Among BOS's earliest records is the photograph taken on 23rd of March 1945 during the first official appearance of the Office's leadership, in the headquarters of the National Home Council in the State Railways District Directorate building on Wileńska street in the Praga district. In the first row, sitting, from the left: Roman Piotrowski (head of the BOS), Bolesław Bierut, Stanisław Tołwiński (mayor of Warsaw); in the second row, standing: Witold Plapis, Piotr Biegański, Bohdan Lachert, Jan Chmielewski, Marian Rzędowski, Stanisław Albrecht, Zygmunt Skibniewski, Józef Sigalin. Each of the members present delivered a speech on their area of expertise – even though their visions of the future reconstruction of Warsaw were radically different. BOS's responsibility was to oversee the reconstruction works, urban planning, restoration of historic monuments, design and construction of individual buildings, business and investment plans, as well as construction works. The Office played a pivotal role in the reconstruction of Warsaw, employed almost 1500 professionals and workers and attracted not only the enthusiasts of the new authorities, but also those who wanted nothing to do with communism. BOS studios witnessed discussions where visions of the future clashed with the harsh reality of life. It is there that the ideas for the new city emerged. Also the London government-in-exile had its own plans of the reconstruction of Warsaw, more radical than BOS's – they took the liberty of suggesting bold solutions, because they did not regard the very form of reconstruction as an important factor in legitimising their authority. The communists, on the other hand, hoping to win favour with the nation, decided to choose the more conservative option and rebuild the historic parts of the city in their original form.
Naturally, this does not imply that the authorities completely resigned from new, radical solutions in architecture and urban planning, which – considering their leftist origins – could be associated with the new regime. The reconstruction of Warsaw was regarded as a nationwide effort, where the technical intelligentsia played an important role. Already in the interwar period it was believed that the capital needs to be radically redeveloped, so architects and urban planners in several centres had already started developing that idea and continued their work throughout the occupation. Even though Warsaw was expanding rapidly in the second half of the 19th century and in the early 20th century, it did not function as the capital and was intentionally degraded by the Russian invader – which resulted in the deformation of its spatial arrangement. Reform ideas were put forward during the World War I and throughout the interbellum. It was not until Stefan Starzyński's tenure, however, that more serious plans were made. The authorities also emphasised the need to create better conditions for establishing social ties among the residents. After the end of the World War II questions arose whether the city should contradict or continue its history. Preparations for a new urban plan started as early as September 1939, just as the destruction of the city began. Many institutions started working on projects of future reconstruction almost immediately, both underground and under the cover of legal activities, for instance, Stanisław Różański's Urban Planning Department of the City Administration (which developed existing projects of Exposition Grounds, Łazienkowska Route, N-S Route, as well as the projects of the Na Skarpie avenue and of the continuation of Marszałkowska street into the Żoliborz district, among others); or Expert Urban Planners Committee of the City Administration, headed by T. Tołwiński (which worked on plans of historic districts and buildings, of transportation network and landscaping). The underground Faculty of Architecture of the Warsaw University of Technology focused on the projects of the N-S Route, Trzech Krzyży square, Nowy Świat street bis, Grzybowski square, the Saxon Garden and the tunnel passage from the Kierbedzia Bridge in the direction of the Wola district. Another actively involved institution (and the most leftist) was the Architecture and Urban Planning Studio of the Public Building Society, headed by Szymon Syrkus. Its five teams analysed the whole of the city area and the northern residential districts, and worked on the development of the housing estates of Warsaw Housing Cooperative in Żoliborz and Rakowiec districts, as well as on the project of a western district for industrial plant workers. In the autumn of 1944 Piotr Biegański and Jan Zachwatowicz worked in Podkowa Leśna, on their own, independent project of the reconstruction of Warsaw. Many of those solutions and ideas were later realised by the Urban Planning Department of the BOS.
References to the past, all the more multifaceted in the first years after the war, were an important issue. Warsaw's tragic history became a moral argument; the function of historic buildings was not only aesthetic – they were supposed to strengthen social ties; finally, this complex past could empower the vision of a new city, where the past and the present are brought together. 1st of October 1947, when the Warsaw Conservation Office (UKMSW) was established and Piotr Biegański was appointed the Historic Preservation Officer, counts as the beginning of post-war historic conservation service. Thus all the employees of the BOS became employees of the UKMSW. The Historic Architecture Department of the BOS employed ca. 100 people, including 43 engineers, 67 office workers and 7 clerks. Among the department managers were the following: Tymoteusz Sawicki (Studio of Research and Science); Mieczysław Kuzma (Studio of Historic Urban Planning); Zdzisław Mączeński (Studio of Historic Adaptation and Reconstruction); Jan Dąbrowski (Stanisław Augustus Studio); Władysław Tomaszewski (Old Town Studio); Stanisław Żaryn (Historic Stocktaking Studio); Andrzej Roszkowski (Historic Photography Studio); Jan Bieńkowski (Supervision of Historic Buildings). One of the most important tasks was to prevent further devastation of historic buildings, which continued even after the Germans left Warsaw, due to weather conditions and illegal dismantling. The ruins were protected not only for documentation purposes, but also for their individual value. Various security measures were taken: as constant supervision was impossible, in 1945 the BOS set up many red warning boards which informed that a building is a protected historic monument. Those boards played an important – albeit mainly psychological – role. The preserved specimens are today displayed at the Monument Interpretation Centre.
Architectural fragments were recovered from ruins of particular buildings and deposited in lapidaria intended for that purpose. At the end of March 1945 the “Old Town” field group was set up, whose first tasks, according to Adolf Ciborowski, was: “to reconnoitre the ruins of the Old Town and temporarily secure the remaining relics, architectural and others. We had our first headquarters on the ground floor of the Baryczko house, which we cleared ourselves, in the front, where the vaulted ceilings were still preserved. We then cleared the ground floor of the Little Negro house, where we set up a »boxroom« where we kept various objects recovered from the debris, such as fragments of sculptures (e.g. the Little Negro's head) or portal lattices, etc.”. During their first actions they secured the sculpture of the king and the shattered fragments of Sigismund's Column and transported them to the National Museum; they dug up and secured fragments of the cathedral vault; finally, they secured the Dukes of Masovia Palace. Makeshift scaffolding allowed them to enter the second floor, whereupon they fixed a ladder found on site and started evacuating wooden figures of saints, stone sculptures, etc. The removed objects were secured and transported to the National Museum. In the first years after the war, there was a severe shortage of tar paper and wood – and constructing makeshift roofs and windows was the most common method of securing the deteriorating buildings. Special scaffolding, which protected the walls from collapsing, was constructed only in exceptional cases. “Protective procedures”, as J. Zachwatowicz wrote, “were supposed to eliminate dangers and prevent the buildings from further damage”.
