The Warsaw Upraising of 1944 had infuriated Nazi German leaders so much, that they decided to completely destroy Warsaw.
The city must completely disappear from the surface of the earth and serve only as a transport station for the Wehrmacht. No stone can remain standing. Every building must be razed to its foundation.
—SS chief Heinrich Himmler
Warsaw has to be pacified, that is, razed to the ground.
— Adolf Hitler
By January 1945, about 85% of the buildings had been destroyed - among that 94% of Warsaw’s historical places : the Old and New Town, the Royal Castle, Saxon Palace, Zygmunt’s Column, St. John’s Cathedral and many, many more.
In 1947 group of American designers came to England, Czechoslovakia and Poland to see progress of postwar reconstructions. One of them - Henry N. Cobb - took pictures of Warsaw. This year, after 64 years he decided to share those photographs with us.
PLEASE NOTE: those black and white photos show how previous place looked before war. Sadly, subtitles are only in Polish for now, but the images are still heartbreaking.
Also, a couple of weeks ago the Newsweek took photographs of all the destroyed buildings from Cobb’s pictures, so we can see how much they changed between August 1947 and November 2011.
I dedicate this post to all reconstructors of Warsaw, my hometown.