Fascinating new map graphically illustrates devastation Warsaw suffered in WWII
A “destruction inventory” map of Warsaw detailing each individual building has been made available online, graphically illustrating the vast level damage meted out to the city during the Second World War.
Made by city authorities in 1945-46 with a painstaking attention to detail, the map, where it can, carries the outline of each individual building, colour coded according to the level of destruction it endured.
In doing so it provides viewers with a fascinating and disturbing record of how Warsaw looked when the guns fell silent in 1945.
Many of the sites of the buildings, for example, are marked with an ominous black border. Standing for “completely destroyed” most of the Old Town’s buildings and the Royal Castle are outlined in black.
Along Krakowskie Przedmieście and Nowy Świat most of the buildings, except those marked in black, have a red border for “building completely burnt out”.
The red-bordered outlines spread out across the city centre, and down dozens of streets with the only interruptions coming from the outlines of buildings marked as “burnt” or “burnt to a significant degree”.
But the cartographers’ attempt to record the state of every building floundered on the area that was once the Jewish Ghetto.
Subjected to ferocious fighting during the war and astronomical levels of destruction, the area is marked as a wasteland with the to-the-point legend “Rubble terrain, was the Ghetto” recorded on the map.
In complete contrast Warsaw’s right-bank of the Wisła shows little sign of war damage.
Most of the buildings are marked in solid black, indicating that they are “undamaged”, as do some areas isolated pockets on left bank such as Stara Ochota.
The map can be found here.