“In case of burned historic monuments, the goal was to protect them with temporary roofing or other kinds of cover, so that at least the wall crowns would be protected. If the stability of a building was weakened by wall breaches caused by bombs or missiles, or by dangerous cracks from blast waves, the reparation works included shoring and constructing pillars, repairing the breaches in walls, installing ties, props and anchor plates. The workers used whatever materials available and their methods – aimed at temporary solutions – were often improvised. The works themselves were usually dangerous and required great courage and dedication. Sometimes, the builders invented their own, ingenious methods, especially that some cases turned out to be quite difficult and complicated. (...) For instance, a bomb destroyed the whole corner of the Kościelski house in the Warsaw Old Town, but in such a way that the attic with figures remained projecting like a cantilever. Therefore, a kind of a multi-storey siege tower with a wooden log shield was constructed and then moved towards the corner. Thus the bricklayers, protected by the shield, could build a wall from the foundations up to the attic, hanging from the wall – and the attic was saved. In another Old Town house, the burned Renaissance Dukes of Masovia Palace, the extant front wall tilted and was in danger of collapse. First a wooden construction was built to support the wall and after that an anchor tie rod was inserted in the wall. The wall was then straightened and the rod was connected with the reinforced concrete ceiling”. One of the most spectacular actions was the securing of the Falkiewicz house at the Market Place on the corner of Krzywe Koło street – a bomb crushed the corner of the building and the breach needed to be reinforced. The protection works, the engineering aspect of which was worked out by Stanisław Hempel, were only conducted in some buildings, during the first years after the war. The inventory of losses between January 1945 and April 1948 lists 133 historic buildings whose cubic capacity amounts to 785 622 m3. Some of them were rebuilt from scratch, because it was impossible to restore them.
The memories of Nazi occupation, the experience of seeing the historic quarters of Warsaw lying in ruins, and the ideological indoctrination had considerable influence on the residents' and conservation officers' attitudes and opinions on the reconstruction of historic monuments – which were contrary to the then theories on conservation. The rules which were established at the beginning of the 20th century disqualified the rebuilding and reconstruction of historic buildings to such a wide extent as it was done in Warsaw after the war. In the 19th century, the Romantic Movement inspired the reconstruction of many European monuments, later criticised for arbitrariness, taking liberties, and even falsification. In the 20th century, on the other hand, probably mainly due to the influence of Austrian theoretician Alois Riegl, the state of monuments and the authenticity of materials gained the respect they deserved. The need to protect and safeguard historic relics became the priority and raised scepticism about the extensive plans of reconstruction. Soon after the outbreak of the war Bolesław Miciński wrote: “Historic conservation, just like pacifism, is based on cowardly capitulation. Even for the price of the aesthetic value of a work of art (...) The refurbished ruins of a medieval castle, wrenched from the grasp of nature, disturb the sense of reality and resemble a stuffed owl. Ruins have their own aesthetic value. Let us not take away the dignity of their agony”. The damages caused by the Germans from the very beginning of the occupation entailed a significant change in attitude. The numerous descriptions of the first contact with the ruins of Warsaw reflect the prevailing feeling of horror and denial in response to the barbaric nature of the destruction. Those feelings crystallised into an emotional affirmation of the need to rebuild the old Warsaw. The new authorities understood the public mood and hoped that by rebuilding the city they would legitimise their political position and earn the favour of Varsovians, who were disappointed with the passive attitude of the Soviet and Polish army during the Warsaw Uprising. Conservators, architects, art historians and sociologists gave voice to the public mood, sometimes contrary to old theories. Many speeches emphasised the need to recreate the historic form of Warsaw, the fact that a nation deprived of its historical symbols ceases to exist and that tradition is not something lifeless but a living message, passed on from generation to generation.
The programme and the rules of monument conservation were quite accurately described by J. Zachwatowicz, who writes: “A nation and the monuments of its culture are one thing. Conclusions which may be drawn from this political statement are not always consistent with the scientific approach. Unable to allow cultural monuments to be taken from us, we will reconstruct them, we will rebuild them from the foundation up, in order to give the future generations some form of those monuments, maybe not authentic, but at least faithful, alive in our memory and available in documents (...). Considering the number and quality of historic monuments in Poland, we cannot afford to follow the rules stated by conservation congresses. Centuries of deliberate damages and centuries of our own negligence have depleted Poland's heritage to such an extent that in order to protect it, we need special methods and different rules. (...) The cataclysm of the last war has exacerbated the situation. Whole pages of our history, written in stone syllables of architecture, have been torn out entirely on purpose. We cannot accept it. The sense of responsibility towards the future generations requires that we rebuild what was destroyed, remaining fully aware of the tragic aspect of this falsification”. Both the Historic Architecture Department of the BOS and, after 1947, the Warsaw Conservation Office, worked on creating a new urban plan and revitalising the historic quarters of the city centre. Not only were individual buildings reconstructed, but above all the designers focused on the layout of whole quarters and complexes. Because of a broad understanding of historic monuments and the protection and restoration of whole quarters, their reconstruction was an integral part of the general plan of reconstruction. This is especially clear in the case of the Old Town, which was rebuilt as a housing estate, in different political circumstances.
The reconstruction of Warsaw was financed from various sources. Some subsidies came from abroad, i.a. from the USSR (which in fact redirected the war reparations paid by the defeated Germany). Funds were also raised by the Polish diaspora. Due to bureaucratization, an intrinsic phenomenon in communist systems, administrative framework was established to control the process of acquiring the funds and financing the reconstruction. The history of the People's Fund for the Reconstruction of Warsaw (SFOS) began in May 1945, when the Silesian-Dabrovian Committee for the Reconstruction of Warsaw was founded. Soon after that, other voivodeships followed suit. The legal status of those social committees was regulated by the Council of Ministers on 24 July 1948, when the SFOS was recognised as an organisation of high public utility. According to the Fund's charter, its purpose was to “mobilise the spiritual and material powers and resources of the Polish Nation and of other nations, in order to rebuild Warsaw, the capital of Poland”.
