81st anniversary of the closing of the Warsaw Ghetto borders

The Warsaw Ghetto Museum invites you to the official celebration of the 81st anniversary of the closing of the Warsaw Ghetto borders.


The isolation of the Jewish population introduced by the German occupiers was an essential part of the anti-Semitic policy of the Third Reich. In Warsaw – the capital of Jewish life in Europe – it was decided in the spring of 1940 to build walls around the so-called Northern District, the part of the city inhabited mainly by Jews. In the language of German propaganda, it was designated a Seuchensperrgebiet, i.e., a typhus-prone area. The sixteen-kilometer-long wall was supposed to protect the capital’s population from an epidemic. In fact, it marked the boundaries of a newly created city – the City Behind the Wall, where some 450,000 people were crammed under duress in the center of Warsaw. The city’s borders were closed on the night of November 15-16, 1940.

The Warsaw Ghetto Museum, in cooperation with the Social and Cultural Society of Jews in Poland, has prepared a series of events and publications depicting the reality of the city divided overnight and the reality of the lives of its inhabitants.


November 16

On the 81st anniversary of the closing of the Warsaw Ghetto borders, Albert Stankowski, Director of the Warsaw Ghetto Museum, and the President of the Social and Cultural Society of Jews in Poland, Artur Hofman, invite you to a candle lighting ceremony at the Ghetto Wall. Afterwards, candles will be lit at 21 locations on the symbolic borders of the ghetto.

location: XII H. Sienkiewicz High School at ul. Sienna 53
time: 13.00

Due to security precautions related to the pandemic, the number of participants in this event is limited. The ceremony will be broadcast on the websites: www.1943.pl and on the social profiles of the organisers.


The events will be accompanied by the social campaign “City Behind the Wall”. Throughout November, posters and video clips will be placed in public spaces and communications. The honorary patron of the campaign is the President of the capital city of Warsaw, Rafał Trzaskowski.

“City Behind the Wall”

The artistic video installation by Karolina fender Noińska // jajkofilm consists of archive photos showing the inhabitants of the Warsaw Ghetto. The figures depicted on them appear on the façade of Majer Wolanowski’s flat building at Próżna 14 St., which in 1940 was located within the boundaries of the so-called Jewish residential quarter. The project aims to make the viewer reflect on the fate of the Warsaw Ghetto and its inhabitants. In a way, the choice of one of the few inselbergs recalls the tragic end of the ghetto uprising, when almost the entire area was razed to the ground. Faced with the destruction of almost all evidence of their former presence, the inhabitants of the city behind the wall are reminded of their history during a weekly video installation.

location: Majer Wolanowski’s flat building at Próżna 14 St., Grzybowski Square
time: 16.11 – 23.11 / 2021, 17: 30-22.00
premiere screening: 16.11 at 17:30



“City of the Living / City of the Dead” an open-air exhibition on the occasion of the 81st anniversary of the closing of the Warsaw Ghetto borders

location: fence of the former Bersohn and Bauman Hospital, Sienna 60 St/Śliska 51 St
time: 16.11.2021 – 07.2022

“City of the Living / City of the Dead” is a photographic project by Robert Wilczyński. It consists of 20 panels hung on the fence of the former Bersohn and Bauman Hospital. By combining archival photographs from the ghetto area (from the collections of the Warsaw Ghetto Museum) with images of present-day Warsaw, the artist reveals the city’s past, seemingly irretrievably lost. In view of the extermination of almost the entire Jewish community of Warsaw during the World War II and the destruction of its cultural heritage, the past pre-war world appears in the photographs in the form of fleeting traces of the present. They permeate the contemporary urban fabric like ghosts anchored in a city that no longer exists, demanding remembrance of its history. The photographs are accompanied on the panels by selected source texts. These are taken, for example, from diaries and records made in the Warsaw Ghetto, documenting the lives and deaths of its inhabitants in the years 1940-1942.

Curator of the exhibition: Dr. Paweł Freus

The exhibition will also be available online on the website.

