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Posted by
1996 posts

Thank you for the interesting article, it gives a good overview of the intricacies that went into rebuilding Warsaw. Though I must strongly disagree with calling Warsaw's old town "Fake" by the article. "Fake" implies that something is inauthentic, when on the contrary the article demonstrates just how authentically the old town was rebuilt, using the same bricks and stones many times, no less.

Posted by
4606 posts

Interesting article, having been to Poland in 1989.
I am a student of history and lived in Germany (working for the US Army) from 87-91. We took a week long bus tour of Poland in 1989 that included most of the major cities in that country. I purchased books with photos of those cities after WWII.
Cites like Warsaw were virtually and totally destroyed in the war. Our guides there told us that it was rare for a building in that city that was not destroyed or seriously damaged. The one city in Poland that was not seriously bombed or damaged was Krakow. Also, parts of Gdansk were not damaged.

According to the article the "Old Town" was rebuilt as much as possible as it was prior to the war. Many cities in Europe, especially Germany tried to do this as well. The Frauen Kirche, or cathedral in Munich was rebuilt with its original stone. It is as original as can be. Cites like Nurenburg, Munich, Cologne, Berlin, Hamburg, all sustained tremendous damages with Cologne and Berlin being much like Warsaw. The famous Cologne Cathedral was one building that didn't sustain much damage, although allied bomber personnel said that they generally didn't try to save the Cathedral, it is likely that they did.

I lived in Augsburg and about half of the buildings in that city were destroyed or seriously damaged. The famous city hall burned, but its very thick walls survived and the building was rebuilt within those walls to be almost identical to the original.

If you go to the Great Wall of China that dates back to the third century BC you will be told that the wall was damaged and repaired over the centuries. During the Ming dynasty 5-600 years ago the wall was repaired to its original strength, perhaps more.
Also, since then, I am sure that maintenance of the wall has required substantial work.

I suppose it is a philosophical matter as to how old are such structures. Even great works of art are repaired, such as the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican was cleaned and restored by Japanese firms about 30 years ago. I have seen the Sistine Chapel before and after the restoration and would consider the restored work to be the original.

Posted by
2054 posts

Thank you for the interesting article, it gives a good overview of the intricacies that went into rebuilding Warsaw. Though I must strongly disagree with calling Warsaw's old town "Fake" by the article. "Fake" implies that something is inauthentic, when on the contrary the article demonstrates just how authentically the old town was rebuilt, using the same bricks and stones many times, no less.

So many places in Europe have followed that same approach, and it is very impressive. The old bridge in Mostar looks like it was never touched, but Serb gunners destroyed it during the 3rd Balkans war. An Italian company pulled the stones up out of the river and they rebuilt it from the same stones.

Same with the Frauenkirche in Dresden. Flattened in WWII in the fire bombing, it was rebuilt from as much original stone as could be found.

Posted by
10344 posts

Mention of the Warsaw Ghetto reminds me of my visit in the 1990's to Lohamei HaGeta'ot kibbutz located just south of the Lebanon border (very northern Israel). This kibbutz was founded by, among other groups, survivors of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising. The day I visited was Israel's Holocaust Remembrance Day, a commemoration of which was held in the kibbutz amphitheater where the President of Israel (not the PM) spoke on national TV. This was during the First Intifada and the kibbutz is only a few miles from Israel's northern border, so there was heavy military security around the amphitheater; and it was striking that virtually all young men attending the commemoration, whether in uniform or jeans, were armed--for example, all the young men sitting in front of me were in civvies but each had a handgun stuffed in the back of his jeans).