This task was carried out by organising and controlling fund-raising actions (to which the SFOS had the exclusive right), while simultaneously conducting an extensive propaganda campaign. The Poles were informed about the extent of the destruction of Warsaw and about the significance which the reconstruction of the city would have for cultural continuity. The progress of the construction works was publicised through lectures and various visual forms. The SFOS was managed by a Central Council, while citizen committees for the reconstruction of Warsaw had the authority on field level. The Fund as a whole was subordinate to the Chief Council for the Reconstruction of Warsaw, whose Executive Committee was in fact the General Council of the SFOS. The fund-raising actions organised by the SFOS were based on the principle of commonness, voluntariness and stability. The money came from individual donations, as well as from various public events or from so-called “community actions”, popular at that time. More limits were introduced on voluntary donations and compulsory SFOS contributions were deducted from postage stamps, IRS fees, etc. What was intended to strengthen the social ties between the capital and the rest of the country, soon turned into a nationwide aversion towards Warsaw. The collected money was transferred to a specially created account (without the possibility of making withdrawals) at the PKO bank. Every provincial or municipal SFOS committee had such an account, from which all the funds were automatically transferred to a central account – it was only then that the money was distributed between the central fund and the provincial funds. The central fund was managed by the General Council and financed various social and political investments, not only in Warsaw, but also all over the country – especially in the so-called Recovered Territories. After the year 1958 25% of the income was assigned to the central fund (i.e. Warsaw), and the remaining 75% – to provincial expenses. The change in the proportions and the fact that other regions of Poland were taken into consideration, were the outcome of the First National Congress of Delegates of the People's Fund for the Reconstruction of Warsaw, which was held on 16–17 June 1958. On its eve, the Chief Council for the Reconstruction of Warsaw was disbanded. During the Congress a new charter was prepared and the name of the Fund was changed into “People's Fund for the Reconstruction of the Country and Warsaw” (while the abbreviation remained unaltered). The Fund's organisational structure changed as well. From then on, the Fund was managed by the National Congress of Delegates, the General Council and the General Review Panel.
Formally, the SFOS was active until 13 January 1966, when the Delegates adopted a resolution to wind up, on the grounds that the Fund had fulfilled its statutory tasks. The assets were incorporated by the Social School Construction Fund (SFBS) which had been founded at that time. In the years 1945–1965 5 billion 575 million zlotys were collected altogether, 5 billion 436 million out of which were used for investment purposes and 138 million 650 thousand were spent on organisational costs. The SFOS evolved from fund-raising actions for the reconstruction of Warsaw and its evolution progressed alongside the political changes. The Fund started as a spontaneous, decentralised action and ended up as a highly centralised, state-sponsored instrument of pressure, used for gathering additional financial resources. The most important SFOS-funded investments include the construction of the W-Z Route and the Śląsko-Dąbrowski Bridge – the Fund provided ca. 50% of the overall costs. It played a less significant role in its other investments, being more of a form of support or social participation. It is worth noting, however, that the SFOS helped finance the reconstruction of several religious buildings, in consultation with the Primatial Council for the Reconstruction of Warsaw's Churches. SFOS's contribution to the reconstruction of the capital was therefore significant, but it should be remembered that after 1948, due to the ever growing tendency to use all forms of moral coercion, the voluntary character of the fund-raising actions was nothing but an illusion.
Bibliography: E. Szymczuk, Biuro Naczelnej Rady Odbudowy Warszawy i Rady Głównej Społecznego Funduszu Odbudowy Kraju i Stolicy 1946–1966. Wstęp do inwentarza, Warszawa 1991; J. Górski, Warszawa w latach 1944–1949. Odbudowa, Warszawa 1988.
Even though in August 1944 heavy fights took place in this small, densely built area, many valuable buildings survived after the fall of the Old Town on 2nd of September 1944. It was only later that the Germans burned down the Baryczko house, the Central Archive, the Archives of Historical Records and the Treasury Archives. It was also then that St. John's Cathedral and the Jesuit Church were mined and blown up. In many descriptions of liberated Warsaw, the Old Town makes the most shocking impression. Despite the extent of the destruction, the Historic Architecture Department of the BOS immediately proceeded to setting up guidelines for conservation and reconstruction works. However, one of the most important tasks in the first years was to clear the area of debris, to secure it and catalogue it. The “Old Town” field group of the Historic Architecture Department of the BOS, headed by W. Tomaszewski, and the inventory task force headed by S. Żaryn commenced works as early as March 1945. In April, ground floors of houses at 32, 34 and 36, Market Place were secured and the access road to the Market Place was unblocked. By the end of 1945, Wąski Dunaj street and Dekert side were cleared of debris, and the numbers 34 and 36, intended as the future location of the Museum of Old Warsaw, were secured, as well as were some of the extant fragments of the interior of St. John's Cathedral. In spring 1946, the Old Town Studio of the Historic Architecture Department of the BOS commenced works under the direction of W. Podlewski and A. Gądzikiewicz. Further safety works were carried out on the Market Place, around the Cathedral and the Barbican. In September the Market Place was cleared of debris, largely as a result of voluntary works in which even the representatives of the highest authorities participated. The Bracia Jabłkowscy company offered to cover all the reconstruction costs of the Baryczko house – the future location of the Museum of Old Warsaw. In 1949 the new location of the Historical Museum of Warsaw (currently the Museum of Warsaw) and of the City Archives (Krzywe Koło street) were released for use. In 1947 safety works in the Market Place, on Nowomiejska street and on the ruins of the Augustinian (St. Martin's) Church on Piwna street were continued. In 1948 houses on Piwna, Krzywe Koło, Market Place and Szeroki Dunaj streets were secured. In September, as a result of voluntary works, which had by then become a tradition, the Market Place and Świętojańska, Piwna, Szeroki Dunaj, Krzywe Koło, Nowomiejska and Podwale streets were cleared of debris. Valuable Gothic fresco was discovered under later layers of bricks on the walls of a house at 20 and 8, Market Place. Stanisław Żaryn found a quite well preserved Knights' Turret, squeezed between the walls of two tenement houses. Large parts of the Barbican were discovered, previously hidden in the walls of residential buildings on Nowomiejska street. In November 1948 the zoning plan of the Old and New Town was enacted and implemented. By the end of 1949 debris was cleared out of the zwinger alongside Podwale street between the Castle Square and Piekarska street, and from 96 Old Town houses. Also, 45 buildings were secured, mainly in the area of Podwale, Piwna and Świętojańska streets. In late 1949 P. Biegański wrote: “Despite the modest financial resources, many works were carried out in the last few years, proving the value of the effort that our whole society is ready to make in order to rebuild Warsaw's oldest district and recreate the city's characteristic silhouette. With the year 1949, all the doubts concerning the reconstruction of the Old Town were dispelled. The need of immediate reconstruction turned into an absolute necessity, given how gigantic an undertaking the construction of the W-Z Route was. On 13 August the Chief Council for the Reconstruction of Warsaw definitely settled the date of the reconstruction of the Old Town and determined the future character of the district”. Biegański's enthusiastic and undoubtedly sincere statement resulted from the political changes which had happened in 1949. The stalinisation of Poland was in progress and social realism was decreed the official architectural style in June 1949. This style of Soviet origin permitted the use of historicising forms in architecture. Polish architects and conservators, mostly ill-disposed towards the new doctrine, decided to take advantage of the new circumstances in order to further the cause of the Old Town. In October 1949 the Old Town Studio of the Central Design Office and the Design Office for Social Housing of the Union for the Reconstruction of the Republic of Poland (ZOR) was established and set about preparing the technical documentation of the reconstruction works in the Old Town, first under the direction of J. Zachwatowicz, and later M. Kuzma. Considering the realities of the 1940s and 50s, the interpretation of the concept of reconstruction should be broad and creative – not only in case of the Old Town, but also in other fields of art and culture.
