Warsaw, 1955-1957

The 1950s in Warsaw were a period of accelerated modernization. The main streets and squares in the downtown were finally cleared of rubble, while shopping and social life gathered pace in the newly built neighbourhoods. Sumiński’s earliest negatives offer a fascinating insight the city’s life and the pastimes of its residents. A ski-jumping contest on a hill in Mokotów, socializing at the MDM café, shopping at a street book stall and at a fabric store all form a – polished up? – image of prosperity and abundance of both basic and luxury goods. In 1955, Sumiński documented two events that recast Warsaw as a modern European capital: the inauguration of the Joseph Stalin Palace of Culture and Science (22 July) and the 5th World Festival of Youth and Students (31 July – 15 August).
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