Return PolishForums LIVE
  PolishForums Archive :
Archives - 2005-2009 / History  % width 14


ryanluke 2 | 4  
27 Jan 2008 /  #1
Hello all,

Does anyone know of any good sites or books, or have any good information about pre war (ww2) Warsaw before its destruction?
There is a fantastic site: , yet unfortunately I don't speak Polish.

I am mainly interested in Maps (I have one rudimentary map), clearly identified Photographs of locations (mainly city centre, stare miasto etc.) Info on public buildings and landmark buildings etc. Neighbourhoods. City life. Shopping. Entertainment. Restaurants. Food etc.

Mainly about the actual geography and feel of the pre ww2 city. What would be ideal is a kind of 'Dorling Kindersley Travel Guide' style book of pre ww2 Warsaw, but I'm living in fantasy land here I think!

I know there is a plethora of Polish publications on the subject, yet I don't know of any translated or English publications?

Information on the rest of pre ww2 Poland also welcome.

Also, does anyone know if shop opening was restricted on Sundays during the 1930's? I would assume so, but were non christian traders exempt?

Help greatly appreciated. A demanding subject I know!
plk123 8 | 4,148  
27 Jan 2008 /  #2
Also, does anyone know if shop opening was restricted on Sundays during the 1930's?

restricted? i dunno but many still aren't open on Sunday. poles are catholics.
isthatu 3 | 1,164  
27 Jan 2008 /  #3
a very large population of warsaw in 1939 wasnt though was it plk...
OP ryanluke 2 | 4  
29 Jan 2008 /  #4
Yes, thanks.

Understanding Sunday trading, I mainly was wondering how strict it was in Warsaw at the time, and what exceptions there were if any. ie. were newsagents allowed to open for an hour or so for sunday papers and cigarettes? Were non - christian traders exempt?

Back on the main subject, any more info on pre ww2 Warsaw? Greatly appreciated.

Thanks for the replies!
z_darius 14 | 3,968  
29 Jan 2008 /  #5
As you know, about 90% of Warsaw was destroyed during WW2 and that included most architectural documentation. The city's rebuilding effort was in a large part based on drawings and paintings of Bernardo Bellotto (Canaletto):,_il_Canaletto
polishcanuck 7 | 462  
2 Feb 2008 /  #6
This is a good site with maps and pictures. You can see the before and after of many buildings, locations, streets, and neighborhoods.

Nice little intro too:
Danka - | 1  
4 Feb 2008 /  #7
I can recommend you two very interesting books about pre-war Warsaw.

The first one - entitled "An illustrated atlas of old Warsaw" by Robert Marcinkowski, Publisher - HATTO 2005. It is composed of two parts - a cartographical one (tables containing the plans of old Warsaw) and a descriptive-iconographical one.

The second book - bilinqual: polish-english "The Warsaw of yesteryear" by Olgierd Budrewicz with photographs from the collection of the National Museum in Warsaw.

In both publications there are hundreds of photos of bygone Warsaw with corresponding descriptions.
OP ryanluke 2 | 4  
4 Feb 2008 /  #8
Thank you all so much for the replies! This is great info.

Thankyou polishcanuck for the site link, I'm wading through it bit by bit with an online Polish translation thingamebob, but it is definately woth it - it's all fantastic, and my Polish is improving as a by product which can't be bad!

Thank you z_darius for the Belloto links - great visual help.

And Danka - Those books are exactly what I was hoping to find, Thank you awfully! I am on the hunt to track down copies right now. Any heads up and I'm all ears!

Please do continue suggestions as I need as rich and varied an impression of old Warsaw (between the world wars) as possible. Info in English is even more fantastic as I have no Polish, though I will try my best with rudimentary translation if needed!

Thanks again! Post away.
adik - | 1  
23 Apr 2008 /  #9
Does anybody know this place ? The photo probably taken in Warsaw at 1930s.But it is not for sure.
link to photo is here
Jukrek - | 58  
9 May 2008 /  #10

Przedwojenne tango, przedwojenna Warszawa (1937)

Warsaw City...a little New York City in the heart of Europe - Warsaw 2008

New Warsaw City Movie (New York state of mind)

and future some of them have been finished and we have them. Some works are in progress.
swiggsy 1 | 4  
30 May 2008 /  #11
not exactly an answer to your question, but something that might interest you if you're aware of it already - cafe prozna (on ul. Prozna of course) has loads of really great books dating from pre-WWII about Warsaw. some, amazingly, are in English. secondly, when I was there on a sunday evening, there was a lecture/slide show being held on pre-war Warsaw.... unfortunately in Polish, but still damn good. not sure if this is a regualr thing or not mind.
Lukasz 49 | 1,746  
6 Jun 2008 /  #12
yes pre - WWII Warszawa was amiazing city. Hopefuly after very boring architectulay communism and 90s, we have some interesting projects to give some of pre WWII charm for our capital.
SlavicWarrior - | 6  
6 Jun 2008 /  #13
I doubt that Warsaw will have any interesting projects, but I guess it all depends what you are looking for. I don't consider modern art to be real art and I don't consider modern architecture to be reflective of the European soul. I am a big fan of neo-classical architecture and I think that such projects will not be undertaken in Warasaw anymore. Most of the great neo-classical structures and buildings were destroyed in this last fratricidal war of Europeans fighting Europeans.
bimber94 7 | 254  
18 Apr 2009 /  #14
Some old lady from Warsaw told me that squares in prewar Warsaw weren't square but round (called rounds?). That would exclude the one in the old town I surmise.

Archives - 2005-2009 / History / WARSAW 1939. BETWEEN THE WARSArchived