Fot. whiteMAD/Mateusz Markowski

Mikołaj Rej Secondary School No. XI in Warsaw – history of the building

The establishment of today’s 11th Mikołaj Rej High School is linked to student strikes in the Kingdom of Poland in 1905. In response to these events, a document was issued allowing some subjects to be taught in Polish and Lithuanian. In the same year, the Church College of the Evangelical-Augsburg Church in Warsaw accepted Rev. Julian Machlejd’s request to apply to the authorities for permission to open a private male educational institution with Polish as the language of instruction

on 1 September 1906, the eight-class Mikołaj Rej Gymnasium, maintained by the Evangelical-Augsburg Church in Warsaw, was opened. Julian Machlejd became the first director of the gymnasium. Initially, 200 pupils attended the school. It placed particular emphasis on moral and social education in the spirit of patriotism and religious tolerance. In the inter-war period, the National Gymnasium Organisation and ONR school groups were very influential in the establishment

Photo: whiteMAD/Mateusz Markowski

XI Liceum

In 1939, in the first days of the war, the school building was handed over to the Polish military authorities as a hospital. A year later, clandestine teaching began (among other things, secret baccalaureates were organised). During the Warsaw Uprising, the school building was a battleground. Partly taken over by Poles and partly by Germans, it became known as “Reduta Reja”. After the end of the uprising, part of the school building from Kredytowa Street up to the level of the staircase was completely demolished. Approximately 300 teachers, alumni and pupils of the school perished during the Second World War. The destroyed building was only rebuilt in a small part, where classes resumed in 1949. The school was nationalised three years later. In 1965, the extension of the school building towards Królewska Street was completed

The building in the pre-war years and today. Source: NAC – National Digital Archives and whiteMAD/Mateusz Markowski

The building at the turn of the 1940s and 1950s. The photo (scan) comes from the weekly Stolica no. 42 (1856) 16.10.1983

After more than a century, despite the numerous historical and political changes in Poland, the school maintains its traditions and remains faithful to the values passed on by successive generations of its graduates. According to the Perspektywa rankings, the Mikołaj Rej Secondary School No. XI is at the top of Warsaw’s secondary schools. Its motto, partly placed on the façade of the building, is the phrase “MACTE ANIMO – SIC ITUR AD ASTRA” by the Roman poet Publius Papinius Stacius. It can be translated as “Onward young man – courage – this is how you go to the stars!”


Read also: Architecture | City | History | Education | Warsaw | Architecture in Poland

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