Over the course of its long and eventful history, the Old Town has had its ups and downs. From a sociological and urban point of view, it has been rather degrading than progressing. In the 20th century it was a district of petite bourgeoisie, craftsmen and poor intelligentsia – very densely built, full of outbuildings and annexes, deprived of green spaces, with low living and sanitary standards. The Old Town raised from ruins was supposed to visually refer to its old architecture, but was also planned as a less dense residential district, offering healthier and more modern housing conditions. Those were the general objectives of design works which had started simultaneously with cataloguing and debris-clearing works. W. Podlewski specified those objectives as early as in 1947, quite reliably, as it turned out. He wrote: “The works on the project of reconstruction (of the Old and New Town) had three directions: a) recreation of the original urban plan and of the historic architecture; b) creation of an appropriate setting and picturesque surroundings for Old Warsaw; and c) determining the purpose and role of the Old Town districts in the post-war organism of the capital. The area covered by the Old Town zoning plan was limited by the following streets: Podwale, Nowomiejska, Freta, Zakroczymska, Świętojańska and Zakątna up to the Vistula river, then alongside the river, the Castle Garden, the Copper-Roof Palace, the Castle Square up to Podwale street. Therefore, it covers the Old Town with the Royal Castle, surrounded by the ring of medieval city walls, situated on the southern plateau of the high left bank of the Vistula river, on the average of 25–26 metres above river level, and the New Town, extending over the northern hill on the average of 20–26 metres above river level, separated from the Old Town by a former ravine which leads to the Vistula crossing – the later Mostowa street. Our research is based on the former Gothic urban plan of the Old Town district”. Further he writes: “More radical changes will be applied inside the buildings. Due to the increased amount of light, air and green spaces, the interiors will become a healthier living environment. All the ugly, non-historic, later outbuildings will not be reconstructed, and the extant ones will be pulled down. Naturally, every detail of significant historic value will be preserved or meticulously reconstructed (...). All the architectural monuments of the Old Town, such as the Castle, churches and houses are intended for reconstruction – this applies to their shape and external appearance, whereas the arrangement of their interiors remains a separate issue and will be the object of further research”.
What was especially important for the plans and realisation of the reconstruction of the Old Town, was the good state in which the city walls were preserved. J. Zachwatowicz uncovered them in the years 1936–1938 and claimed that the existence of city walls which have remained virtually untouched may change the face of the Old Town, giving it the looks of a medieval town. According to him, the reconstruction of the original walls, especially around the crescent of Podwale street, would create a very attractive view. Indeed, the destructive operations carried out by the Germans, who had almost completely razed the buildings around Podwale street, enabled the reconstruction of the walls along the section from the Castle Square, including the preserved complex which was reconstructed before the war, in the direction of Brzozowa street, up to the no longer existing, demolished Marshal's Tower. There were plans to create a garden in the area below the escarpment, as shown in Krawczyński's panorama of the Old Town. Zachwatowicz wrote: “This will result in significant improvement of health conditions of the whole Old Town district, also, the interiors of residential buildings will be more spacious and the reconstruction of city walls will create a free space alongside the former ramparts – all of the above will provide quite comfortable housing conditions. The total area of the development plan, including the green areas below the escarpment, will cover ca. 45 hectares, only 12 of which will be occupied by the actual Old Town (within the city walls) and the Royal Castle (...). The population of both historic districts will amount to 6000–6500 people. More than 400 houses will be reconstructed, not including churches, the Castle and several historic monuments”. The reconstruction of the Old Town progressed very quickly. The first stage of the works was completed on 22 July 1953 in the Old Town and on 22 July 1956 in the New Town, while the conservation works in the district continued, even though the October thaw of 1956, which withdrew from the demands of social realism in architecture, affected the reconstruction of that quarter. This is especially noticeable on Długa street, where the style of one frontage is historicising, whereas on the other side there are prefabricated blocks of flats, typical of the 1960s architecture. Nevertheless, due to the right investment priorities, the reconstruction of the Old Town turned out to be a success of Polish architects, conservators, builders and of the whole society – which was recognised by the UNESCO Committee, who declared it a World Heritage Site in September 1980.
The Royal Castle was damaged in September 1939, as a result of the first German bombings of Warsaw. Hitler's intention and personal wish was to demolish the Castle, however, it survived until autumn 1944. Throughout the occupation, its collections and architectural details were being salvaged and secured under the supervision of Stanisław Lorentz.
In December 1944, after the fall of the Warsaw Uprising, a German bomb unit placed explosives in holes drilled in 1939 and blew up the edifice. Only a few structural elements and shattered architectural details remained. Preparatory works for the reconstruction of this building, so significant to the Polish state, started already in early 1945, when the Royal Castle Reconstruction Office, headed by Jan Dąbrowski, was founded as a part of the Stanisław Augustus Studio. The draft design which was prepared there assumed the reconstruction of the Castle's original form, including the corrections applied during its inter-war restoration. That project was not realised, but in the early years after the war a team led by Aleksander Król searched the debris and recovered and secured fragments of authentic details, which were later catalogued in the National Museum.
In 1947, after clearing the south wing, side walls and arches of the Grodzka Gate were rebuilt, together with the adjoining walls of the basement. It was attempted to conduct the reconstruction simultaneously with the works on the W-Z Route. Paradoxically, this led to a conflict between the conservators and the urban planners who had been building the Route. The head designers of the W-Z Route, Józef Sigalin, Stanisław Jankowski, Jan Knothe and Zygmunt Stępiński developed their own concept of the reconstruction of the Castle, which they submitted to president Bolesław Bierut, in the form of a journal. According to this concept, consulted by Sigalin with Soviet architects during his trip to Moscow, the form and the interiors of the Castle would be completely new, very much in line with the expectations of the new authorities which were planning to locate their headquarters there.
The conservators, headed by Jan Zachwatowicz, supported that initiative, regarding it as a chance to start works, but they were against entrusting this task to their inexperienced – in their opinion – colleagues who were in charge of the W-Z Route. On 30th of June 1949, by the decision of the Politburo of the Polish United Workers' Party (PUWP), binding for all government agencies, the reconstruction of the Castle was decreed. On 2 July 1949, during a session of the Constituent Assembly, Prime Minister Józef Cyrankiewicz officially proposed the government bill for the reconstruction of the Castle. It stated that the rebuilt edifice would house the headquarters of the highest authorities of the Polish People's Republic and become a cultural centre (including the Museum of Polish Culture). The works were supposed to be completed in 1954 at the latest. Sigalin, in order to avoid an escalation of the conflict among colleagues, withdrew his plan and gave way to the team of conservators: Jan Zachwatowicz, Piotr Biegański, Jan Dąbrowski, Mieczysław Kuzma, Zbigniew Krawczyński, Jacek and Zofia Cydzik, among others. According to Zachwatowicz, the Castle could not have been rebuilt in just any form – instead he proposed to reconstruct the Gothic façade of the former Dukes of Masovia Palace in the east part, bring back the polygonal form from the Vasa era on the side of the W-Z Route and Castle Square, while the Saxon façade would be rebuilt on the Vistula side. No agreement had been reached concerning the final design and form of the reconstruction, because the political authorities kept on interfering with the works, suggesting solutions which were in conflict with the conservators' professional conscience.
