magazine

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Withuis, J. & Mooij, A., 2010. The Politics of War Trauma The Aftermath of World War II in Eleven European Countries, Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press. Witkowska, J., 2008. Creating false enemies: John Bull and Uncle Sam as food for anti-Western propaganda in Poland. Journal of Transatlantic Studies, 6(2) Zielinski, F., 1994. The rise and fall of governmental patronage of art: A sociologist’s case study of the polish poster between 1945 and 1990. International Sociology, 9(1) WEBSITES Historic Centre of Warsaw, [accessed: 07.12.2017 at: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/30/] Bernardo Bellottto, [accessed: 24.11.2017 at: https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/ search/actor:bellotto-bernardo-17221780]

STOLICA MAGAZINE 1946: Stolica no. 1, Article: Pokazmy Ameryce Canaletta [Eng. Let’s show Canaletto in USA] Stolica no. 5, Article: Wrocław rzuca rękawicę Katowicom [Eng. Wroclaw throns down a glove to Katowice] Stolica no. 6, Article: Czy opanujemy kryzys mieszkaniowy w Warszawie? [Eng. Will we manage housing crisis in Warsaw?] Stolica no. 7, Article: Warszawa moich wspomnień [Eng. Warsaw in my memories] Stolica no. 8, Article: Warszawa Canaletta [Eng. Canaletto Warsaw] Stolica no. 9, Article: Jak obchodzono nowy rok w Warszawie przed dawnymi laty? [Eng. How did they celebrate New Year’s Eve in the past?] 1947: Stolica no. 2, Article: Czy Warszawa się zmienila? [Eng. Is Warsaw changed?] Stolica no. 6, Article: Oredzie Prezydenta Rzeczpospolitej [Eng. Speech of Polish President] 1948: Stolica no. 1, Article: Warszawa panopticum czy Warszawa przyszlosci? [Eng. Warsaw panopticum or Warsaw of the future?] Stolica no. 4, Article: Roboty przy odbudowie Katedry św. Jana [Eng. Works at the reconstruction of st. John Cathedral] Stolica no. 30/31, Article: Trasa W-Z [Eng. West-East Thoroughfare] Stolica no. 26/27, Article: Współtwórcy trasy Wschód- Zachód objaśniają projekt [Eng. Authors of Trasa W-Z explain the project] 1949: Stolica no. 32, Article: Kronika Odbudowy [Eng. Chronicle of the reconstruction] page 92


POLISH FILM CHRONICLE 1945: PKF 07 Pierwsze dni oswobodzonej Warszawy [Eng. First days of liberated Warsaw] PKF 18 Biuletyn Odbudowy Stolicy [Eng. Bulletin of the Capital’s Reconstruction] PKF 19 Dziennikarze zagraniczni na ulicach zrujnowanej Warszawy [Eng. Foreign journalists on the streets of demolished Warsaw] PKF 34 Remont tramwajów w zakładach Cegielskiego w Poznaniu [Eng. Renovation of trams in Ceglarski factories in Poznan] 1946: PKF 08-09 Konferencja w Biurze Odbudowy Stolicy [Eng. Meeting in BOS] PKF 16 Akademicy porządkują ulice Warszawy [Eng. Students clean streets of Warsaw] PKF 18 Premier przy odbudowie [Eng. Prime Minister at the reconstruction] PKF 19 Organizacje społeczne przy odgruzowywaniu stolicy [Eng. Social work at the clearing of the streets] PKF 28 Generalny dyrektor UNRRY La Guardia z wizytą w Polsce [Eng. General comannder UNRRY La Guardia in Poland] 1947: PKF 30 Warszawa przyszłości [Eng. Warsaw of the future] PKF 31 22 Lipca w Warszawie [Eng. 22nd of July in Warsaw] PKF 38 Odbudowa Warszawy- manifestacja młodzieży [Eng. Warsaw’s Reconstruction- manifestation of the youth] PKF 41 Tydzień Warszawy [Eng. Week of Warsaw] 1948: PKF 40 SFOS PKF 42 Warszawa [Eng. Warsaw] PKF 45 Kolumna Zygmunta [Eng. Zygmunt’s Column] 1949: PKF 29 Warszawska konferencja PZPR [Eng. Warsaw’s Congress PZPR] PKF 30 Czyn lipcowy Warszawy [Eng. July act in Warsaw] PKF 32 Kongres Odbudowy Stolicy [Eng. Congress for reconstruction of the Capital] PKF 48 Zwiedzamy Warszawę [Eng. Visting Warsaw] PKF 49 Na Starym Mieście [Eng. In the Old Town] 1951: PKF 04 W rocznicę wyzwolenia Warszawy [Eng. Anniversary of liberating Warsaw] 1952: PKF 12 Stare Miasto [Eng. Old Town] 1953: PKF 27 Mr. Welsh odkrywa Warszawę [Eng. Mr. Welsh discovers Warsaw] 1956: PKF 36 Stara Warszawa [Eng. Old Warsaw]

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Warsaw reconstruction: architecture, heritage and national identity.  

RIBA Part 1 Dissertation

Warsaw reconstruction: architecture, heritage and national identity.  

RIBA Part 1 Dissertation

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