War-sore

Magda Szubanksi writes in her novel ‘Reckoning’,

My family were proud Warszawians. Warsaw. War-(sore). In Polish it is pronounced Var-SHA-var. Lovely. Like the rustle of petticoats in a Viennese waltz. But the English pronunciation, sadly, is more apt.

What she says is true. The battle scars of war are written across Warsaw’s face. And perhaps nowhere is it quite so obvious as when you stand outside ulica Bielanska 10 – the remants of Reduta Bank Polski.

Established as the bank headquarters in 1926, it became a key strategic target during the Warsaw Uprising and served as a base for Polish insurgents upon capture. It was decimated by German bombs, riddled with bullet holes and left to rot.

Nothing can prepare you for your first glimpse of this building and it quickly transports you back to this sad time in Warsaw’s history. You can imagine people on the other side of the walls, silently praying that the bullets wouldn’t hit them, that they would survive this day. It’s really heartbreaking.

And it presents a difficult situation. The younger generation wish to move on and get over the war. The older generations don’t want to forget what was sacrificed and lost. There are many buildings like this one in Warsaw, many of them are apartment blocks housing people going about their every day lives. Personally, I think reminders such as these should remain.

The Reduta Bank has found a second breath of life as an event space. Joyous occasions such as weddings are held here in this eerily beautiful building. But its definitely worth having a look at if you have the time and inclination to wander the streets of Warsaw.

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