Competition to commemorate Poles
who rescued Jews during the German occupation. 


The Competition is undertaken with the view of creating a Commemoration expressive of gratitude to all the Poles who rescued Jews in German-occupied Poland. Located in the Muranów district of Warsaw, Poland, in the vicinity of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews. Project execution value: 800 000 USD.


Competition phase I

February, 2015 Announcement of Phase I results, selection of five finalist works. 

Competition phase II

from February 2015 Project negotiations and design preparation – Concept of the Commemoration.

April 2015 Announcement of Competition Phase II results, announcement of Competition winner.

Autumn 2015 Unveiling of "The saved to their rescuers" Commemoration.



The Monument is A Dilemma
The Monument is A Forest Nursery
The Monument is A Process
The Monument may be A Failure
The Monument may be A Forest

The plan to erect a monument “From Those You Saved” requires the creation of a *We (“Those”). We believe that the debates among the potential protagonists of that *We represent a unique asset that should be incorporated into the monument.

At its grand opening, the monument is not a forest but a forest nursery. After its opening, a social discourse will aim to create the *We and decide on the future of the monument as a forest, that is, enable it to become a forest - at a location to be decided. The monument is then not only the forest nursery but also the process, which will take place in cooperation with the Polin Museum and is limited to 18 months in duration.

The forest shall eventually be planted permanently in an urban location in Warsaw as a participatory process. The urban location of the forest represents the alienating character of the helping action, of the saving, which was only carried out by a minority of Poles who often remained isolated after 1945. The forest as a monument represents ambiguity. The forest was a place of death, where Jews were killed by execution and in Nazi concentration camps. But the forest was also a hide-out, a place of survival and a place of resistance. Who helped Jews, who saved Jews? It will never be possible to set ultimate criteria, to pinpoint exact numbers. These questions can only be answered with ambiguity. That very ambiguity is represented in the monument.

If the *We fails to materialize and reach an agreement, there will be no forest and the monument fails as well - due to the diminutive nature of the forest nursery and the ephemeral nature of its trees, which would have no space to grow. This inherent fragility is an intricate part of the monument, without which it could not achieve its full dimension. The potential inability to express gratitude as a *We is an intrinsic feature of the entire project from the outset.

Jury remarks

The project represents a novel concept of commemoration via processual aspect rather than monumentality of imposing physical presence. It bases on notions of care, comitment, fragility and risk, as much as the very acts of sheltering the Jews by the Righteous. Another important and inherent aspect of the project relates to it’s participatory and the potential to disseminate the commemoration through time and space. The trees planted in the nursery will perform a function of a message by being distributed and replanted in different locations historically bound to Jewish life in Poland. The jury strongly recommends though, that the placement and the shape of the installation should be reconsidered due to the fact that the site is being used as technical background for large outdoor events organized by the Museum. Also, a more defined architectural form should be given to the socle. However, another element that is vitally related to the very nature of the concept should be well though, which is the maintenance cost, it‘s organization and it’s safety.



The location of the memorial and its meaning have been chosen to convey the story of the Rescuers and the Survivors in a universal way. The elements of the memorial are: The Doors, The Garden of Hope, The Road of the Righteous, Irena Sendler Avenue, Karski’s Bench, Żegota Memorial Plaque, Holocaust Route, The Monument to the Ghetto Heroes, The Tree of Life. Jan Karski and Irena Sendler are the (symbolic) patrons of this Commemoration — they embody the rationale of Poles who rescued Jews. A feature of the design — the open door —inspires reflection on the experience of the Rescuers and those seeking refuge. In addition, this gesture affords a moment of general reflection on the human condition in a state of emergency.

