Warsaw: A Phoenix from the Ashes (Part Two)

The day after Bojan had shown us the southern part of the former ghetto, my friends and I decided to take a similar route, so that we could take our time more slowly and have more of a chance to reflect on what we were seeing.
We began by visiting the Palace of Culture and Science, and taking the lift up 30 floors to the viewing platform at the top. The views of the city were fantastic (see 1. - 4. below). Warsaw is such a dynamic city with different elements scattered all around it. Towering, glossy skyscrapers have been built next to Communist-style blocks of flats and shops; the city's impressive football stadium lies across the river, near the Old Town. If you know where to look, you can also see remnants from the past; buildings that stood standing after Warsaw was razed to the ground during the 1940s. It truly is a city of beauty and surprises.

Once we had left the Palace, we walked in search of some of the places we had been taken to the day before. We visited the market at Hala Mirowska before arriving, once again, at the Nożyk Synagogue (5.), the only surviving pre-war synagogue in Warsaw. Bojan had informed us that the only reason the building had not been destroyed by the Nazis was because it was used as a stables for their horses during the war, which enraged our entire group. Thankfully, it is now a place of prayer and worship for the Jewish community once again, and has been restored to its former glory.
Nearby is an unassuming 'white building' at 6 Twarda Street, another building to survive the Warsaw Ghetto. It was once used for women's bathing and also as a clinic to treat those suffering from tuberculosis; nowadays, the building is used for lectures, prayer meetings and sports clubs. Its fate, however, is undecided; there are plans to tear the building down to make way for yet another skyscraper in Warsaw. You can read about this debate here.

The synagogue is located near to Grzybowki Square, which joins onto Próżna Street, the site of the old buildings of residence that once stood in the Warsaw Ghetto and have remained in the condition that they were left in (see Part One of this blog).
On the other side of the square is the All Saints Church (6.), which was also included in the Ghetto during the Nazi occupation. Although the Ghetto was for Jews, some Christians of Jewish origin did use the church, causing hostilities amongst the more Orthodox Jews who scorned Catholicism. The church was damaged in 1939, particularly the roof, but much of the structure is original. On the walls of the church are a few plaques, written in Polish but containing names such as 'Gross-Rosen' (7.). I could only assume that these were memorials for those who once visited the church during its enclosure in the Ghetto and were later deported and murdered.
In later years, the church was visited by Pope John Paul II, himself a native Pole. A large statue on the steps of the church pays tribute to him (8.) and a carpet of flowers, candles and lamps frequently adorn the feet of the statue. His statue faces towards the old buildings of Próżna Street, and although the Pope was not Jewish, it gives me comfort to think of a blessing and commemoration given towards the buildings, moulded into one eternal expression, as though showing those who once lived in those buildings - and quite possibly never made it back to Warsaw - that they will never be forgotten.