The Grochów district of Warsaw lives by its history, though its traces can sometimes be seen in the least expected places. These traces refer to events that remain in memory alone, and sometimes only on book pages. We are setting out to check how the history of Grochów resonates today and whether you can still listen intently to the memory of that district.
We therefore invite you for a walk around Grochów backyards, which have not changed since Stachura’s times, round the tenements which once housed prewar workshops, factories, and shops, as well as trees and walls on which scars from nearly 200 years ago have healed by now. We will also take you to the oldest organ-building workshop in Poland, hidden somewhere in Witolin. We will show how the district maintains traces of everyday life from many decades ago, but also how it commemorates the crimes and violence of the past, including events that took place in other parts of the world. Finally, we will try to follow in the footsteps of a unique element of Grochów’s past, that is, the great kibbutz, which in the interwar period was the birthplace and location of the unique idea of a community.
Grochów is alive. It breathes, resounds, and in the distance, as Stasiuk would have seen it, in another world across the river, Śródmieście (downtown) is turning black against the backdrop of the setting sun.
We will follow a specially designed route, which attempts to capture the unique character of the urban fabric in this area, where the remnants of rural topography overlap with blocks of flats and recent development. Here one gets the impression that different moments of history coexist with each other. We will read fragments of texts about Grochów and memories of people who once co-created this district but are now forgotten. During our soundwalk, independent listening will be supplemented with information about the history of the district.
Maximiliano Bober, Mikołaj Ratajczak, Sławomir Wojciechowski