Some of the Nazi plans for architectural reconstruction in Poland were carried out during the war, others remained on paper. Some structures still bear the stigma of atrocity, but many have blended in with their surroundings.
In an interview with Justyna Nowicka, Grzegorz Piątek, Michał Wiśniewski and Jagoda Załęska-Kaczko were inquiring about their origin and reconstruct their messages, focusing, among others, on Ordensburg in Złocieniec in Western Pomerania – a training centre for new Nazi elites resembling a Teutonic castle – or on Eichenkamp near Gliwice – a model settlement for the SA and SS officers with a Germanic oak not only in its name. Many of these projects and designs entailed symbolic violence. Without persistent Germanization, without erasing Polishness, it would not be possible to transform Poznań into a new administrative and cultural centre of the German East, create a new German city of Warsaw, or restore Krakow to its ancient Germanness and turn it into the Nuremberg of the East.
Hidden behind architecture was ideology, and behind ideology – crime. The reverse side of what was built and rebuilt for the master race were ghettos and displacements. Prosperity based on slave labour of the subhumans. The infrastructure of extermination – death factories and camps providing almost free labour in line with the doctrine of destruction through work so perversely paraphrased at the gate in Auschwitz.
The streaming of the event was available on Thursday, March 25 at 19.00 on the ICC profile on Facebook.
The starting point for the conversation was Dissonant Heritage? Architecture of the Third Reich in Poland, a book edited by Jacek Purchla and Żanna Komar, published by the ICC in early 2021.
Grzegorz Piątek – architect, critic and architectural historian, member of the board of the Architecture Centre Foundation. Author of recently published book Najlepsze miasto świata. Warszawa w odbudowie 1944-1949.
Michał Wiśniewski – historian of architecture, curator of architectural exhibitions, author of books on the history of architecture. He works at the International Cultural Centre and the University of Economics in Krakow. Fulbright fellow. Member of the board of the Institute of Architecture Foundation.
Jagoda Załęska-Kaczko – graduate of law and art history, doctoral student at the Institute of Art History at the University of Gdańsk. Fellow of the Geheimes Staatsarchiv programme in Berlin (2014), co-author of exhibitions at the Sopot Museum (2018-2020).
Meeting in Polish.
The project is co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and Sport.