Photo: Wojciech Kryński, Jan Morek
The Royal Castle in Warsaw, being a symbol of the sovereignty of the Polish State, became a target for German military attacks as early as in the first days of the World War II. On 17 September 1939 it was in flames. At the same time Polish museum workers and conservators, risking their own lives, were trying to salvage the most precious art collections, as well as decorative elements from the Castle rooms. Aware that the occupants have made a decision to blow the Castle up, they were already thinking about the future reconstruction of the building. The act of destruction was completed during the Warsaw Uprising in September 1944, when German sappers blasted the Castle walls. For many years after the war the Castle’s reconstruction was advocated by a group of people close to Professor Stanisław Lorentz.
The final decision to begin the reconstruction was made in January 1971. The construction works started in September 1971. The first stage of the project – body of the building in an unfinished state – was completed by July 1974. In 1977 first interiors were ready. The next ones were delivered in August 1984, during an official ceremony of opening of the Castle to the public. Handing the reconstructed Royal Castle to the nation was an act of honouring all of those, who, during the occupation, with the greatest dedication and risking their own lives, saved the Castle and the Castle art works for the future generations.