The Journey. (Part 4)
An overwhelming thought to start: there shouldn't be a Warsaw today! Just south of our hotel is a mini-park which contains about 20 large poster-sized photos of Warsaw in 1947. These large double-sided ( approximately 10' by 14') show in full color the total destruction of the city. The Germans were furious at the two uprisings against them and followed the tactics of General Sherman in the Civil War where during his March to the Sea, he destroyed totally everything in his path. Warsaw was totally leveled by bomb, artillery and fire. Rubble abounded. Only a few recognizable outlines of buildings remained. In whole sections of the city, Everything was burned out and destroyed. Everything!
Devastation was total
To see this beautiful city (excepting certain housing blocs inspired by occupying Russians) is amazing. The Old City area and the New Town have been painstakingly put back together looking like it did before the War.
With this as background, let's discuss today's overlong journey. We walked 15.5 miles - the I-Pod pedometer does not lie!
The distance night have been less had anyone known where the newly opened (just a month ago) Museum Of The History Of Jews in Poland was located. The best part of the walk was our discovery of true civilization: Starbucks!
Warsaw likes monuments since they've constructed so many. Along the walk to the place where Jews were sent to the camps, there are numerous marble slabbed mini- monuments naming just some of the victims or those who fought the Nazis.
Eventually, we reached the Museum which isn't quite yet a museum. To date, there are no permanent exhibitions. Just a movie telling you what's coming. We walked across a line printed in gold lettering telling you you've entered the Ghetto. That was rather interesting to say the very least.
Next stop was the Warsaw Cemetery. Huge doesn't convey what we saw. The cemetery houses the remains of more than 250,000 Jews from the last two centuries. Founded in 1806, the fact that it still remains is amazing. Apparently the Nazis didn't choose to destroy this huge repository of our co-religionists. We walked and walked through the cemetery and didn't come close to covering it! Not Surprisingly, the cemetery's graves haven't been really tended to for years. Trees have sprung up everywhere. This reminds me that nowhere in public areas has the grass been cut. Public property is not well kept.
We really tried to get to see the Nozyk Synagogue...twice. Not only weren't we dressed for the wedding at the shul, the security wouldn't let us in wearing shorts. And we thought we looked damn good! So we didn't have an invitation. I've crashed weddings before.
While we waited for the wedding to be over so we could go inside, we went to Mass at Sacred Heart. Unlike what we see at home, the early evening Mass was quite full. Back again to the Nozyk Shul which was a closed! Damn, again!
We visited the last remnant of the Ghetto Wall and were accosted by an elderly gentleman who has kept a book of visitors to this area next this home for over 30 years. The Boy took a while to extricate himself from the older gent who wanted to talk. In fact he was saved by passing the old man on to a young German couple. We then walked back through the Saxon Gardens which houses the tomb of the Polish unknown soldier. Very impressive.
Check my Facebook page for some of the unusual photos I've posted. Dinner in Old Town completed the day.
Filed under: Travel