3.5" long, 1" wide
Made in Poland
The mezuzah comes from the building located in the former Warsaw Ghetto area. During World War II, two Polish residents of the tenement sheltered two Jews – all of them survived the War. The tenement at Próżna Street is one of the few buildings in Warsaw that survived War. The trace of the mezuzah is not visible from the street. It is locaded inside of building – in main hall which is permanently closed.
This mezuzah is a part of the Mi Polin "Mezuzah From This Home" project. This project commemorates the Jewish life of pre-war Poland by taking mezuzah casts from the door frames of once Jewish homes. They symbolize the emptiness of now vacant homes, the remembrance of those who lived there, and the reclaiming of the mezuzah, which for years remained empty but now can fulfill its role in Judaica at home. Each mezuzah is cast in bronze with a Shin and the area which it was cast from engraved on the side. It also has an open space in the back for a scroll. The kosher scroll is not included.
The Story Behind This Mezuzah
In 1899, the four-storied tenement on Próżna 14 was built by Mayer Wolanowski, the owner of the Factory of Screws and Wires in Warsaw. Próżna 14 was a luxury equipped building with flats for rent. The street itself had typically mercantile character. On the ground level there were shops and workshops: department store of Meerson and Epstein, ironmonger’s of Maurice Graff and „H. B. Lebelsond”, a shop of P. Brykier with wooden boards for frames and “Autoprodukt” (phone number 2 65 24). Mordka Berghauer was a saddler there.
From December 1940 until March 1941 Próżna 14 was a part of the Warsaw Ghetto. In 1943 the Polish tailor Rogoziński sheltered 2 Jews, Notke and Mietek, in this building. The watchman of the building Jabłoński, with the building owner, and with Notke and Mietek built double wall in the hall of Próżna 14 with a secret exit in case of a danger. All of them survived the War.
In 1944, during the Warsaw Uprising, a barricade was erected between buildings number 9 and 14. Number 14 was the headquarters of 9th squadron of “Kiliński” battalion, from where they prepared the attack of the PAST building (Polish Telephone Joint-Stock Company), one of the most important battles during the Warsaw Uprising. The soldiers of „Kiliński” battalion won the battle after 20 days of fighting. Zbigniew Grabowski, pseudonym „Chemist”, grandfather of Helena Czernek, co-founder of MI POLIN, took part in this battle. A field hospital and a kitchen serving the insurgents were located in the basement of Próżna 14. From the staff report from September 5, 1944: “The building at Próżna 14 is burning. The fire couldn’t be located.The troop was evacuated to Próżna 9”
After War the tenement at Próżna 14 became a property of the Polish National Treasury. It has never been renovated and fell into disrepair. It had social housing character. Currently, it is impossible to enter Próżna 14 because of a poor condition of the building. Last years, the building was completely looted. Próżna is the only street in the area of Warsaw Ghetto, that survived the War, and kept it’s original buildings. Because of this Próżna is an important tourist destination. The future of building is unknown.