Tchorek Plaques – Warsaw, Poland - Atlas Obscura

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Tchorek Plaques

These plaques found across Warsaw commemorate the sites where executions or battles took place during the German occupation. 


There are many of these Tchorek plaques spread across the city of Warsaw, they can be found in various locations where battles or executions took place during the German occupation of Poland during World War II.

These plaques all have the same design, so once you’ve found one, it’s easy to spot others. In 1948, a nationwide competition was announced to design a memorial plaque to commemorate the Polish struggle under German occupation. An original design by the sculptor Karol Tchorek was deemed the winner—hence the name Tchorek Plaques.

In the 1950s and 60s, these plaques were installed at the sites of notable events. Some are free-standing monuments, while others are affixed to walls and buildings.

The central motif of the original design is the Maltese Cross. A shield in the middle of the cross is usually engraved with the inscription: “MIEJSCE UŚWIĘCONE KRWIĄ POLAKÓW POLEGŁYCH ZA WOLNOŚĆ OJCZYZNY,” which translates as: “this place is sanctified by the blood of Poles fighting for the freedom of their homeland.” Some of the Tchorek plaques have minor changes to this standardized wording. Under the Maltese Cross, there is usually a short inscription in Polish that describes the event that is being commemorated on each specific plaque. 

It has since been discovered that there are occasional factual errors on the plaques, perhaps due to the rush to produce and display them, such as an incorrect date or an inaccurate number of victims. Interestingly, several of the Tchorek plaques commemorate events about which there is no mention in historical sources.

The exact number of Tchorek plaques that were created is not known, and many have been lost over time. There were approximately 200 in existence in 1983, and around 160 remained in 2013. In 2009, Warsaw appointed a team to make an inventory of the plaques still in existence but no attempt was made to correct errors in the inscriptions.

Know Before You Go

The plaques are spread across the city, only one random location is pinned on the map.

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November 25, 2021

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