The design references the symbolism of doors and the effort required to undertake an act which, under normal circumstances, is not associated with heroism but which takes on a powerful meaning in times of war and danger.The authors’ propose to place a monumental rotating door — reminiscent of the monolith in Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey” — at the park’s north-eastern corner. The door provides a northern conclusion to the Axis of the Righteous — the footpath around which the Karski, Żegota and Ghetto Heroes’ monuments are aligned (the Irena Sendler Alley acts as its continuation). The door is to be located at the intersection of the Axis of the Righteous and the diagonal path running from the corner of Zamenhofa and Lewartowskiego streets. Depending on its positioning, the door may encourage the use of one or two paths (or obstruct both if set at a 45 degree angle). The door’s position- ing acts as a symbol of the choice to follow one of the available paths. The authors did not specify the material to be used for the door, but the renderings suggest a heavy bronze object requiring significant effort to be rotated — an impression reinforced by hand and finger imprints on its surface. The authors seek to have their design blend into the existing urban context. The only proposed intervention involves the landscaping of a rectangular area west of the Axis of the Righteous to form a "Garden of Hope."

The jury was impressed with the simple idea that captures an important aspect of the history of the rescue of Jews in Poland — the open door as a symbol of refuge. The positive aspects of this project are as follows:

– the entry displays a poetic use of materials and textures, those that are lasting, which will give the memorial a long life with very little main-tenance; 

– the design is conceptually easy to understand, and intellectually accessible to a wide variety of observers and users. This should encourage the public to embrace it;

– the memorial is well-scaled to the existing museum building and grounds, and does not dominate it;

– the memorial speaks to a contemporary audience. The moving door incorporates the concept of “choice,” and the idea that choice is open to each one of us today, in contemporary society in other political contexts;

– the memorial’s location can be adjusted without losing its symbolic power, which means that it might work better at another location on the site. This should be studied, with an emphasis son integrating it with the larger context of the neighborhood.


The main idea of the design is to provide a new structure of one part of the area, a gentle rise of the outer part and a depression in the form of terraces in the central part. The resulting space is to form an enclave, a garden, and a place to relax amid the urban environment. An important element of the design is a wall that provides a record of the history of the Righteous. The implementation of this concept will require a significant transformation of the landscape. At the same time, this form of commemoration does not intend to limit the potential uses of the park, providing instead a space for new kinds of activities.

The design is based on the idea that, for many, rescuing others was a natural act of human decency, an act that they did not consider a form of heroism. The identities and stories of many of the rescuers will remain untold, or only partially told. The proposed Commemoration is a three-level basin located in gently raised ground. The three steel retaining walls forming the basin’s three levels also hold accounts of the rescuers’ heroism. The basin’s soil and plants serve to both hide and reveal the walls and the accounts engraved upon them. The intervention is meant to be a subtle and unimposing form, visible only from nearby, and tied into the larger context by its location along the axis of the Museum’s main hall (from the Karmelicka Street side).

The Jury recognises the design for its location above the ground level. This location eliminates the need to dig and disturb the ground which is so full of history and artefacts of past traumas. It is a public open space that is accessible to visitors and local residents and responds to the request for event spaces / vouners as stated in the terms. It uses simple means to create a peaceful contemplative athmosphere.It provides an opportunity to add descriptions / text to reinforce the aspects of  “commemoration” and “gratitude”.


The monument is to adopt the form of an archaeological site. The designers wish to uncover and reconstruct the remnants of the houses where Jews found refuge, the places that bear testimony to the courage of Poles who risked their own lives to save the lives of others. The memorial as an archaeological site is to reveal the walls of a typical residential building, one that was historically common to the Muranów district. The exposed brick walls merge with the landscape, whilst the interiors are to be realised as spaces for commemoration, contemplation and encounter. Local residents are to be afforded the opportunity to participate in the process of unearthing the traces prior to the commencement of the memorial’s construction.

The authors invoke the idea of home as a place of shelter. The proposed design calls for an abstracted pre-war tenement building with an enclosed courtyard — the type of building that historically dominated Warsaw’s Jewish Quarter. The building’s outline calls to mind an archaeological dig: brick walls gently protruding from the ground provide a subtle symbolism for the presence of the now-invisible world of the pre-war Nalewki district. The walls would be made of salvaged bricks — a reference to the post-war construction of the new Muranów neighbourhood using bricks from the demolished pre-war quarter to create an entirely new Modernist street grid and urban setting. Located at the site’s south-western corner, the Commemoration’s non-monumental scale should help it become a natural place of relaxation and play for local residents, and a counterpoint to the symbolism rich area on the other side of the Museum (from Zamenhofa Street).

