Building that survived WWII given listed monument status
A building that survived the Warsaw Uprising has been added to the register of monuments, a reminder of the city’s pre-war elegance and its dramatic history since then.
The building at 126 Chmielna Street, not far from the Central Railway Station, is one of a small number in that part of town that survived the war and the decades since then.
It is not only a rare reminder of what central Warsaw looked like before the war, but also bears the scars of the city’s 20th century history.
Jakub Lewicki, the conservator of monuments in the region in central Poland that includes Warsaw said: “I have decided to add the tenement house located in Warsaw at ul. Chmielna 126 along with the property’s territory to the list of monuments in Mazowsze region, due to its preserved artistic, historical and scientific values.”
The decision means that the building will continue to remind Warsaw’s residents and visitors of what the city looked like before the war – and help them imagine life there, both during the fighting of the Warsaw Uprising and in times of peace.
Built at the end of the 19th century, the building had shops or services on the ground floor and apartments upstairs.
From 1900, it was owned by a man called Józef Bakiel (Backiel). During the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, insurgent units operated in the surrounding area, including the “Chrobry II” group, which was fighting for control of the nearby Postal Station.
Although the station no longer exists, it continues to play an important role in stories and photos of the Uprising.
After the war, the building became part of the State Treasury’s property. The plaster and remaining architectural details on its façade were removed in the 1960s, which is how it got is current raw, red-brick appearance.
Despite years of neglect, the building remains a valuable example of residential architecture in Warsaw around the year 1900.
Inside, some original features remain, including the decor of the main staircase, which includes ceramic floors and a metal balustrade.