“in the village of Kamien, he was elected King Henry of Valois.” ~ Henry III (19 September 1551 – 2 August 1589; born Alexandre Édouard de France, Polish: Henryk Walezy, Lithuanian: Henrikas Valua) was King of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth from 1573 to 1575 and King of France from 1574 until his death. Henry was the thirteenth king from the House of Valois, the sixth from the Valois-Orléans branch, the fifth from the Valois-Orléans-Angoulême branch, and the last male of his dynasty. (Wiki)
Created in 2010 to mark the XVI International Chopin Piano Competition in Warsaw (The Year of Chopin, marking his birthday in 1810). The piece shows the composer in the company of people, objects and stories connected with his life – George Sand, tourists/Chopinologists, Napoleon Bonaparte as well as the planetoid (3784 Chopin) named after him. The artwork was designed by Marcin Urbanek, although the creation of the piece was a collective effort by many artists. https://www.inyourpocket.com/warsaw/chopin-mural_152838v
The anchor emblem seen on walls throughout the city, indicate significant locations for the Uprising of 1944. More information below the next photo.
So what does an anchor have to do with fighting Nazis? The Kotwica is actually more than an anchor, as the figure is an amalgam of the letters P and W, which take on a number of meanings when associated with the Polish Home Army’s (AK) fight to retake Warsaw. Starting in 1942, members of the Polish underground “Wawer Minor” sabotage unit started using “PW” to signify “Pomścimy Wawer” (“We Shall Avenge Wawer”). The Wawer Massacre of December 26-27, 1939 was one of the first massacres of Poles in occupied Poland, and its memory fueled the opposition in Warsaw. The meaning of “PW” was soon expanded to include “Polska Walcząca” (“Fighting Poland”).
“PW” increasingly appeared in the city as a “signature” on acts of resistance and sabotage; and in 1942 the AK put out a call to design an emblem that could be easily printed. A design that combined the P and W into an anchor – the Kotwica – was submitted by Anna Smoleńska (code name “Hania”) and was chosen as the symbol of the underground. Smoleńska, an art history student at the underground University of Warsaw, was arrested in November of 1942 and died in Auschwitz in March 1943 at the age of 23. Thought she did not live to see an independent Warsaw, the symbol she created endured though the war and beyond. https://culture.pl/en/article/decoding-warsaw-a-guide-to-the-citys-sights-and-symbols
Why the “Mermaid of Warsaw?”
One legend claims “long, long ago” two sirens swam from the Atlantic Ocean to the Baltic Sea. One sister stopped in the Danish straits and can to this day be seen by those visiting the port of Copenhagen. The other sister (clearly the one with more discerning taste) kept swimming until she reached Gdansk, where she then turned to follow the Wisla into the heart of Poland. Reaching what is today Warsaw, she decided she had found a home and stopped at the shore to rest. It wasn’t long after her arrival that local fishermen began noticing someone was tangling their nets and releasing the fish. Though it meant a loss of livelihood, the fishermen were so enchanted by the siren’s song that they never caught her. That is, until a wealthy merchant realized he could make a profit showing off the siren at fairs. He captured the Wisla siren and locked her away in a shed. The siren’s plaintive cries were heard by a young farmhand, who with the help of his friends, returned her to the river. Grateful to her rescuers, the siren vowed to help them in times of need. The siren of Warsaw is thus armed, waiting with sword and shield to make good on her promise and defend the city.
A second tale again highlights the mermaid as the armed defender of the city, though with a different origin story. This one claims that “in ancient times” a griffin defended the city. The griffin would often accompany local fishermen to the Baltic, and on one such journey he spotted a mermaid. It was love at first sight, and the mythical pair returned to live happily in Warsaw – until the griffin was mortally wounded during the Swedish invasion. As the siege of Warsaw raged around her, the mermaid picked up the arms of her dying lover and joined the defense of the city. In gratitude of her service and sacrifice, the people of Warsaw honored her by placing her image on the city’s coat of arms. https://culture.pl/en/article/decoding-warsaw-a-guide-to-the-citys-sights-and-symbols
The Soul of Poland is indestructible (Dusza Polski jest niezniszczalna.)
A display in a bookshop window.
A man descends into the underground Metro after work.
A group stops by one of the dozen or so benches in the city that play Chopin music 🎵 🎼 for passersby.
Mały Powstaniec (the “Little Insurrectionist”) is a statue in commemoration of the child soldiers who fought and died during the Warsaw Uprising of 1944. It is located on Podwale Street, next to the ramparts of Warsaw’s Old Town. The statue is of a young boy wearing a helmet too large for his head and holding a submachine gun. It is reputed to be of a fighter who went by the pseudonym of “Antek”, and was killed on 8 August 1944 at the age of 13. The helmet and submachine gun are stylized after German equipment, which was captured during the uprising and used by the resistance fighters against the occupying forces. (Wiki)
The Warsaw Ghetto was the largest of all the Jewish ghettos in German-occupied Europe during World War II.