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Plac Grzybowski

Plac Grzybowski
Grzybowski Square
#About the Square that Revived Jewish Life

Grzybowski Square (Plac Grzybowski) was established in the 17th century, where the junction between the government fortress and the rural community surrounding it was located, and the old center of Warsaw. Later on, in the 17th century it became a market square and in the 18th century a square in the city of Warsaw, to which it was annexed. At that time, the municipality building was also built there and the building was built in the square. In the middle of the 19th century, Jewish merchants began to enter the square and open shops and residents.

At the beginning of the 20th century, electric-powered streetcars arrived and lighting was added. Progress also brought about a change in the appearance of the square and the evacuation of the market to another square. This was before World War II when the square became the center of Jewish life in the city. Here was the Jewish market, where the Jews of the city came to buy the things they needed before the holidays, like a chicken before Yom Kippur or the fruits for Sukkot.

When the Jewish Ghetto was created, during the Nazi occupation of Warsaw, the square was included within the boundaries of the small Ghetto. Here, too, stands the Church of the Assumption of Mary, which served the converts in the Ghetto, Jews who converted to Christianity in the past, but the Nazis saw them as Jews and put them in the Ghetto. Nazi racial theory, it should be noted, regarded Judaism as a race, that it was impossible to change, and not a religion, that it could be changed. Therefore, the change of religion did not change the fate of the converts.

Today, Grzybowski Square is still paved with stones and has not undergone significant changes since the war.

In 1941, when the Nazis liquidated the small Ghetto, the square remained closed to the citizens of Warsaw, and when the Polish underground uprising broke out in 1944, it became part of the area of ​​battle. When the underground was defeated, the Germans destroyed and burned the western part of the square, the Arona Serdynera Jewish Synagogue and the church where the rebels had barricaded themselves.



A Closer Look at the Square that was Once the Center of Jewish Life in the City:

https://youtu.be/uAoqPFom3k4
Grzybowski Square
All Saints Church
#About the Church that Converted Jews

During the Nazi era, the remaining churches in the area of the Jewish ghetto, to which the Nazis forced the Jews to move to, served the converted Jews who lived in the ghetto. There were Jews who left Judaism in the past and converted to Christianity, but from the Nazi point of view they were Jews for all intents and purposes. This is because Nazi ideology saw Judaism as a race, and a race cannot be changed.

There were two converted churches in the Jewish Ghetto where they prayed during the Holocaust. The two converted churches in the Jewish Ghetto were large and impressive. One of them was the "All Saints Church" (Kościół Wszystkich). This church served part of the converted Jews in the Ghetto and the other, in Grzybowski Square, was the Church of the Birth of Mary, located on one of the bustling streets of the Jewish Quarter. But the relations between the converts and the Jews in the ghetto, it is important to remember, were not simple. Their hatred towards Judaism was great. According to testimonies from this period, the children of Janusz Korczak's orphanage asked in a letter to the priest of the church to visit the garden of the church, but he refused them. It was the only garden in the Ghetto.


#Church of the Birth of Mary

In the Jewish Ghetto, the Church of the Birth of Mary was placed in Grzybowski Square, in favor of those who converted from Judaism and wanted to fulfill their Christian commandments.

The Nazi anti-Semitic ideology in its modern incarnation saw Judaism as no longer a "religion," but a biological race, and even those who converted from Judaism remained Jewish.

At the end of World War II, the structure of the church was damaged and partially destroyed, mainly by the wounds sustained by the Germans during the heroic uprising of the Polish underground in 1944.

Over the years, the church has been relocated to make way for the expansion of a road. In a complex engineering operation in which the foundations of the structure were sawed, the church was moved 17 meters from its place, on a rail that was installed to drag it into its new location and connect it to new foundations.



#Who Were the Converts?

The converts were a special victim of Nazi racial theory and its distorted logic. They were Jews who had left Judaism in the past and became Christians. Among them were renowned scientists and doctors such as Professor Ludwik Zamenhof-Zaleski, the grandson of the inventor of the Esperanto language and the famous immunologist - Professor Ludwig Hirschfeld.

Even if one does not agree with those who have decided to leave the Jewish faith and become Christians, or atheists who declare themselves non-Jewish, even if there is a bad taste in the open hostility shown by some of them to the Jews, it is hard not to be surprised by the Nazi cruelty towards them.

That the Nazis saw biology as the only thing that defines the Jew. With Jews who converted, they viewed them as Jews in every way, and therefore all the decrees and deportation fell on them - whether it was the Ghetto or the death camps.

This was the Nazi anti-Semitism, the same anti-Semitism of thousands of years, but in a new incarnation, fascist and racist without shame, anti-Semitism that says that Judaism is no longer a "religion," but a biological race in every respect.

Thus the converts were forced into the Ghetto, under the Nazis' bayonets. More than 2,000 converts were living in the Warsaw Ghetto. Against their will and despite their alienation from the Jews from which they fled, they found themselves sharing the same fate with the Jewish people to whom they had renounced.

Still, even when they were in the Ghetto, the converts hoped for German disillusionment and a special status that would enable them to leave the ghetto, to freedom, to the bulk of Warsaw. It did not happen.


#A Closer Look at the Church of the converted on Łazienki Street:

https://youtu.be/v_uYB-4BR6E


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