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Occupied Warsaw start slideshow >

The photographs in this category show Warsaw from the beginning of the Second World War in September 1939 until the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising in August 1944. The restrictions towards the Polish under the German occupation included the ban of owning a camera. The photographs taken by Władysław Martyka in this period are exceptional in this situation. He portrayed his friends and family strolling in parks, resting on Vistula river beaches and working. Lt. Stefan Bałuk, a “cichociemny” (the „Silent and Unseen” – parachute soldier of the Polish Army in exile) transferred to Warsaw in spring 1944, in hiding documented German fortifications: bunkers, sentry boxes, and barriers. But he also captured everyday life of the occupied city: crowded trams, tradesmen, boys swimming in a water reserve in Napoleon Square. Mieczysław Bil-Bilażewski’s photographs have a particular character. He was a professional photographer who, most likely with the permission of German authorities, photographed the Warsaw ghetto. The comfort of using photo cameras belonged to German soldiers. Their private images show the city streets, sidewalks, cafes; as well as the destruction from the September 1939  fights in defence of Warsaw.

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