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Poland: Pawiak Prison Museum

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Pawiak Prison Museum > Poland > Europe

[Visited: April 2002]

In between typically ugly 1950s appartment blocks lies a large one floor building. This is the site of Pawiak Prison, or rather, the largely restored remains of it. With most of the rest of Warsaw, the prison was completely razed to the ground by German forces in 1944. A dead tree holding commemorative plaques at the entrance is a telling sign.

Picture of Pawiak Prison Museum (Poland): Pawiak prison, Warsaw

Pawiak prison saw around 100 000 people (around ten percent of Warsaw's population) arrive, be executed at the spot or deported to one of the concentration camps in use by Nazi Germany. It has become a symbol of resistance and struggle of the Varsovians against a foreign power, as well as their martyrdom.

Picture of Pawiak Prison Museum (Poland): Tree with commemorative plaques, Pawiak, Warsaw

The remains of the basement of the prison are now converted to a museum. One part is an exhibition about life in prison, and it radiates the determination of the Polish people to fight the Nazis, to fight for their freedom, even though they were imprisoned in a place that knew no exit other than deportation to a concentration camp. The other part is a corridor with a few bare cells and their stories. It is surely a relief to step outside into the light after having been even one hour inside the dark place. At least the visitor can get out.

Picture of Pawiak Prison Museum (Poland): Commemorative plaques at Pawak, Warsaw
Picture of Pawiak Prison Museum (Poland): Entry to Pawak Prison, Warsaw
Picture of Pawiak Prison Museum (Poland): Memorial for fallen at Pawiak prison, Warsaw

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