Built in the 1830s to serve as a Tsarist prison, Pawiak came to the fore during WWII when it slipped into the hands of the Gestapo. During the Nazi occupation it became the largest political prison in Poland and saw over 100,000 inmates pass through its gates. Of this number over 37,000 were executed within the grounds, while a further 60,000 were transported to extermination camps. Subterranean cells designed to house three people were often crammed with up to 18 prisoners. Dynamited during the German retreat, Pawiak has been restored as a memorial to all those who suffered inside, and now houses haunting photo displays, prisoner belongings and reconstructed cells all explained in Polish, English and German. A mangled tree, preserved after the war, stands outside the gates bedecked with obituary notices dating from 1944. Guided tours available in English for 60zł, max group size 25-30. Call in advance to arrange.
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Open 10:00 - 17:00. Sat, Sun 10:00 - 16:00, Closed Mon, Tue.
Last entrance 30 minutes before closing.
Admission 10/5zł, Thu free.