Check out the A&B portal!

Gdansk. Beautiful monument written off

11 of December '23

A more than 100-year-old historic villa in Gdansk has been deteriorating for many years, in front of everyone's eyes. This year the owner first asked the City for a grant, only to unexpectedly give it up. So the money went back into the city's coffers, and the future of the valuable building looks dark.

This is one of those buildings that, if only it had been meticulously restored, would have become a beautiful landmark of the district. Unfortunately, nothing indicates this - today the villa at 2 Orzeszkowa Street in Gdañsk's Aniołki resembles a ruin more than a valuable object.

The villa was built in 1922 by Leon Astrachan, a wealthy Jewish merchant from Minsk. In the early 1930s it housed the offices of the Gdansk Customs Inspectorate, but also the apartments of customs officers. Later, the building changed its function several times - after World War II, the Municipal Security Office occupied the building, a sobering-up room operated there, and in the 1990s a health care facility. Finally, in 2004 the property, which belonged to the city, fell into private hands. Although the deed obligated the buyer to carry out renovations within a few years, it was to no avail.

villa on the register of monuments

A chance for rescue was also to be entered in the register of historical monuments in 2015. The procedure was initiated by Dariusz Chmielewski, then Pomeranian provincial conservator of monuments. At the time, expert reports indicated that many valuable elements had been preserved in the building despite the destruction, and the villa could still be saved.

As a result, the owner received subsidies to carry out the work - from the City (in 2018 - 390 thousand for work on the foundation slab), but also from the conservator and the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

The last of these was awarded by city councilors last May, and it was not without controversy. Opposition councilors were opposed to granting the money - which was to be used, among other things, to complete the roof repairs. They pointed out that the owner of the landmark has not maintained any contact with the City and has not communicated about the future of the building. Only the developer's inspector appeared at the sustainability committee.

Stan willi przy Orzeszkowej w maju tego roku

The condition of the villa on Orzeszkowa Street in May of this year

photo Piotr Wittman/

owner reaches for grant and gives it up

The amount of the grant was 420 thousand zlotys, the work was to be done by the end of this year. On the scale of the entire program, this is quite a lot, considering that the total budget reached PLN 3.8 million, and the money was distributed among 22 applications for conservation, restoration and construction works.

The committee reviewing the grant applications, as we are dealing with the disposition of public finances, is guided by the fact that the objects subjected to renovation should serve all Danzigers and Danzigers," said Katarzyna Czerniewska, vice-chairwoman of the Land Use Committee in the Gdansk City Council.

According to previous announcements, a museum of the Polish community in the Free City of Gdansk was to be built on Orzeszkowa Street. Unfortunately, recent news makes hopes for the imminent rescue of the historic villa thaw.

In November 2023, the owner of the building submitted a written resignation from the subsidy, reports Joanna Bieganowska of the press office of the Gdansk City Hall.

The reasons are not known. Perhaps the owner was counting on other funds that could not be obtained. Maybe the works could not be completed on time. It is not known what fate awaits the monument. Time is working against it.

Ewa Karendys

The vote has already been cast