The Watch

Prózna Street

Warsaw, Poland

1996 World Monuments Watch

The best-preserved remnant of Warsaw’s once densely populated Jewish district consists of four large tenement buildings near Grzybowski Square. Once these buildings housed shops with proprietors’ residences upstairs. Under Nazi occupation, the area was part of the ghetto. After World War II the buildings became city property. As the city of Warsaw rebuilt, those buildings not demolished to make way for ambitious Communist-sponsored urban renewal projects were left to deteriorate as architectural evidence of the so-called decadent, capitalist way of life. Lack of maintenance has rendered the buildings structurally unsound, and the government erected scaffolding around them in 1985 to protect pedestrians. Looting of the interior fittings poses a constant threat. But the buildings, and the essential quality of the area, can still be saved. Complete surveys are the first step in determining the extent of work required to ensure the viability of the buildings. A preservation plan may then be formulated for the entire street.

Since the Watch 

The historic tenement buildings at Nos. 7 and 9 Próżna Street have been extensively renovated. They re-opened in 2014 as offices, retail, and hospitality venues. The annual Singer Festival, Warsaw’s celebration of Jewish culture, has been held in and around Próżna Street and Grzybowski Square since 2004. January 2015

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