Trafostacja Sztuki w Szczecinie ul. ┼Üwi─Ötego Ducha 4 OPEN Tue-Sun 11 amÔÇô7 pm +48 91 400 00 49

Natalia Romik
The Architecture
of Survival

Exhibition co-organised by Zach─Öta ÔÇö National Gallery of Art and TRAFO Trafostacja Sztuki in Szczecin, where it will be shown from 4┬áAugust to 6┬áNovember 2022.


curators: Stanisław Ruksza, Kuba Szreder

scientific collaboration: Aleksandra Janus


producers: Michał Kubiak and Anna Muszyńska (Zachęta), Andrzej Witczak (TRAFO Trafostacja Sztuki)

collaboration: Julia Leopold and Aleksandra Zientecka (Zacheta Gallery), Taras Nazaruk and Maryana Mazurak (Centre for Urban History of East-Central Europe in Lviv)

graphic design: Piotr Jakoweńko (Senna Kolektyw)

exhibition architecture: Sebastian Kucharuk (Senna Kolektyw)


coordination: collaboration in the making of models and sculptural forms: Agnieszka Szreder, Rafał Żwirek, Oleksii Konoshenko

silvering of sculptural forms: Monuments Conservation Studio ÔÇö Piotr Pelc

preparation of scans and 3D models: ArchiTube

documentary film director: Peter Prestel


financial support for the exhibition: Taube Foundation for Jewish Life & Culture

public programme partner: Rozen Family Foundation

financing the documentary part: Gerda Henkel Stiftung

funding for a research project in Ukraine: Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland

funding of the conference accompanying the exhibition: Global Education Outreach Program (GEOP) ÔÇö POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews

collaboration on a public programme: Austrian Cultural Forum


The exhibition is a summary of Natalia RomikÔÇÖs research project supported by the Gerda Henkel Stiftung and the Foundation for the Memory of the Shoah.



This exhibition would not have taken place without the support and cooperation of many people. Special thanks are due to: Sofia Dyak, Joanna Fikus, Murray Fraser, Irena Grudzi┼äska-Gross, Fran├žois Guesnet, Jonathan Hill, Piotr Jakowe┼äko and Sebastian Kucharuk (Senna Kolektyw), Joanna J├│zik and El┼╝bieta Dul (Monument Conservation Studio ÔÇö Piotr Pelc), Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, Przemys┼éaw Klu┼║niak and Karolina ┼ü─ůtka and the ArchiTube team, Oleksii Konoshenko, Luiza Nader, Taras Nazaruk and Maryana Mazurak (Centre for Urban History of East-Central Europe in Lviv), Piotr Pelc, Shana Penn, Peter Prestel and Klaus Hernitschek and Maximilian Schecker, Agata Rakowiecka, Matan Shefi, Aga Szreder and Rafa┼é ┼╗wirek, Dariusz Stola, Stanis┼éaw Welbel, Hanna Wr├│blewska, Marta Wr├│bel, the Jewish Community of Warsaw, the Jewish Community Center Warsaw and the Tarbut program, the Association of the Jewish Historical Institute, as well as the people who supported the research of particular hiding places presented in the exhibition: Waldemar and Anna Andrzejewski, Krystian Banik, Manya Berenholz and Helen Schwartz, ┬áKrzysztof Bielawski, Jerzy Bielczyk, Liana Blicharska, Abraham Carmi, Larissa Chulovskaya, Jenya Chulovskyi, Jolanta Cyganek, Krystyna and Witold Czartoryski, Marta Dobecka and Marcin Powier┼╝a, Iryna Dobrokhodska and Serhii Dobrokhodskyi, Rabbi Yehoshua Ellis, Serhii Epifanov, Marta Fr─ůckiewicz and Erika Krzyczkowska-Roman (POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews), Dalia Gordon, Jan Jagielski, Karolina Jakowe┼äko (CukermanÔÇÖs Gate Foundation and Babiniec Festival), Marek Je┼╝owski, Jadwiga Kobylec, Vlodko Kostyrko, Marek Kr─Öpiec (AGH University of Science and Technology in Krak├│w), Bo┼╝ena and Grzegorz Kujawowicz, Micha┼é Laszczkowski, Szymon Lenarczyk, Kamil Mendocha, Ewa Mroczka and Rafa┼é Godek (County Centre for Culture and Tourism in Wi┼Ťniowa), Natalia Mysak, Chris Nicola, Marla Raucher Osborn, Jay Osborn (Rohatyn Jewish Heritage), Avihu Ronen, Oleh Rybchynskyi, Piotr Rypson, Andrii Ryshtun and Anna Tychka (Urban Explorers Lviv), Wies┼éaw and Danuta Salamon, Aleksander Schwarz (Forgotten Foundation), the┬á Immaculate Sisters of Jaros┼éaw: Anastazja, Xawera and Bernadetta, Karol Skar┼╝y┼äski, Dmitri Solomko and Magdalena Olak, Mykhailo Sokhatskyi, Remigiusz Sosnowski and Witold Wrzosi┼äski (Foundation for Documentation of Jewish Cemeteries), Magdalena Sugalska, Przemys┼éaw Szpilman, Wojciech Tabaszewski, Janet Tobias


