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Danuta Smoszewska „Sawo”
Danuta Smoszewska “Sawo” was born on 22 August 1922 in Warsaw. Before the war, she was a schoolgirl and a scout with the 19th Emilia Plater troop at Praga district. In September 1939, she was receiving dispatches from soldiers in the Telecommunications and Telegraph building on Nowogrodzka Street. She joined the underground in October 1942 and held sanitary and military training. During the Uprising, Smoszewska served as a paramedic and courier, first at the Powiśle Power Plant building, and then from 6 August, with the Władysław Sikorski Regiment of National Armed Forces in “Technician’s House” at 3\5 Czackiego Street. She took part in several actions, including the capture of the Holy Cross Church and Police Headquarters on Krakowskie Przedmieście Street. On 11 August, she received heavy burns, and was taken to a field hospital set up in the Communal Savings Bank building on the corner of Traugutta and Czackiego Streets. On 5 October, she left the city as part of the civilian evacuation. She was to be transferred to Auschwitz via a transit camp in Pruszków. She and her mother escaped from a train on 13 October and reached Zakopane. In March 1945, Smoszewska returned to Warsaw, graduating from the Warsaw School of Economics later that year. She worked for the National Economy Bank (BGK), Municipal Waterworks and Sewer Enterprise and Institute of Mechanized Construction. She was repeatedly detained for her Uprising activity. Smoszewska died on 1 September 1996 in Warsaw.

  • Danuta Smoszewska left a collection of 32 photographs taken between 1945 and 1947. The first group show grave-side vigils and statues of the Insurgents at the Powązki Military Cemetery. The second group is a documentation of the ruins found in Old Town. Despite the subject matter of the frames, their soft light, careful composition, and calculated exposures show that Smoszewska’s photographs are more reminiscent of the romantic visions of the Polish pictorialists than a realistic documentation of a destroyed city.
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