“The Warsaw Ghetto. People, places, events” is a new recurrent online project of the Warsaw Ghetto Museum. Its aim is to present various aspects of artistic and cultural life in the Warsaw Ghetto. Every year, a new installment of the project, touching upon another issue concerning the world of art, music and theatre, will be released. The publication of the first part of the project coincides with the 78th anniversary of the end of the so-called Grossaktion..
The first installment, entitled “Around the szop of Abraham Ostrzega”, focuses on presenting the activity of the whetstone factory run by the famous sculptor, Abraham Ostrzega, as well as profiles of the artists employed at the facility.
Abraham Ostrzega and his friend
In the 30s of the 20th century, Abraham Ostrzega and his friend, Władysław Zew Weintraub, opened the Atelier of Decorative Art at 9a, Mylna St. in Warsaw. The studio was most likely located in the courtyard, at the back of the Evangelical-Reformed Church. After the outbreak of World War II, it was incorporated into the Ghetto and transformed into a factory producing whetstones and metal cleaning powder. To help their artist friends in these difficult times, the owners hired them at the factory. There were many creators of art among the employees, including Józef Śliwniak, Maksymilian Eljowicz, Henryk Rabinowicz, Roman Rozental, Izrael Tykociński czy Symcha Trachter. In the summer of 1942, the factory was incorporated into Heniz Müller’s szop which manufactured metal products. Soon, German occupation authorities decided that the activity of both workshops was useless from the perspective of the war-related needs of the Third Reich, and ordered that the employees working in them be sent to “the east”, which de facto meant sending them to the extermination camp in Treblinka.