The cheapest flight that we found for Tel – Aviv was with a stop in Warsaw, I took it as a sign because we wanted to understand different perspectives of this conflict. We had enough time to visit The Warsaw Uprising Museum which I totally recommend for its various ways of presenting History in very interactive ways. It was valuable for us to start our investigation by remembering how the WW II started and what were the consequences of the Nazi ideology in the collective memory of Jewish people but also of polish people even though they weren’t targeted by Holocaust.
A big lesson for me in this museum was that it’s so easy for us to teach History by pointing sides, but there are so many situations when people don’t respect the historical sides and are just humans. One example was given by Hungarian soldiers that were helping polish citizens to escape from Warsaw even though they were Germany’s allies. I was lucky to have Anna, my colleague from Hungary, next to me to read me a letter about this collaboration during the occupation of Warsaw.
The Museum has diverse exhibits over several floors, containing photographs, audio and video, interactive displays, artifacts, written accounts, and other testimonies of how life was during the German occupation of Warsaw, the uprising, and its aftermath. There are displays dedicated to each district of Warsaw. There are many free informative leaflets and flyers (in Polish and English), including 63 calendar pages covering the dates from 1 August 1944 to 2 October 1944— each containing a summary of the most important events that took place on that particular day of the uprising.
One of the exhibitions is a Printshop: a room containing original typewriters and printing equipment used for producing underground newspapers during the German occupation. Here we met Henryk, a 95 years-old man full of good energy and with a spark in his eyes that made me stop to listen to him without understanding anything of his words in polish. Another nice visitor helped me to understand him and I found out that he was working in the print shop when the war started, he was arrested by Gestapo and released by the Americans. He remembers how the war started and I could have seen the pain of his memories but still despite everything that he witnessed, he has a special way to transmit optimism and joy. I invite you to meet him in this museum, in the printing room exhibition, where he is still sharing his experience, you’ll be happy after this meeting.