“People, Places, Events – Bersohn and Bauman Hospital”

The second edition of the cyclical project “The Warsaw Ghetto. People, Places, Events” was dedicated to the Bersohn and Bauman Children’s Hospital, the headquarters of the WGM, and the doctors who worked there: Anna Braude-Hellerowa, Teodozja Goliborska-Gołąb, Henryk Makower, Anna Margolis, Adina Blady-Szwajger. We would like to present the history of the institution from its foundation in the 1870s to the tragic end of its activity in the ghetto during the so-called Great Deportation Action to the Treblinka extermination camp. The premiere of the second part of the project coincides with the 81st anniversary of the closing of the Warsaw Ghetto’s borders, of which the Museum has decided to dedicate a part to the ghetto’s health care system. For those who, in the face of the inevitable holocaust, tried everything to save lives.

Project coordinator: Joanna Bakoń

Start: November 2021


“Opening the Silence”

The presented film is the culmination of a long-term project of the Education Department of the Warsaw Ghetto Museum, aimed at secondary schools located in the former ghetto. The aim of this initiative was to reconstruct the past place where the school is located today. For this purpose, the memories of contemporary witnesses, iconography as well as written sources – archival, scientific and journalistic or personal documents – were used. “Opening the Silence” was created in cooperation with the students and teachers of the XVII Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski High School with bilingual sections in Warsaw. After the screening of the film and discussion with its makers, we invite you to a meeting over coffee and tea.

location: FINA National Film Archive – Audiovisual Institute, Wałbrzyska 3/5 St, cinema hall “Ziemia Obiecana” on the 1st floor
time: 16th November at 18:00

“Everyday Life in the Warsaw Ghetto”

We invite humanities scholars to participate in the second edition of the online seminar Everyday Life in the Warsaw Ghetto. In the fall of 1940, the Germans established a ghetto for the Jewish population in occupied Warsaw. Almost 400,000 people were crammed into a small area. People separated from the rest of the city by a high wall. Despite poverty, hunger and disease, the ghetto residents tried to function normally: They organized social assistance and medical care, secret education, artistic life and underground political activities. From the very beginning, there were various forms of civil resistance to the orders of the occupiers. The everyday life behind the ghetto walls and the fate of its inhabitants will be presented in the seminar organized in cooperation with Przystanek Historia. Participation in the training is free of charge, but registration is required. Please provide the following data in the registration form: First and last name, data of the school where you work, e-mail address, correspondence address (to this address we will send a certificate of participation in the seminar). Registrations will be accepted until 19 November (contact: Barbara Pamrow – barbara.pamrow@ipn.gov.pl; tel. 22 576 30 09).

Time: 20 November, 9.00-16.00

“Small ghetto in the center of Warsaw”

Small Ghetto – First Class on the Extermination Train. The southern part of the Warsaw Ghetto, inhabited by wealthier people, prosperous townspeople and the intelligentsia. The seat of the Judenrat was also located there. Within the so-called small ghetto there was also Sienna Street, considered one of the best and most elegant in the ghetto, and where Bersohn and Bauman’s Children’s Hospital was located – the future seat of the Warsaw Ghetto Museum.

It was connected with the so-called big ghetto by pedestrian bridges. The most famous of them was located on Chłodna St., which was in the “Aryan” part of the city. Photographs showing the Jewish population crossing a wooden bridge have become an integral part of the collective imagination of the Holocaust. The footbridge, instead of connecting the two parts of the ghetto, became a symbol of the isolation and dehumanization of Warsaw’s Jews. The small ghetto ceased to exist after the so-called “Great Deportation Action in the Warsaw Ghetto”.

We invite you to the sixth Varsavianist walk this year – “The Little Ghetto in the Center of Warsaw”, led by city guide Agnieszka Kuś. Participation in the event is free of charge.

time: November 21 at 12:00
location: Courtyard of the former Bersohn and Bauman Hospital at Sienna 60 St.


Ministry of Culture and National Heritage
The Social and Cultural Society of Jews in Poland

Honorary patronage:

Mayor of the Capital City of Warsaw