Thu 31 Mar 2022 —
Sun 17 Jul 2022
Zach─Öta - National Gallery of Art in Warsaw
Sat 14 May 2022
wst─Öp wolny 18:00 - 24.00


Wed 06 Jul 2022 —
Thu 07 Jul 2022


Thu 04 Aug 2022 —
Sun 06 Nov 2022
TRAFO Center for Contemporary Art in Szczecin

See also

Natalia RomikÔÇÖs exhibition is an artistic tribute to survival architecture, the hiding places built and used by Jews during the Holocaust. They used tree hollows, wardrobes, urban sewers, caves or empty graves to create temporary shelters. In the exhibition rooms of the Zach─Öta gallery, mirror casts of nine hiding places from Poland and present-day Ukraine are presented. The sculptural forms are accompanied by an exhibition presenting the results of interdisciplinary research carried out by Natalia Romik and Aleksandra Janus together with a team of anthropologists, historians, archaeologists and urban explorers.

Artistically modifying models of the hiding places, which by definition must remain invisible to the unauthorised eye, Romik plays with visibility as an essential property of their architectural form. The tragic history of the Holocaust is the starting point for a universal reflection on methods of survival in situations of existential threat, their bodily, social and architectural dimensions. The installation pays tribute to the daily toil of those in hiding and those who provided hiding places, their creativity, solidarity, and will to live, often overlooked in the tradition of heroic commemorations that celebrate mainly heroes and leaders. It also problematises the theme of commemorating invisible architecture which, despite its invisibility, is an important historical testimony. At the same time, models of the hiding places connote a place of human seclusion. They can also be read in a broader existential perspective, such as the tragedy of refugees and giving them shelter during migration or persecution in countries threatened by military conflicts.

The exhibition reflects on fundamental problems of architecture and social coexistence, such as the relationship between form and function or the design and use of space. The hiding places were often created ad hoc, out of the need of the moment, in places originally unsuitable for it. They are a testament to the architectural creativity of users who had to secure the basic needs of sustaining life ÔÇö sometimes for many years ÔÇö with minimal resources, without being able to radically alter the space available to them. Attics, cellars, caves, trees or even tombs were given a completely new function, the condition of which was to maintain a semblance of their previous form ÔÇö to provide effective protection, the attic had to look like an ordinary attic and the tree like an ordinary tree.

The exhibition is at the same time a summary of the research process carried out using an interdisciplinary repository comprising architectural and artistic techniques, archival research and social science methods. The project is part of a broader trend of reflection on the cognitive potential of architecture and art, using it to reflect on the community established in situations of threat ÔÇö be it political, economic or climatic.



  1. Preserved entrance to the hideout in a private house in Zhovkva, Ukraine, photo: Natalia Romik
  2. 3D scan of the hideout in a private house in Zhovkva, Ukraine, Przemyslaw Klu┼║niak (ArchiTube)
  3. The hideout in plot no. 41, Okopowa St. Jewish cemetery, Warsaw, photo: Natalia Romik
  4. Rest during the research in Ozerna cave, Ukraine, photo: Natalia Romik