This situation only increased Bierut's concerns against the project put forward by Zachwatowicz's team. Because the president favoured the architects, rather than the conservators, he decided to look for new solutions, for instance, by organising competitions for the reconstruction of the Castle. Eventually, he resorted to the help of his own Civil Chancery where architect Romuald Dziewulski worked. On Bierut's order, he designed a social realist vision, only loosely based on the castle's original architecture. However, this project had never been officially entered in the competition. It clearly suggested that the reconstruction of the Royal Castle might become an offshoot of social realist ideology and of Bolesław Bierut's own creative ambitions, encouraged by his entourage. During the phase of conceptual work and conflicts, not much happened on the construction site itself, and even if some works were indeed conducted, they were unmethodical and against the principles of historic conservation. The decision-making process dragged on, there was a lack of political will – and as a result the interest in the reconstruction of the Castle dwindled. The works were eventually suspended not only due to the international context of that time (the outbreak of the Korean War, which entailed rapid and costly industrialisation), but also because of the decision to rebuild the Old Warsaw Route. In effect, the reconstruction of the Old Town districts was prioritised – and the conservators were not capable of realising those two projects simultaneously. Yet again, the Warsaw Royal Castle fell victim to the political changes happening in Poland. In 1964 the works in the immediate vicinity of the Castle were resumed. The area around the relics was cleared and in 1966 the Royal Library was rebuilt. The second post-war decision to reconstruct the Castle was made by the Sejm on 20 January 1971 after Edward Gierek was appointed first secretary of the PUWP. The new party leader, unlike Władysław Gomułka, sought the support of Warsaw – both among the authorities of the PUWP and the local residents. On 26 January 1971 the inaugural meeting of the Public Committee for the Reconstruction of the Royal Castle in Warsaw took place. What is of particular importance, the construction works were fully financed from social contributions. The design was developed by Jan Bogusławski and his team, while Mieczysław Samborski and Irena Oborska, among others, designed the interiors. The architects could also count on the expertise and experience of Jan Zachwatowicz and Stanisław Lorentz – the latter was one of the most active advocates of the reconstruction of the Royal Castle. The pre-construction phase, which assumed restoration of the pre-war state, was completed in July 1974. However, it was not until 1984 that the finishing works were completed, including interior decoration, furnishing and arranging works of art in the rooms of the Castle. The People's Fund for the Reconstruction of Warsaw granted additional financial support for the reconstruction works. In 1980, the rebuilt Royal Castle and the Old Town were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Bibliography: Jan Górski, Warszawa w latach 1944–1949. Odbudowa, Warszawa 1988. Piotr Majewski, Ideologia i konserwacja. Architektura zabytkowa w Polsce w czasach socrealizmu, Warszawa 2009
|II 1945||Founding of the Warsaw Reconstruction Office (BOS), which comprised, among others, the Historic Architecture Department.|
|III 1945 r.||First safety works and clearing works in the Old Town.|
|V 1945||Founding of the Chief Council for the Reconstruction of Warsaw, which organised and supervised the plans of reconstruction.|
|VI 1946||Appointment of the Primatial Council for the Reconstruction of Warsaw's Churches by cardinal primate August Hlond.|
|IX 1947||Warsaw Reconstruction Month which inaugurated the social campaign for clearing the Old Town of debris.|
|IX 1947||Works on the plan of the reconstruction of the Old Town, supervised by Wacław Podlewski, are finished.|
|X 1947||Founding of the Warsaw Conservation Office, headed by Piotr Biegański who later continued his efforts to finalise the reconstruction of the Old Town.|
|VIII 1949||The decision of the Chief Council for the Reconstruction of Warsaw and the Warsaw Committee of the PUWP to completely rebuild the Old Town within the Six-Year Plan of the Reconstruction of Warsaw.|
|VII 1952||Resolution of the Cabinet to rebuild the so-called Old Warsaw Route.|
|VII 1953||Delivery of a section of the Old Warsaw Route (between the Castle Square and New Town Square). The opening ceremony of the Old Town Market Place took place on 22 July 1953. Early 1960s – works on the Old Town are finalised.|
|VII 1974||Reconstruction of the Royal Castle is finalised (finishing works were completed in 1984).|
|IX 1980||The Old Town is declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.|
Hanna Banaszewska was born on 11 June 1914. She was employed at the Historic Architecture Department of the BOS and at the Warsaw Conservation Office. She worked on many projects in the Old Town Project Office, where architect Mieczysław Kuzma was head designer of the Old Warsaw Route. Together with Kuzma she designed the reconstruction of many Old Town houses, i.a. 3, 5, 7, 8, 11, 12, 16, 18 Szeroki Dunaj street, of which only the basements were left after the war – they were rebuilt in the years 1949–55. She died on 27th of January 1996.
Jan Bogusławski was born on 12th of May 1910. He graduated from the Faculty of Architecture of the Warsaw University of Technology. In the 1930s he studied in Paris. In September 1939 he was taken captive and remained in the prison camp in Woldenberg until 1945. After the war he worked at the Warsaw Reconstruction Office. As an independent designer, he cooperated with the Miastoprojekt City Centre and Miastoprojekt South studios. In the years 1950–1955 he was substitute professor at the University of Fine Arts in Poznań and after that worked at the Faculty of Public Utility Building of the Warsaw University of Technology. He designed many buildings and their interiors in Warsaw and abroad. Together with Mieczysław Kuzma, he designed the outskirts of the Old Town. He took part in cataloguing the extant remnants of the Royal Castle. After 1971 he supervised the reconstruction of the Royal Castle as General Reconstruction Designer. He died on 2nd of May 1982 in Warsaw.
