KRAKOW – Poland’s Ministry of Culture will soon decide whether to demolish the
historical building of the Jewish community in Warsaw to build a skyscraper in
its place. The surprising and unexpected detail in the story is that the request
to demolish the building, which stands in the middle of the former Jewish ghetto
in Warsaw, came from Jewish leaders.
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After World War II, having survived
the bombardment by the German army, the white building on 6 Twarda Street in
Warsaw, became a symbol of renewed Jewish life in Poland and a meeting place for
Holocaust survivors and members of the Polish Jewish community.
press conference in 2007, Poland’s Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich and Piotr
Kadlcik, president of the Union of Jewish Communities in Poland, announced plans
to build a skyscraper 208 meters high containing up to 60 floors near the Nozyk
Synagogue, in the center of the former Jewish ghetto. This grandiose plan
provoked outrage among Jewish organizations and Holocaust survivors around the
world who argued that the project would harm the unique character of the ghetto
and put the old synagogue, one of the few buildings in Warsaw that survived the
Nazi bombings, in its shadow.