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Jerzy Chojnacki „Chojna”
Jerzy Chojnacki "Chojna" was born on 20 December 1909 in Lublin. He studied sculpture at the State Timber Industry School in Zakopane (1923-1928), at the State School for Decorative and Industrial Arts in Krakow (1928-1933) and at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw (1933-1939). In the Uprising, he was active as a photo-reporter, working with the permission of Col. Stanisław Steczkowski ‘Zagończyk’, of the fourth Region, Central Warsaw District I command. He worked in the Old Town, photographing the area along Piwna, Podwale, Miodowa and Długa streets. He was evacuated along with the civilian population. He was transported to the Gross-Rosen concentration camp via a transit camp in Pruszków and later on to Mauthausen-Gusen; he worked in a forced labour unit sent to Vienna. In 1945 he returned to Warsaw. For years, he was connected with Saska Kępa. After the war he was an active sculptor and art promoter, and took part in many exhibitions. He has been the recipient of many prizes and distinctions for artistic achievement. His most well known work is his stature of the Varsovian Mermaid in Praga district. He died on 26 May 1988 in Warsaw.

  • His subject choice was determined by his superiors, which is perhaps why Chojnacki's images represent the most accurate known photographic documentation of the Old Town barricades, trenches and fortifications. Negatives sent on the orders of the military authorities to a laboratory in central Warsaw to be printed were lost. The only ones that remain are those that were buried in the courtyard of a house at 40 Freta Street before the Old Town was evacuated – 15 films out of 50 exposed, in 6x9 cm format. Chojnacki photographed the Uprising with his own SLR camera, with materials obtained from the regional leadership as well as those he had gathered himself before the outbreak of the Uprising. 

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