My wanderings in the Polish capital at the beginning of July 2010 ended up taking me to the former ghetto area. In a large square near Zamenhof street, surrounded by communist blocks erected on the rubble piles of the old Jewish houses, we can see the colossal monument dedicated to the heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto, designed by the sculptor Nathan Rappaport and inaugurated in the 1980s by the communist authorities.
In the spring of 1943, the Warsaw Ghetto uprising was brutally suppressed by the Nazi army, who slaughtered more than 13,000 Jews during the successful operation of annihilation of that part of the town. Most of the 50,000 remaining Jews were captured and shipped to the unimaginable extermination camp of Treblinka.
Some say that, ironically, the material used by the sculptor has previously been commissioned by the Nazis in order to build a monument to the expected German victory.
A few meters from the tragic memorial, behind fences, we can see the ongoing construction of the ambitious Museum of the History of Polish Jews, due to open its doors in 2012.
In the square that houses Rappaport's colossus, dotted by small black marble monuments around adjacent streets and celebrating, in Polish and Hebrew, different personalities, places and moments of this macabre story, older people sat quietly on benches under the weekend sunshine, while residents of the neighborhood walked their dogs over the buried rubble, amidst ghosts whose piercing screams guided my steps.