Ferrovial La ingeniería civil como arte: creatividad e innovación

A jail for cursed soldiers

Ostroleka, Poland

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An austere, simple red brick building. A grassy, ever-green patio with a simple wooden bench in the center. This seems like a nice, quiet place, but the bars on the doors and windows suggest that perhaps it wasn’t so in the past. At the entrance are two words: Żołnierze wyklęci. The cursed soldiers.

The building that houses the Museum of Cursed Soldiers in the Polish city of Ostrołęka, in the north of the country, recounts one of the toughest eras in the area’s recent history. Those were the years when a threat from the west shifted its border with Germany. Another threat from the east and north would usher in more than 40 years of rule by a foreign power.

Construction of the museum, carried out by Ferrovial’s subsidiary in Poland, Budimex, entailed renovating an old prison from the early 20th century. The historical features and characteristics of the building were maintained, and everything that a modern museum needs was added. Today, the building tells the story of the cursed soldiers over 3,500 square meters. It has done so since its inauguration on March 1, 2019, the date Poland commemorates the trajectory of that symbolic military corps.

The Żołnierze wyklęci included different movements of the Polish resistance formed at the end of World War II and in the first years after the conflict. At that time, the Soviet Union’s army had entered the country to expel Nazi soldiers, and it then made it clear that it wasn’t going to go away nicely.

Those guerrilla movements continued well into the 1950s. One of the resistance’s objectives was to attack the new regime’s prison system. Today, an old rehabilitated jail symbolically holds the memory of all those cursed soldiers.


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