Project Update: 6/23/17

The following image is one of my favorite photographs that I’ve come across in my research and one I want to use in my project:

(Photo by Hank Walker/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

This image shows the Rapoport Monument to Ghetto Heroes in Warsaw, Poland in 1948. I love this image for quite a few reasons. The ruins are what is most evident in this photo. But someone with no background to this monument or this image might assume that it withstood whatever caused the rubble around it. It is not obvious from a first glance what this monument symbolizes or what it was built for.

This monument was actually built immediately after the end of the World War II by Nathan Rapoport, in honor of the Jewish men and women that were a part of and died in the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. The area where this memorial was built is called Muranow, a neighborhood where many Warsaw Jews lived before the war and where the Warsaw Ghetto was established during the war. This region was completely destroyed during World War II, leaving nearly thirty feet of rubble covering the entire region.

For this reason, this monument is even more remarkable. It is one of the first monuments to the Holocaust that I know of that was built in Poland after the war. It was built and established before Warsaw could even be repaired. This region did not have homes, or theaters, or restaurants, but it did have this memorial.

Today, the site is unrecognizable, except for this monument. Muranow has been built around this monument ever since the end of the war.

This monument is really a unique example of post-war monuments in Poland. When used in comparison with other monuments built in Poland post-World-War-II, this monument could be a fascinating way to understand memory in the post-war period. It shows a complicated aspect of memory…the new memorial in stark contrast to the ruins of Jewish life in Poland. I am excited to use in my project!

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