The Promise of the Phoenix
Warschauer Ghetto nach der Zerstörung durch das deutsche Vernichtungskommando, Foto von 1945, Quelle: Leonard Jabrzemski: "Warszawa 1945-1970", Wydawnictwo Sport i Turystyka, Warszawa, 1970, S. 232
The tabula rasa of a city in its early days attracts pioneers, creating a foundation for their dreams; upon the ruins of reality, utopias are born. This is what happened after 1918, when Poland regained its independence and Warsaw became its capital. The second new beginning, and one that is still fresh in the city’s memory, is the year 1945, after “Hitler and Stalin were through with it”, to quote a well-known song by T.Love. Warsaw, reduced to eighty percent rubble, arose like a Phoenix from the ashes (which, incidentally, is the title of a Swiss guidebook to its architecture). Many of its former inhabitants – of whom Warsaw Robinson, the pianist Władysław Szpilman and the Pigeon Lady of the Old Town are symbols – returned to the ruined city, followed by thousands of settlers from the impoverished provinces, lured by the promise of a better life in the modern capital of a just, socialist Poland.