Warsaw, Poland (photo: Gosia Glowacka, 22.08.2014)
A white elm – the witness to human suffering, heroism and crime – was the only thing that kept standing, apart from a fragment of the gate, when the Nazis blew up the Pawiak prison in Warsaw on August 21st 1944. The first plaques with the names of victims, nailed by the family members directly to the tree’s bark, started appearing in early 1945. In 1984 the tree died as the result of Dutch Elm Disease. In 1992-1993 it was preserved, by means of saturating the upper part with chemical preservatives and securing the roots with a concrete rebar structure. Smaller branches were trimmed. A special hoop was made to which the board with plaques was affixed. Thanks to these means the tree kept standing for another 11 years. In 2004 three conservation expert committees declared the tree unsalvageable and decided to replace it with a bronze copy.
The rendition of this unique monument was financed by the City of Warsaw and the Office of the Marshall of the Mazovian Voivoship. The work was executed at the 200- year old Machinery Works in Gliwice*, experienced in technical and artistic casts. The masters of the tradecreated an original and beautiful sculpture combining historical value with high artistry. It was also in Gliwice that they made a new railing surrounding the monument, which again supported the plaques revitalized in the workshop of Sławomir Szubko. He carefully recreated the shapes, colors and the lettering of the originals.
On June 8th 2005 the Monument of the Pawiak Tree was unveiled.
(Source: “Niepodległość i pamięć”, issue 22/2006)
*Gliwickie Zakłady Urządzeń Technicznych S.A.
Hey you – the historically ignorant, who have never read a 500-page book but deem yourself experts on history,
And you – pseudo-intellectuals, educated at renowned universities, who thoughtlessly swallow every piece of pulped and twisted historical data, serving one political option,
And you – hooligans with shaved heads who instead of brains have baseball bats and fists which supposedly gives you world power, though you don’t even know who Copernicus was
All of you who deny help to victims of wars and persecutions, who use racist slogans, burn the effigies representing other nations, use Nazi salutes trying to emulate one of the worst murderers of 20th century
I’m talking to you – come to Pawiak, connect to the place of human tragedy, experience the police beating… Instead of marching in the so-called Independence March where you imitate the oppressors of your own nation from WWII and desecrate the memory of the freedom fighters who shed blood fighting for Poland’s liberation and those who were murdered as political prisoners – go back to school because you are a disgrace to our beautiful country.