A Phoenix from the Ashes’: Rebirth of a majestic city

The perfect way to capture a memory is by taking photos. But the question is whether it is to remember a happy moment or a moment of sadness. For Warsaw, the capital of Poland, it was the latter which became a symbol of strength and aptitude for the Polish citizens. The exhibition titled ‘A Phoenix from the Ashes – Destruction and Reconstruction of Warsaw 1939-1955’ is all about the city’s journey from ruins to riches.

The photo and documentary film exhibition shows the German invasion of Poland, and the destruction of Warsaw by Hitler which only made its inhabitants’ will to survive stronger.  The photo exhibition and documentary made of archival video footages was a testament of this strong and unbending will.

“The exhibition revisits one of the most critical chapters of Poland’s history, the destruction and reconstruction of Warsaw after World War II”, said the trustee of Liberation War Museum, prominent writer and researcher, Mafidul Haque.

The pictures that have been shown in the exhibition are proof of Nazi brutality towards the Polish capital and her Jewish inhabitants. Pictures of horror among the then residents of Warsaw and how they were treated are also present in the photographs.
Photographs from the time, before the war had started, describe — how important a place Warsaw was. It was a centre for commerce and business. It was also culturally rich and her inhabitants lived an artistic life.

However, after the invasion by the Nazi army, and the systematic destruction of the livelihoods of its inhabitants, the final blow came when Hitler ordered Warsaw to be removed from the face of Earth and a huge amount of bombing followed.

There were several photographs on display at the Art Gallery of the Bishwo Shahitto Kendro (World Literature Centre). One of the most touching ones showed a group of people escorted by a German soldier who were walking towards an infamous ghetto district in the Nazi occupied Warsaw. This was only the beginning of the endless miseries that were to come for the Jewish populous during the World War II.

The most capturing part of the exhibition is the Warsaw Uprising documentary film. According to Aneta Swiecicka, Visual Arts, Design, Literature and Theatre Programmer, Polish Institute New Delhi, “The 87-minute-long documentary film is made completely of restored, colourized archive footage, which shows the Warsaw Uprising in an extremely touching way, and with unparalleled realism.”

This is the story that has been told by witnesses who have seen the story of Warsaw Uprising through their own eyes — a US airman, an escapee from a Nazi concentration camp, and two young reporters.

This unique reconstruction of the city was given its due recognition when Warsaw’s old town was included in the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1980.

Present at the inauguration was Rashedur Rahman, Chairman, Dhaka Bank and Honorary Consul, Republic of Poland in Dhaka. Other guests were Mafidul Haque, trustee of Liberation War Museum, prominent writer and researcher, renowned artist Jamal Ahmed and Ujjal Hossain, Deputy Director, Bishwo Shahitto Kendro (World Literature Centre).
The exhibition was launched on June 26 and will continue till July 6, 2018 from 3:00pm to 8:00pm.