The authors invoke the idea of home as a place of According to the jury the work represents a high potential of implementation due to it’s technical simplicity. While referring to a universal notion of a house as a shelter, what was appreciated is the fact that the proposed form evokes architectural typologies that were common not only in the Jewish quarter but also in most of Warsaw’s pre-war downtown, which makes it a meaningful reference for both senior Jewish and Christian Poles. Another motif that the jury perceives as valuable in symbolical terms is the use of bricks recalling the post-war practice of rebuilding Muranów with salvaged bricks from ruined houses (as it was also the case in the rest of Warsaw ).

The proposal offers another quality – the one of using a complex geometry of walls that depending on their height can be used as benches and playing installations for both visitors and local inhabitants. Its form creates an opportunity for different interpretations and uses; from group interactions to individual activities.


The designers of this proposal have asked themselves about the values that motivated people to help Jews whilst facing the prospect of their own death and the death of those whom they protected. For some it was faith in God and love, for others it was the principle of tolerance and human rights. The Righteous opened their hearts to other human beings during the most difficult and testing of times. The idea behind the monument’s design is to commemorate those exceptional relationships: the relationship between the Rescuers and the Survivors. The monument is to open — as a symbolical gesture — onto The Museum of the History of Polish Jews (POLIN) and will be located next to “the avenue of old trees” in the southern corner of the park far from the main access points and walkways. With its gentle form, the memorial seeks to reflect the humility and modesty of the Righteous.

The design consists of a single proposal: two perpendicular cuts in the lawn’s surface with the area at the cuts’ intersection elevated, creating the effect of a sheet of paper being raised by its corner. The resulting change in elevation (from 0 to 250 cm) is filled in with a vertical retaining wall made of polished stone. Near the corner, the phrase “Ratującym –Ocaleni” is embedded in the wall. The entire wall is 75 meters long, with its longer side facing the Museum’s western elevation. From Karmelicka street, the commemorative monument is visible as a sharply peaked grass-covered embankment.

The jury had found this project appealing for the following reasons:

– the design calls for a simple intervention on the ground of the park and has a clear potential to evoke a subtle yet strong affect;

– the design is intelligently situated in the site in relation to the existing park and to the Museum’s building; 

– the design employs both poetic and architectural qualities that the jury found to be in accord with the competition’s request: Poetic – in a sense

Competition Jury



J. Crosbie











architect, curator




architect, sculptor


art historian, curator


The competition is being organized by the
"Remembrance and Future" Foundation.  


Established in 2013 by Polish-Jewish American businessman and philanthropist Zygmunt Rolat, the Remembrance and Future Foundation has tasked itself with creating a Commemoration of Poles who rescued Jews during the German occupation. The Commemoration is to be built in the vicinity of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews and will be entirely financed by private donations from the Jewish community in Israel and abroad. The project has received the support of the President of the Republic of Poland, the Mayor of the City of Warsaw and the leadership of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews.

The project is being overseen by the Polish Committee and Foundation’s International Committee, which features representatives of various Jewish communities in Israel and abroad. Its members include: Zygmunt Rolat – chairman, Hanoch Gutfreund (Israel); Corinne Evens (France); Elżbieta Ficowska, Konstanty Gebert, Adam Rotfeld, Michael Schudrich (Poland); Michael Berkowicz, Abraham Foxman, Wiktor Markowicz, David Marwell (USA).

The Commemoration’s design will be selected through an international "The saved to their rescuers" competition announced on September 8, 2014. The competition is open to experienced artists whose portfolios include successful realizations as well young artists wanting to add their voices to the debate over the Commemoration’s nature and form. The announcement of the Competition’s winning entry is expected to take place in April 2015. The winning project should be built by autumn 2015.