Piotr Biegański was born on 8th of May 1905 in Rosejny, Lithuania. He graduated from the Faculty of Architecture of the Warsaw University of Technology. In 1933 he became a teaching assistant for prof. Lech Niemojewski. In 1936 he started working for prof. Oskar Sosnowski at the Institute of Polish Architecture. Before the outbreak of the war he went on a scholarship to Italy, which deepened his interest in Corazzi's works. During the war he received a doctoral degree from an underground university. Throughout the whole occupation he gave lectures and was involved in conspiratorial activity of the Home Army. Before the end of the war he started working with Jan Zachwatowicz on projects of the reconstruction of Warsaw's historic buildings. In 1945 they co-founded one of the departments of the BOS – the Historic Architecture Department whose task was to reconstruct Warsaw's historic monuments. He co-authored the project of the New and Old Town urban complex (1946–1954). In the years 1945–54 he held the post of City Historic Preservation Officer. He designed the reconstruction of several buildings, such as the Staszic Palace (1946–51), the Kazimierzowski Palace (1946–49), the Government Committee of Treasury and Revenue building (1948–51), the Ujazdowski Castle (1974–78) and is the author of urban designs of Zwycięstwa square (1971) and the Saxon Axis (early 1970s). His studio worked on the reconstruction of many Old Town houses, for instance, 3 and 5, Market Place (including the interior design of the Bazyliszek restaurant). He was a member of the Public Committee for the Reconstruction of the Royal Castle, the author of numerous publications on the history of architecture and the head of the History of Architecture Department. He died on 12th of January 1986.
Jan Bieńkowski was born on 5 February 1899 in Piotrków Trybunalski. Before the war he worked in Silesia where he mainly catalogued historic wooden churches. In the years 1933–1935 he held the post of city architect in Krynica health resort. In 1936 he moved to Warsaw and started working at the Building Department of the City Board (and continued after the outbreak of the war). After 1945 he worked at the Historic Architecture Department of the BOS and, later, at the Ministry of Art and Culture, the Warsaw Conservation Office, the Miastoprojekt Capital studio (Miastoprojekt East and Miastoprojekt City Centre) and the Old Warsaw Route studio. In the years 1952–53 he designed the restoration of many Old Town houses: 6/8 Brzozowa street, 17, 19 and 23 Market Place, among others. The façade of the house no. 17 was restored to its pre-war state (with the exception of the loggia), Bieńkowski also designed the interior of the pharmacy which is housed there. The Wójt house (no. 19) was rebuilt based on its pre-war appearance, but some of its details were simplified, while the façade of house no. 23, with its preserved 17th century portal, was reconstructed faithfully. Other buildings reconstructed according to Bieńkowski's plans were the houses on 34–42 Piwna street, as well as no. 38 (with Zofia Krotkiewska) and no. 40 (with Krystyna Kognowicka) – the works were carried out in the years 1949–56 and restored the houses to their original state. The architect also designed the reconstruction of the Królikarnia palace. He died on 6th of February 1969.
Jerzy Brabander was born on 2nd of November 1920 in Warsaw. He graduated from the Faculty of Architecture of the Warsaw University of Technology in 1949. In 1945 he started working at the Historic Architecture Department of the BOS, where he was in charge of cataloguing and protecting the extant remnants of the Old Town and of the Royal Castle. He designed the characteristic clock on the corner of the Simonetti house on the edge of Kołłątaj side of the Market Place, as well as the sculptural sign board depicting the Basilisk. He co-designed the restoration of the Royal Castle (together with a team of architects headed by Jan Zachwatowicz). Co-author of, among others, Res Sacra Miser in Warsaw (reconstruction and partial restoration, 1949–60) and the Szuster Palace (reconstruction, 1962–65). Brabander also designed the spatial arrangement of the Castle Square in Lublin (within the activity of the Miastoprojekt Warsaw studio). He died on 9th of December 2004.
Teodor Bursze was born on 31st of May 1893 in Zgierz. In 1922 he graduated from the Faculty of Architecture of the Warsaw University of Technology. In the 1920s he designed housing estates for clerks in the Eastern Borderlands, i.a. in Łuck, Baranowicze and Pińsk. The evangelical church in Ruda Pabianicka was built based on his projects. During the World War II he was arrested and imprisoned in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. After 1945 he worked at the Historic Architecture Department of the BOS and after that in the Historic Preservation Studio. In the years 1953–53 he designed the reconstruction of houses on Barss side of the Market Place (numbers 6, 12, 14 and 24). Co-designed with Stanisław Kamiński, the Gizińska house on 6, Market Place was reconstructed based on its state before the destruction. At that same time the Małodobny house (12, Market Place) was rebuilt according to his plans and its façade was restored to its pre-war condition. However, Bursze's design of the Erler house (14, Market Place) only loosely refers to its previous appearance. As for the Busser house (24, Market Place), of which only the basement was left after its destruction in 1944, the architect recreated its appearance from the 1st half of the 18th century (including some minor modifications from the year 1928). Bursze was also the co-author of the post-war remodelling of the interior of the Presidential Palace. He died on 7th of November 1992.
Jacek Cydzik was born on 7 January 1920 in Warsaw. In 1937 he started attending the Vocational Technical High School for Construction and received his construction technician diploma in 1941. Later he took part in underground courses organised by the Faculty of Architecture of the Warsaw University of Technology. During the occupation he graduated from a Home Army cadet school (code name “Ran”). During the Warsaw Uprising he was platoon commander in “Baszta” regiment. He was decorated with the Virtuti Militari Order and with the Cross of Valour. After he was released from Nazi captivity, he started working at the Warsaw Reconstruction Office, in the Historic Architecture Department. He participated in the reconstruction of the Old and New Town as well as of Nowy Świat street and the palace complex in the Łazienki Park. After 1951, he continued his work in the Monument Preservation Studio. In 1952 he received his degree from the Faculty of Architecture of the Warsaw University of Technology. When the decision about the reconstruction of the Royal Castle was made, he was appointed the vice-president and later, president of the Conservation Committee for the Castle. In the years 1973–1983 he was deputy Conservator General for Historical Monuments. He was actively involved in the Jerzy Waldorff Public Committee for the Protection of the Powązki Cemetery. He was the founder, member and vice-president of the World Association of Home Army Soldiers and also designed the Association's flag. He participated in the organisation of the Warsaw Uprising Museum. He was the assistant director of the Foundation for the Protection of Historical Monuments and was also actively involved in the Polish Committee of the ICOMOS. For many years he supervised the renovation and adaptation of the Kubicki Arcades in Warsaw, as well as the research, design and conservation works in the park-and-palace complex in Radziejowice. He died on 2nd of November 2009.
Zofia Cydzik née Niemira was born on 7th of October 1918 in Warsaw. In 1938 she enrolled at the Faculty of Architecture of the Warsaw University of Technology and continued her studies during the occupation. In the years 1941–1943 she worked at the Public Building Society on the reconstruction of buildings destroyed in September 1939. She fought in the Warsaw Uprising. In the years 1945–1947 she was employed as an architect in the Warsaw Reconstruction Office. Her first tasks included cataloguing the damages to the Old Town buildings. After 1948 she worked at the architecture studio of the Warsaw Conservation Office where she participated in the project of the reconstruction of the Royal Castle. In 1953 she received her engineering degree. From 1951 to 1961 she held the post of senior designer in the Historic Preservation Office. She participated in the reconstruction of Warsaw's historic monuments, such as the Łazienki Park, the Old Town and Wilanów. She died on 17th of February 2013.
