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Świętojańska 8 - Stare Miasto

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8 Świętojańska Street. The St. John the Baptist Cathedral.
At the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries a wooden castle chapel was built here, followed by a ghotic stone building that stood there since the year c. 1390. It belongs to the oldest Warsaw churches.
During the Warsaw Uprising 1944 the Cathedral was the area of direct fighting. Insurgent troops would fight here in defense of almost each meter of the floor. Germans managed to get inside a tank loaded with explosive material. The explosion damaged a vast part of the church. After the Uprising fall the German Vernichtungskommando (the destruction troop) blew up the Cathedral with TNT and damaged 90% of church walls. The reconstruction occurred in the years 1948-1956.
On the outer Cathedral walls one can see the following:
- a plaque the memory of the soldiers of the Home Army unit "Róg" of the battalions "Bończa", "Dzik", "Gustaw", "Wigry", of the 104th company ZSP and the Troop PWB/17/S who fell during the Warsaw Uprising;
- the tank track put inside the wall that is, as stated, the one of the German tank-mine Golliath that demolished the great part of the church walls. Actually, it is the tank track of a bigger military equipment called Borgward, the same as the one that exploded in the Kilińskiego street on August 13, 1944 and killed few hundred people.
In the left-hand nave of the Cathedral, in the Baryczka chapel there is the figure of the Providential Crucified Jesus. On August 16, 1944 the figure of Christ was taken out the burning Cathedral by Fr. Wacław Karłowicz and two nurses from the scout battalion "Wigry". The event was described in the relation of Barbara Gancarczyk-Piotrowska published on the SPPW 1944 website. In the year 1948 the figure was taken back to the restored chapel
On the church walls one can see the following plaques:
- commemorating the soldiers of the Home Army unit "Róg" from the battalions "Bończa" and "Dzik" as well as 104th company who fought in this church in August 1944;
- commemorating the soldiers of the Home Army scouting battalion "Wigry" who fought in the Cathedral;
- commemorating Polish aviators who fell in the years 1939-1945;
- in memory of General Franciszek Kamiński a.k.a. "Zenon Trawiński", the chief of 1st Division of the Home Army Headquarters, the participant of the Warsaw Uprising.

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written by: Maciej Janaszek-Seydlitz
pictures taken by: Maciej Janaszek-Seydlitz
translated by: Monika Ałasa

Copyright © 2017 Maciej Janaszek-Seydlitz. All rights reserved.