Born in 1930 in Częstochowa, Poland. He spent the war in the Częstochowa Ghetto where he lost his only brother and parents. His brother was the youngest of six Jewish partisans executed by a German firing squad, his father fought and died during an uprising in the Treblinka death camp, his mother died in a death camp. Rolat was deported to the HASAG Pelcery labor camp in Częstochowa. Immediately after the War, he emigrated to the U.S., and obtained a university degree in international relations. He developed a financial firm specializing in imports. He has been visiting Poland since the 1960s, and has been actively engaged in restoring the memory of Częstochowa’s Jews. He is the chairman of the North American Council of the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, and one of the Museum’s major benefactors. He actively supports cultural institutions and events, including Warsaw’s Teatr Wielki, The Częstochowa Philharmonic and the Cracow Jewish Culture Festival. He is also involved in philanthropic activities in the U.S., where he is a member of the Board of Trustees of The Kosciuszko Foundation – the U.S.’s most significant Polish-American cultural and educational institution. Rolat is an Honorary Citizen of the City of Częstochowa. 


Zygmunt Rolat

Chairman of the Board

Adam Daniel Rotfeld

Member of the Board

Konstanty Gebert

Member of the Boad


Karolina Szykier Koszucka – Director

Mailing address
Aleje Jerozolimskie 53, IV p.
00-697 Warsaw

ul. Kacza 9/F, 01-013 Warszawa

NIP: 527 270 31 78
nr konta: 87 1240 6175 1111 0010 5306 8939
IBAN: PL 87 1240 6175 1111 0010 5306 8939
USD Account no.: PL 48 1240 6175 1787 0010 5687 8690
Bank Pekao SA, Oddział w Warszawie
ul. Jasna 1, 00-013 Warszawa


31st of July 2015

The jury of the international „From Those You Saved” competition chose, on April 24, 2015, the work of Eduard Freudmann and Gabu Heindl “The Forest” as the victor of the competition. The organizer of the competition – The Remembrance and Future Foundation  – congratulates the winners for their artistically challenging and provocative work. The Foundation regrets, however, that it will not be able to execute the winning project, as continuous allocation of additional maintenance funds, beyond those allocated to realization of the Commemoration, would be necessary to ensure its ongoing presence. Nor can the Foundation accept a commemoration limited in time.  

The Foundation’s decision is consistent with article 12.C11 of the competition’s Terms and Conditions, which states: “The Organizer does not guarantee that execution of the Commemoration will be possible and will not bear any liability in the event execution of the Commemoration fails to take place, for whatever reason. In such a case, the Organizer will not be under any obligation to execute the Contract for Executive Project Works.”

Ever since the jury reached its decision, the Authors and the Foundation had been engaged in negotiations on overcoming the obstacles in the execution of the victorious project. Unfortunately, no satisfactory solution could be reached. The aforesaid resolution in no way infringes upon the Authors’ other rights as victors of the competition.


25th of April 2015

Dear Sirs,

On Thursday, 23rd April 2015, following lengthy proceedings, the Jury of the international competition for the concept of Commemoration of the Poles who rescued Jews during the German occupation of Poland “From Those – You Saved” selected the best project. The concept that gained recognition of the Jury, headed by Milada Śliźińska, was created by a duo of Austrian architects: Eduard Freudmann and Gabu Heindl.

The project is entitled: Forest. The Jury justified its choice as follows: The project represents a novel concept of commemoration via processual aspect rather than monumentality of imposing physical presence. It bases on notions of care, commitment, fragility and risk, as much as the very acts of sheltering the Jews by the Righteous. Another important and inherent aspect of the project relates to it’s participatory and the potential to disseminate the commemoration through time and space. The trees planted in the nursery will perform a function of a message by being distributed and replanted in different locations historically bound to Jewish life in Poland.

The Board of the Remembrance and Future Foundation has been informed of  the jury's  verdict, and will announce its own the decision in a due time.

Kind regards,



Karolina Szykier-Koszucka
dyrektor fundacji
+48 501 481 376


Presspack 8.09.2014   Presspack 4.02.2015

Aldona Rusiniak

Karolina Szykier-Koszucka
+48 501 481 376

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