Anna Czapska was born in 1919 in Warsaw. She began her studies in 1938 at the Faculty of Architecture of the Warsaw University of Technology. At the same time she attended the Faculty of Graphic Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. During the occupation she took part in underground courses organised by professors of the University of Technology and received her diploma in 1948. After February 1945 she worked at the Historic Architecture Department of the BOS. At first she was tasked with cataloguing the damages in the Old Town. She participated in inventorying and designing the adaptations of five houses on Kołłątaj side of the Market Place, under the supervision of Wacław Podlewski. After March 1945 she started working at Jan Dąbrowski's studio which was in charge of the reconstruction of the palace complex in the Łazienki Park. She catalogued the extant remnants of several buildings in the area of the Park. In 1948 she became a lecturer at the Warsaw University of Technology, where she later received her doctorate degree in 1963 and became a full professor in 1971. In the years 1974–1989 she was the head of the Institute of Foundations of Architectural Development. She lectured on the history of architecture and historic building restoration on many universities. She was an honorary member of the Society for the Protection of Historic Monuments. She died on 19th of November 2007 in Warsaw.
Jan Dąbrowski was born on 15 January 1888 in Tarnawka near Krasnystaw. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg. After 1919 he worked in the Directorate of Public Works in Warsaw. After 1922 he was site manager in the Royal Castle, Łazienki Park and Belweder. During the occupation, together with Marian Lalewicz, he drew up reconstruction plans of historic buildings. After 1945 he worked as a superintendent at the Historic Architecture Department of the BOS and, after 1948, at the Warsaw Conservation Office. He was a member of the Warsaw Conservation Office council which supervised the preparation of project documentation based on archival research, and of the Old Town Project Office which was in charge of the reconstruction of the Old Warsaw Route under the supervision of architect Mieczysław Kuzma. Several Old Town houses were rebuilt based on his plans: i.a. 2, 4, 16, 18, Krzywe Koło street. After March 1945 he ran the studio in charge of the reconstruction of the palace complex in the Łazienki Park. The Tyszkiewicz Palace (1948–1951) and the Uruski Palace (1949–1956) were rebuilt based on his projects. He was the head of the Royal Castle Reconstruction Office, a part of the Stanisław Augustus Studio of the Historic Architecture Department of the BOS. In 1949 developed the first plan of reconstruction of the Royal Castle. In the years 1954–1966 he was the City Historic Preservation Officer. He is the author of a report entitled „Działalność służby konserwatorskiej przy odbudowie dawnej Warszawy w latach 1945–1963” (“The Activity of Historic Preservation Service During the Reconstruction of Old Warsaw in the Years 1945–1963”). Until 1975 he took part in the work of the Royal Castle Architecture and Conservation Committee. He published many articles on historic preservation. Jan Dąbrowski died on 5th of October 1975 in Warsaw.
Halina Szulc née Kosmólska was born on 18 September 1901 in Warsaw. In 1932 she received her degree from the Faculty of Architecture of the Warsaw University of Technology. Before the war she participated in the reconstruction of the Wawel castle interior. She also took part in conservation works in the Warsaw Old Town. After the war, from 1945 to 1947 she worked at the Warsaw Reconstruction Office (Biuro Odbudowy Stolicy, BOS) as historic building restoration designer and as supervising inspector. She designed the reconstruction of many Old Town houses: i.a. 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14 Piwna street and 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, Świętojańska street. She also participated in the reconstruction of St. Hyacinth's Church and of the New Town Church of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the years 1947–49 she worked at the Castle Atelier of the Warsaw Conservation Office (Urząd Konserwatorski), where she took part in designing the reconstruction of the Royal Castle. She died on 23rd of September 1984.
Mieczysław Kuzma was born in 1907 in Warsaw. He received his degree from the Faculty of Architecture of the Warsaw University of Technology. He was one of the authors of the idea of the reconstruction of the whole Old and New Town urban complex put forward by the BOS, as well as the author or co-author of many reconstruction projects for the houses on Zakrzewski side of the Old Town Market Place and those on Szeroki Dunaj street and Świętojańska street, among others. He also designed some houses on Krakowskie Przedmieście street, and participated in the reconstruction of the Ostrogski Palace and Krasiński Palace. In the years 1966–1971 he held the post of City Historic Preservation Officer. He died in 1983 in Warsaw.
Stanisław Marzyński was born on 18th of May 1904 in Łódź. In 1920 he graduated from the Faculty of Trade of the Men's University of the Łódź Traders Association (Wyższa Szkoła Realna Męska z Oddziałem Handlowym Zgromadzenia Kupców w Łodzi) and in the years 1923–1930 he studied at the Faculty of Architecture of the Warsaw University of Technology. In 1930 he became junior assistant to architect Bohdan Pniewski. In the 1920s he was the chief cataloguer of the Warsaw Royal Castle. After the outbreak of the war he was commissioned by mayor Starzyński to evaluate the wartime damages to the city's urban structure. During the occupation he renovated churches and cloisters and later he fought in the Warsaw Uprising. He was the architectural advisor for the Primate's Council for Rebuilding the Churches in Warsaw and many churches were rebuilt according to his plans, i.a. St. Alexander's, St. Florian's, the Jesuit Church and St. Casimir's on Tamka street. He was site manager during the reconstruction of St. John's Cathedral. After the war he continued his academic work at the Faculty of Civil Engineering (until 1974). In the 1970s he supervised the architecture works on the Łazienkowski bridge. He also designed the plans of the remodelling of the Jesus Christ the King of Peace Church in Warsaw. He died on 5th of February in Warsaw.
Witold Plapis was born on March 5 1905 in Uzyn, Ukraine. In 1934 he graduated from the Faculty of Architecture of the Warsaw University of Technology. While still a student, he started working in the Department of Stocktaking and Historical Analysis of Historic Buildings of the Faculty of Polish Architecture of the Warsaw University of Technology. In the 1930s he worked at Bohdan Lachert's studio and after that he opened a studio of his own. During the war he organised and supervised cataloguing the war damages, and after its end he started working at the BOS as the head of the Department of Stocktaking and Statistics. Together with his team he catalogued the war damages in Warsaw. In the years 1948–1950 he was the deputy director and, later, the director of the BOS until its dissolution. After that he took on the issue of afforestation of the Warsaw area. In the years 1951–57 he organised and was the head of Poland's first Faculty of Landscaping at the Institute of Urban Planning and Architecture of the Warsaw University of Technology. In 1955 he was appointed as a professor there. After 1962 he was the head of the Landscape and Recreation Studio at the Warsaw University of Technology. He was the co-founder of the Kampinos National Park and the originator of the idea of the Warsaw Green Ring. Author of numerous publications on landscaping, distinguished with many awards for his services to Warsaw and Poland. He died on 1st of December 1968 in Warsaw.
