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Zagórna 3
The History of 3 Zagórna Street

The building at 3 Zagórna Street (9 Zagórna Street before World War II) was built in 1915. A well-known Warsaw magnate and philanthropist of the time, Wojciech Sawicki, insurrectionist of the 1864 uprising and manager of Bank Handlowy, the oldest commercial bank in Poland, founded the building as an orphanage for poor children from Powiśle Czerniakowskie district (mainly young girls).

It was the only welfare and educational institution in Powiśle district of the time, the latter being industrialized at the turn of the XXth century.

The plot on which the building is situated used to be a part of the oldest botanical garden in Europe. In the XVIIIth century the famous gardens of Prince Kazimierz Poniatowski, brother of King Stanisław August, stretched down towards the Vistula River. They covered the area between the present day streets of Książęca, Rozbrat, Górnośląska and Wiejska. In independent Poland, from 1919 the building housed the State School Number 29, managed by a famous educationalist, Józef Wójcik. The school area stretched out alongside Zagórna Street, from Czerniakowska Street to Solec Street. The sports field was close to Czerniakowska Street. There were running tracks, shot-put and discus ranges, and pitches for playing ball. The school garden with various botanical specimens was situated at the rear of the school, close to Solec Street. The level of Solec Street was higher than that of Czerniakowska Street, so the school started a rock garden on that natural bank. There was also a summer house and a pool with a fountain in the garden. Each class of students had their own flower bed to cultivate.

Among the graduates of the school there were many soldiers of the resistance movement, fighting for freedom of Poland during World War II. One of them was Jan Bytnar "Rudy", a hero of AK (Polish Home Army). In 1940 the building was occupied by a motorized Wehrmacht unit.

During the Warsaw Uprising of 1944 the area was a battlefield for soldiers of "Kryska" battalion commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Zygmunt Netzer. Soldiers of the 3rd Armoured Division (known under the name of “kościuszkowcy”) fought there as well after their September ’44 crossing of the Vistula River. The building used to serve as a field hospital during the ’44 Warsaw Uprising. When it was captured by the Germans some of the wounded were executed while the rest was taken to the Gestapo headquarters in Szucha Avenue.

After World War II the building at 3 Zagórna Street became a school again. In 1961 it gave place to the Children’s Home Number 10. The Youth Research Institute, an institution conducting research on youth issues for the purpose of educational system, was the host of the building from 1972 until 1983. In 1983 the Youth Problems Research Institute was founded, its responsibility being focused on scientific and research work concerning the youth.

Since 1991 the building has been managed by the Chancellery of the Sejm. It houses the Bureau of Research (Biuro Analiz Sejmowych) and Sejm Publishing House (Wydawnictwo Sejmowe). The building and its premises are a historical monument, listed in the Warsaw register of historical buildings as number 1492.

The building at 3 Zagórna Street is an Art Nouveau style building with many architectural details. The two bronze plaques which are a part of the border break decoration (one with a low relief of St. Mary of Częstochowa, and the other with the founder’s name and the date the building was built) are of special historical value. They are enclosed in spiral scrolls with garlands and topped with a segmental arch. Inside the building there is another historical bronze plaque, dedicated to the building’s founder. It was made by a Warsaw company, W. Gontarczyk and K. Reidt. The Ionic columns and a staircase with a balustrade made of manually wrought iron are also worth mentioning.

Nowadays at 5 Zagórna Street, once the sports field of the former school, there is a church of St. Mary of Częstochowa for Powiśle district. When it comes to the former school garden, it was situated where the Warsaw Etap Hotel is today. Zagórna Street used to nearly reach the Vistula River. Today the street is cut off from the river and shortened by six house numbers. This is the reason why the address of our building was changed from 9 Zagórna Street to 3 Zagórna Street.


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