033 Memorial, Warsaw

Grande Núcleo

Those saved -> to their rescuers

During WWII brave Poles hid and thus saved Jews in camouflaged spaces inside their apartments in cities and in farmhouses in villages. The house was and perceived as a shelter, a place of security – those brave Poles not only opened their houses for strangers but also provided them with refuge. We choose to take the metaphor of this house, its abstraction, as our starting point.

We imagine the memorial like an act of archeology. We wish to reveal and reconstruct the traces of these houses, these places of refuge, as a memory of the bravery and courage of the Poles risking their own lives to save others. In Muranow in particular, such archaeological “excavations” hold yet another meaning since in the reconstruction efforts of the district after WWII, the rubble left from the demolished Ghetto was used as the ground for the new buildings and urban landscape – the ground contains historical remains both metaphorically and literally.

The “revealed” traces of the house will be loaded with a new meaning – they’ll become an inviting place that can house activities of the residents of the district of Muranow as well as visitors. The memorial will not only commemorate the meritorious Poles abut will also contribute to the integration of urban space and the creation of a new dialogue in this symbolically charged place.

We locate the memorial in the south-western part of the site. It is the sole corner that doesn’t house a memorial today. It is close both to the adjacent housing blocks as well as to the existing playgrounds and trees. This location doesn’t compete with the memorial landscape that is located on the east side of the museum and balances the urban composition of remembrance.

The memorial is imagined as an archaeological site, revealing the traces of the typical courtyard houses that once existed in Muranow. The walls become landscape elements, the rooms – spaces for commemoration, contemplation and meeting, the landscape a public space for both residents of Muranow and tourists.

We see the memorial as an integral part of its neighborhood and therefore propose a participatory process engaging the residents during its construction. The details and format of the participation will be planned together with the foundation, the city and local representatives according to the project design principles.

The memorial will become not only a tool evoking the darkest memories, but also producing inspiration and healing. It is not only a monument, but also public space, a house that is not used as a hiding place anymore but as a social place embracing dialogue and hope, a place where memory will be mixed with life.

Warsaw, Poland
Memorial, public activities, gathering space
International Competition, Finalist
Romuald Kruszewski (Local Architect), Atelier Lorincz (Visualizations), Kuba Morkowski (Model)
Date: August 06, 2015