Around Us a Sea of Fire. The Fate of Jewish Civilians During the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

Apr 18 - Jan 8 2024       ul. Anielewicza 6

A powerful and emotional exhibition, organized in cooperation with the Holocaust Research Center, commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the heroism and tragedy of the capital's Jewish civilians that defied the enemy until the very end.

Jews led to Umschlagplatz during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
Photos taken clandestinely by Zbigniew Leszek Grzywaczewski, April 1943
SOURCE: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Courtesy of Howard Kaplan
The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising is often associated with the capital's remaining Jewish population heroically taking up arms against the occupying Germans in 1943. Whilst such brave actions were certainly made, we mustn't forget, however, that the individuals that sat quietly in hidden shelters, in direct defiance of their occupier's orders, were people who should be considered in the same heroic light as their brothers and sisters in arms. It's these two types of individuals that are revealed in the exhibition "Around Us a Sea of Fire. The Fate of Jewish Civilians During the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising".
Łazarz Menes
(before WW2 Józef Menes)
SOURCE: Family Archive
Krystyna Budnicka
SOURCE: Krystyna Budnicka,
Family Archive
Sewek Okonowski
(before WW2 Aurora Latarullo)
SOURCE: Family Archive

The exhibition's first half - In a bunker - aims to recreate daily life in a Ghetto bunker, in particular, the conditions that people lived in and how they coped with their daily routines and basic physiological needs. This bunker section recreates the 'physical' reality of being confined to a bunker - the darkness, the heat coming from burning buildings, the lack of space and clean air, the sounds that were often the only indication of what was happening on the ground level. Balancing these aspects out are the relationships of people who shared close quarters, as well as their feelings and emotions, and the dichotomy between fear, panic, hopelessness, and abandonment, inversely partnered by the need for love and intimacy, the urge to act and take responsibility for others.

Smoke over the burning ghetto
Photo taken by Bogdan Wójcik
from a flat at 25 Mickiewicza St,
25–26 April 1943
The second half of the exhibition - In the face of death - is devoted to the time in history that the events of 1943 took place, the themes of which still remain in question in today’s world - How do we behave in the face of death? Where is the line between struggling to survive and surrendering? What do people feel when they are excluded from society and experience indifference or disdain? Many people in the ghetto described themselves as "drowning", devoid of any hope of the possibility of rescue. How do we oppose evil, and how do we combat it? What is indifference and where does it lead us? Do we feel ashamed when we witness the suffering of others?

  The exhibition "Around Us a Sea of Fire. The Fate of Jewish Civilians During the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising" has been realised through the testimonies of Jews who hid in the bunkers both in the ghetto area as well as on the "Aryan" side of the occupied Polish capital. Because of the immolation of the Ghetto and the destruction of daily objects and keepsakes, written words have acquired a particularly important role in the exhibition. Not only do they convey the feelings and experiences of their authors, but they also constitute a unique testimony, and often the only tangible trace left behind by those who perished in the ghetto.

"Around Us a Sea of Fire. The Fate of Jewish Civilians During the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising" is exhibiting at Warsaw's POLIN Museum from 18.04.2023 until 8.01.2024.




Open 09:00-18:00. Sat 10:00-20:00, Closed Tue. Apr 18 2023 - Jan 8 2024
POLIN Museum
ul. Anielewicza 6

Price/Additional Info

Admission 30/25zł.


www.polin.pl/ www.facebook.com/polinmuseum
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