About Mila 18 Memorial
Mila 18 Memorial was the site of the headquarters “bunker” of the Jewish Combat Organization, a Jewish resistance group in the Warsaw Ghetto in Poland during World War Two.
Mila 18 Memorial history
A grass mound and monument now marks the spot from where the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943 was lead by the Jewish Combat Organisation (ŻOB – Żydowska Organizacja Bojowa), and where many of its fighters, including commander-in-chief Mordechai Anielewicz, are buried.
The bunker was constructed by a group of underworld smugglers in the same year, however three weeks after the start of the uprising, the bunker was discovered by the Nazis on 8 May and tear gas was used to try and force the fighting command out. Some did escape, however, the majority chose to commit suicide by ingesting poison rather than surrender. Their bodies were never exhumed after 1945 and the site became a war memorial.
In 1946, the monument known as “Anielewicz Mound”, made of the rubble of Miła houses, was erected. A commemorative stone with the inscription in Polish and Yiddish was placed on top of the mound. 60 years lates, a new obelisk designed by Hanna Szmalenberg and Marek Moderau was added to the memorial.
The inscription in Polish, English and Yiddish reads: “Grave of the fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising built from the rubble of Miła Street, one of the liveliest streets of pre-war Jewish Warsaw… It is the place of rest of over one hundred fighters, only some of whom are known by name. Here they rest, buried as they fell, to remind us that the whole earth is their grave.”
Mila 18 Memorial today
Mila 18 is a significant memorial consisting of a small Obelisk with the names of 51 Jewish fighters enscribed on it and a commemorative stone at the top of a stairway. The site is considered to be a quiet and hidden gem, often with no crowds. It is a small, mostly fenced-in lot in a quiet residential neighborhood. At first impression it looks like a perfect place to build a house, but this is no normal building lot – this is a memorial to heroes.
There is a cobblestone path leading to some cobblestone steps leading to the top of a mound surrounded by trees. Surrounding the memorial are some high rise apartments and a concrete monument with many names on it. There are often candles and a Star of David wreath along with other items at the base of the monument that were left here by others who will not let the memory of these heroes fade.
Getting to Mila 18 Memorial
Tucked off on a side street, the former bunker site not far from the POLIN museum of the History of Polish Jews. The address of the site is Miła 2, 00-001 Warszawa, Poland. The site is open for 24 hours every day and is roughly a 5 minute walk away from Warsaw New Town. The nearest train station is Warsaw Central.