WELCOME TO WARSAW
Nobel Literature Prize winner Isaac Signer, who for a short time had been living at Krochmalna Street, wrote in July 1944 in a New York Yiddish newspaper:
I know that the Jews disappeared from Warsaw, but I cannot truly imagine it. When I see Warsaw in my mind’s eye, I see the old, Jewish Warsaw. I see Jewish streets, vendor’s stalls, synagogues, houses of study, marketplaces, courtyards full of Jewish inhabitants.
He couldn’t imagine for himself the former Jewish streets, always full of bustle and hubbub, as heaps of rubble, but he came to the terrifying conclusion that nothing and almost no one had survived. He couldn’t imagine for himself that a very vital Jewish community had disappeared so suddenly, so dramatically…
Seventy years later, long after the war, the people are walking down the streets again. Day by day they are passing by the glittering facades of new buildings and they are running to get things done, always in a hurry because of traffic or a backlog of cases. It’s a simple message that the city once condemned to obliteration – four-fifths of the city zone was blown out, razed to the ground – and like the mythical Phoenix, it managed to rise from the ashes. But those same people do not see what is invisible and untouchable and what once was here. Signer was absolutely right, Jewish Warsaw ceased to exist, however, if we let his imagination and emotions go free, the vision of things will change. Then someone will not hear the noise around, but he will see the surface. And this one will instinctively feel the real history of hundreds of thousands of individual stories beneath his feet.
This the only way which I know to touch the invisible, the very essence of the Jewish presence in this city. Without emotion, imagination, materials, maps, images, and individual stories it’s not possible to find and comprehend their lost world. A few fragile materials, remnants, monuments, little traces do not narrate the story. That is the reason, and simultaneously the answer, as to why I have decided to create 6 specialist Jewish Warsaw Tours. I would like to share my passion with you and move to that place.