Wacław Podlewski was born on 7th of January 1895 in Sosnowiec. He studied in Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod and Warsaw and received his degree from the Faculty of Architecture of the Warsaw University of Technology in 1928. After 1945 he was employed at the Historic Architecture Department of the BOS, where he worked on the urban project of the reconstruction of the Old and New Town. He participated in the reconstruction of the city walls and the Barbican. Also, the Fukier house was rebuilt according to his plans. After 1948 he worked at the Warsaw Conservation Office and took part in the reconstruction of the Lublin Old Town. He died on 6th of April 1977 in Warsaw.
Józef Sigalin was born on 6 November 1909 in Warsaw. He graduated from the Faculty of Architecture of the Warsaw University of Technology and was a Polish officer, architect and urban planner. He co-organised the Planning and Reconstruction Office of the Polish Committee of National Liberation (PKWN), and the Warsaw Reconstruction Office, where he was deputy director. In the years 1951–56 he was the first Chief Architect of Warsaw. Co-designer of reconstruction and construction of the following bridges: Poniatowski Bridge, Śląsko-Dąbrowski Bridge, Gdański Bridge and Łazienkowski Bridge. Designer of bridge routes (W-Z Route, Gdańska Route, Łazienkowska Route) and several Warsaw squares (Konstytucji Square, Mariensztat Square, Parade Square). Head and co-designer of the Mariensztat Housing Estate, of the MDM and reconstructions of historic houses in the Old Town. In the years 1951–1955 he was government plenipotentiary for the construction of the Palace of Culture and Science. Co-author of the first master plan of Warsaw. He died on 25th of December 1983 in Warsaw.
Zygmunt Stępiński was born in 1908 in Warsaw. He received his degree in architecture from the Warsaw University of Technology. He participated in the post-war reconstruction of Warsaw and worked at the BOS, in the Historic Architecture Department. He was the co-designer of the W-Z Route, MDM and Konstytucji square, and of the reconstruction of Mostowski palace, Krasiński palace and houses between Miodowa street, Krakowskie Przedmieście street and the Castle Square. He also published books on Warsaw architecture. He died in 1982.
Jan Zachwatowicz was born on 4th March 1900 in Gatchina, Russia. He started his studies in St. Petersburg and continued them at the Faculty of Architecture of the Warsaw University of Technology. In 1925 he became a junior member of the teaching staff in the Department of Hand Drawing, ran by prof. Zygmunt Kamiński. After receiving his degree in architecture, Zachwatowicz started working at the Institute of Polish Architecture ran by prof. Oskar Sosnowski. In the 1930s mayor Stefan Starzyński recommended him for conservation works in the Warsaw Old Town, which concluded with the unveiling of a section of the city walls between Nowomiejska street and the outlet of Wąski Dunaj street. Together with his team, he adapted three houses at the Old Town Market Place to become the location of the Museum of Old Warsaw. He was actively involved in the Society for the Protection of Historic Monuments. After the outbreak of the World War II he recovered and salvaged works of art and archives from the Royal Castle and the Warsaw University of Technology. Until the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising, he organised and gave underground lectures at the University of Technology. Throughout the whole occupation, he kept record of cultural losses for the Government Delegation for Poland. Before the end of the war, together with Piotr Biegański he started designing the reconstruction of Warsaw's historic buildings. In 1945 he helped organise the Warsaw Reconstruction Office and afterwards he became the head of the Historic Architecture Department, which was in charge of the reconstruction of historic buildings. In 1946 he was granted the title of full professor and appointed the head of the Department of Polish Architecture of the Warsaw University of Technology. In the years 1945–47 he held the post of Conservator General for Historical Monuments in the Directorate of Museums and Historic Preservation of the Ministry of Culture and Art. He was the author of the reconstruction project of St. John's cathedral. As the Conservator General for Historical Monuments, he organised the structures of preservation services in the whole country. Thanks to his initiative, the Historic Preservation Studios were founded. He designed the still-used information sign placed on historic monuments. As the head of the Citizen's Committee for the Reconstruction of the Royal Castle, he devoted many years to the reconstruction of the Castle. He participated in many international conferences on the protection of cultural heritage and was the originator of many conservation projects. He is the author of numerous scientific and popular scientific publications. Jan Zachwatowicz died on 18th of August 1983.
Bruno Zborowski was born on 15th of July 1888 in Warsaw. He studied at the Faculty of Architecture of the Lviv University of Technology. He was a teaching assistant for prof. Oskar Sosnowski at the Warsaw University of Technology, where he graduated from in 1923. He also gave lectures on descriptive geometry and on folk art at the Academy of Fine Arts. He participated in the work of the Society for the Protection of Historic Monuments. Co-author of many religious buildings and housing estates of the Warsaw Housing Cooperative in the Żoliborz district. During the occupation he was a Home Army soldier and lecturer at the Underground School of Architecture (Tajna Szkoła Architektów). After the war, in 1945, he participated in the work of the Chief Council for the Reconstruction of Warsaw and became an inspector at the BOS. He took part in reconstruction works on Warsaw historic monuments, specialising in religious buildings. He was a member of the Warsaw Conservation Office council which supervised the preparation of project documentation based on archival research. He designed the restoration of the house by the Rzeźnicza gate (13, Szeroki Dunaj street) which was completely destroyed in 1944 and later restored to its state from 1938. He also participated in the restoration of Nowy Świat street. Zborowski worked at the Department of Immobile Cultural Heritage of the Ministry of Art and Culture. He was a lecturer at the Faculty of Architecture of the Warsaw University of Technology. He died on 27th of August 1983 in Warsaw.
Stanisław Żaryn was born on 5 October 1913 in Warsaw. In 1939 he fought and was wounded in the September Campaign. During the war, in 1943, he graduated from the underground Warsaw University of Technology and became a lecturer there as soon as the war ended. He took part in the Warsaw Uprising. After 1945 he worked at the Historic Architecture Department of the BOS. After 1948 he became an inspector at the Warsaw Conservation Office. He also worked at the Miastoprojekt Stolica (City Design – Capital) studio. In 1951 he organised and afterwards became the head of the Old Warsaw Research Committee (Komisja Badań Dawnej Warszawy). He supervised the reconstruction of over 40 historic houses, for instance, on Dekert side of the Old Town Market Place (the current location of the Museum of Warsaw) and also of Sigismund's Column. In the years 1957–59 he held the post of the Architecture and Urban Planning Department of the Museum and Historic Preservation Council. He also designed the interiors of many Old Town houses. He published several articles and books on art conservation and the history of Old Town architecture. He died on 15th of July 1964 in Inowrocław.