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“An excellent - surprisingly not dreary - museum”

Pawiak Prison Museum
Ranked #40 of 394 things to do in Warsaw
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Reviewed 17 June 2014

I'd passed by this museum in winter, and if it was possible to look worse, being surrounded by snow didn't help. But it's not supposed to look nice - it's the basement and remains of the front gate of Pawiak Prison. The prison was used as a political prison by the Russians then the Nazis for over 100 years and the Nazis attempted to remove evidence of its existence before their departure at the end of WWII. The museum is based in what's left. The "sister" prison, Serbia (a women's prison) across the road is only marked by a monument but its inmates are also mentioned in the museum here.

When I finally visited, it was superb though. Friendly staff, and in one direction you have former cells with memorials and information in. The prison tries to remember a lot of the inmates - and there were a lot of "normal" people imprisoned here - as well as senior politicians and the odd celebrity.

Rather than a grizzly reminder (that I thought it might be) it seems to be a reflection on the inmates and what they did to remain...well, human. I haven't been to the sister museum where the Gestapo tortured people from this prison, but this museum is very inspiring - and a whole section is devoted to the remaining tree outside which has a story of its own - again a reflection of the Polish people and their dedication to remembering history. Rather than showing horrible photos, there's a lot of art drawn by inmates of each other.

The second second section is more a more general museum Polish and English (and I think there may have been German too) showing the plight of the Polish in WWII. A reminder that not all Nazi occupied lands where treat the same (the Poles had it very bad).

The museum is just off Jan Pawla road - a major tram thoroughfare and trams also travel along Al Solidarnosc nearby from the Old Town. It seems to be open Wednesday-Sunday and bring change as, like many small Polish museums, they don't take cards and don't like change - it only costs PLN8 though (less than £2).

4  Thank escottf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"elm tree"
in 3 reviews
"children born"
in 2 reviews
"death cell"
in 2 reviews
"gestapo hq"
in 2 reviews
"great exhibits"
in 2 reviews
"translated into english"
in 2 reviews
"well worth the visit"
in 4 reviews
"german occupation"
in 3 reviews
"free entry"
in 2 reviews
"interesting place"
in 2 reviews
"world war"
in 3 reviews
"visiting warsaw"
in 3 reviews
"jewish ghetto"
in 2 reviews
"torture"
in 12 reviews
"dolls"
in 19 reviews
"inmates"
in 4 reviews
"information"
in 26 reviews
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69 - 73 of 193 reviews

Reviewed 9 June 2014

There is only a gatepost of the original prison left the remainder having been blown up by the Nazis as they left. The exhibition is housed in a semi-underground bunker which is fittingly chilling.

Many of the exhibits focus on individuals and their fate as they were imprisoned and for almost all made their way on to death camps. It is moving in the extreme and I found tears in my eyes on many occasions as I looked around. I knew of the persecution of the Polish Jews, I was not previously aware that the persecution of the remaining Polish population was so systematic and that so many thousands were imprisoned and in the main tortured here or at Gestapo Headquarters on the other side of town which I did not have time to visit.

1  Thank longhaulfromlondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 June 2014 via mobile

I have been here twice and needless to say it is an interesting historical place to see. It is important to see it if you are visiting Warsaw. You will inside feel the pain of those political prisoners who were either killed or sent to gas chamberd.

Thank Cem K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 May 2014

This is on par with the excellence of the Uprising museum. The exhibits are really informational and there is plenty to occupy you. I didn't feel rushed here as it's of a fairly reasonable size and spaced out.

The museum is quite a trek from the nearest Metro station but I think there's a tramline nearby.

Thank kiwi_dude_39
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 27 March 2014

Pawiak Prison museum is housed in the remnants of the original prison and is testimony to the many atrocities which befell many people in Poland during the occupation. Whilst it is a very small museum, the articles and exhibits on display are quite vast and well labelled. The museum is free to enter on Thursdays and the staff are very helpful and friendly. You can traverse the museum as you please and there are some mock ups of original cells etc. The reproduction tree outside is cast in bronze and is a thought provoking monument. The remains of the old entrance are quite daunting and one can only begin to imagine what went through the minds of those that met their demise here. Again, another museum worthy of a visit if only to serve as a reminder of the dark days in Occupied Eastern Europe.

1  Thank Meet-the-Furkids
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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