Historische Anthropologie: Kultur - Gesellschaft - Alltag vol:18 issue:3 pages:404-422
This article analyzes letters, the Polish Architect Szymon Syrkus (1892–1964) wrote to his wife Helena Syrkus while being imprisoned in Auschwitz between October 1942 and January 1945. The focus of the interpretation is on Syrkus’ visions of architecture and urbanism, which feature strongly throughout the letters. Syrkus’ thinking is interpreted both as a result of the extreme conditions prevailing in the concentration camp but also of his particular experience and professional career before World War II. Pre-war characteristics of Syrkus’ work, in particular the social dimension of architecture and radical plans for minimum housing, even gained in importance and prefigured Syrkus’ visions for a post-war Warsaw, which he saw in an astonishingly optimistic way.