Thursday, October 15, 2015

Ulica Twarda 3 exists no more

Numerous houses along Twarda street in Warszawa were hit after Luftwaffes action in September 1939. In the right top of the picture there is a high building of the PAST company at Zielna street. The church (Plac Grzybowski nr. 3-5) with two towers lost its roof but the house next to it, a five-storey building (Plac Grzybowski nr. 7) was fully demolished in the same degree as adjacent houses Twarda 1 and Twarda 3. All bombed by German Luftwaffe at the same air raid.

Twarda 3 exists no more. It was wiped out by the German Luftwaffe during the first week of war in September 1939. The house there my grandparents lived was the second house from the entrance of Twarda 3 in the courtyard. The asterisk * in the picture shows the location of my grandparent balcony (1st floor) in apartment number 79.

Nobody knows nowadays where my grandparents house was. Few things such a trivial thing as their phone number 128 40 and that my grandmothers flowers occupied entire balcony survived in the memory of my "aunt Marysia". Actually unimportant things to remember but it feels somehow nice to know. Otherwise it will just be data from databases on their deportations to Treblinka (Gabriel and Helena Rozental).

I have searched for a picture of the house Twarda 3 for ten years and looked through thousands of photos from Warsaw. I knew that the house was the third from the church. On photographs, the first house to the right (Plac Grzybowski 7) from the church had numbers that belonged to the location itself, and thereafter was no. 1 and 3.

On photographs: Top picture. Prpbably 1938. The first house on the left is Plac Grzybowski 7, close to the church and thereafter on the right is Twarda street no. 1 and 3.
Bottom picture: After September 1939.  Grzybowski Square and the street hard. Probably the end of 1939. Tenement No. 7  Grzybowski Square was dismantled first. Then the demolished houses at Twarda street 1, 3 and 5.
Church of All Saints survived the bombing. The main external damage is "blown away" roof. Inside of the church, however, has been severely damaged. Collapsed vaults resulted in lower church burial. Under the influence of heat the bells melted.

Thanks to the image of the house Plac Grzybowski 7 I could find Twardagatan 1, 3 and 5.

Twarda 3 was the place from where my aunt Sabina rode in a horse-drawn cab adorned for her wedding to the synagogue Nozyka that was on opposite side of the street at Twarda 4. The cab drove several laps around the Grzybowski Square to finally stop in front of the building that was almost directly opposite their house.

The synagogue is the only synagogue in Warsaw that survived the war. During the war it was used by the Germans as stables for the army horses and magazines.

The Germans changed the name of the Twarda street to Querstrasse. After the war, it didn’t get the name Twarda back but was instead named Krajowej Rady Narodowej, a Polish left-organization that would be an agency for the left and liberal-oriented political parties.

Finally in 1970, the part of the street where my grandparents lived changed name back to Twarda, Hard. The name of the street was that it was a main road in the swamp region, the only one who had a hard coating and therefore was navigable in all seasons. Later on, the electric tram No. 20 rode along Twardagatan to Plac Grzybowski.

We never went "officially" to Twarda street as children.  Why? Sometimes I went with my father to Bagno street (swamp) where there was trade in iron, water faucets and the like.
Although it was only 100 m to Twarda Street number 3 we never went there. 
First it was only an empty lot behind a wooden fence. Later we actually went there with my onkel, Janusz Zarzycki to former Twarda 3, It was when he drove his mother home. She lived in the new apartment house at Emilii Plater street, exactly at the same spot where my grandparents and my mother lived. My mother and father that were in the car never comment on it. Why?

The only thing that my Dad sometimes repeated was a verse (his own)
Wokół Cała Ziemia drży,
idzie Twarda numer trzy

Around the whole earth trembles
Here comes Twarda (hard) number three

It was about my mother!