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Coordinates: 52°7′N 21°16′E / 52.117°N 21.267°E / 52.117; 21.267
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Świdermajer-styled house in Otwock
Świdermajer-styled house in Otwock
Flag of Otwock
Coat of arms of Otwock
Otwock is located in Poland
Coordinates: 52°7′N 21°16′E / 52.117°N 21.267°E / 52.117; 21.267
Country Poland
Voivodeship Masovian
GminaOtwock (urban gmina)
City rights9 November 1916
 • City mayorJarosław Margielski (PiS)
 • Total47.33 km2 (18.27 sq mi)
100 m (300 ft)
 • Total44,635
 • Density940/km2 (2,400/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
 • Summer (DST)UTC+2 (CEST)
Postal code
05-400 to 05-402
Area code+48 022
Car platesWOT
Voivodeship roads

Otwock [ˈɔtfɔt͡sk] (Yiddish: אָטוואָצק) is a city in the Masovian Voivodship in east-central Poland, some 23 kilometres (14 mi) southeast of Warsaw, with 44,635 inhabitants (2019). Otwock is a part of the Warsaw metropolitan area. It is situated on the right bank of Vistula River below the mouth of Świder River. Otwock is home to a unique architectural style called Świdermajer.

It is the capital of Otwock County. The town covers the area of 47 square kilometres (18 sq mi). Forested areas make up 23% of the territory, and there are several nature reserves.


"The Commandant" Józef Piłsudski with his legionaries in Otwock in 1915

Even though the first mention of a village called Otwosko comes from the early 15th century, Otwock did not fully develop until the second half of the 19th century, when in 1877 the Vistula River Railroad was opened, which ran from Mława via Warsaw, to Lublin and Chełm. Otwock, which is located along the line, became a popular suburb, with numerous spas and several notable guests, including Józef Piłsudski and Władysław Reymont, who wrote his Nobel prize-winning novel Chłopi there. The Zofiówka Sanatorium was opened in Otwock in 1908. In 1916, Otwock was incorporated as a town and became the seat of a powiat.

During the Battle of Warsaw (1920), Otwock, along with nearby Karczew, constituted the edge of the right wing of the first line of Polish defense and was manned by the Polish 15th Infantry Division, whereas the second line of Polish defense began in the present-day neighborhood of Świdry Wielkie; however, there was no Polish-Russian fighting in Otwock.[1]

In 1936 the Warsaw - Otwock railway connection was the first rail line to be electrified in Poland.

World War II

Layover yard in Otwock, 19 August 1942. In the distance, Jews sit on the ground overnight, while awaiting transport to Treblinka extermination camp. Clandestine photo

Following the German–Soviet invasion of Poland, which started World War II in September 1939, the town was occupied by Germany. In December 1939, the German authorities established a Jewish ghetto in Otwock. A murderous Action T4 euthanasia program was carried out by the Nazis in the local Zofiówka Sanatorium for the psychiatric patients[2] in order to confine its Jewish population for the purpose of persecution and exploitation.[3] The Ghetto was liquidated between August and 19 September 1942, when 75% of its Jewish population of 12,000–15,000 numbering at around 8,000 were assembled by the Nazis at a layover yard in Otwock (pictured) and transported in cattle trucks to extermination camps in Treblinka and Auschwitz.[4] Jews who remained were summarily shot at Reymonta Street soon after.[5]

Memorial to Jews of Otwock who were murdered in the Holocaust

Otwock is the hometown of Irena Sendler (1910 – 2008), the Polish humanitarian who saved thousands of Jewish children during the Holocaust; as well as Krystyna Dańko, both awarded the titles of Righteous among the Nations by Yad Vashem. Writer Calel Perechodnik, a Jewish Ghetto Policeman from Otwock also hailed from this town. Following the liberation, a children's home for Holocaust survivors was established in Otwock.[6]

Post-war period


In 1952, the town's limits were expanded by including Świder, Świdry Wielkie, Teklin and Zamlądz as new neighbourhoods.[7] Following the Korean War, in 1953–1959, Poland admitted 200 North Korean orphans in Świder.[8]

From 1975 to 1998, it was administratively located in the Warsaw Voivodeship.



In Otwock there are many buildings in the Świdermajer style, unique to the town and its surroundings. There are also memorials to Józef Piłsudski and to local Jews, who were murdered by Nazi Germany in the Holocaust.

The Mszar Pogorzelski, Świder and Wyspy Świderskie nature reserves are located in Otwock.



In 1958, Ewa, the first Polish nuclear reactor was activated in Swierk district of Otwock. A second research reactor, Maria, was erected in 1974.



Otwock is home to the sports club Start Otwock (founded in 1924). The club is renowned for its weight-lifters such as Szymon Kołecki and Marcin Dołęga.The club's own prodigy is football forward Janusz Żmijewski, who in the 1960s played for Legia Warszawa and the national team of Poland.

Town hall

International relations


Twin towns – Sister cities


Otwock is twinned with:


  1. ^ Kowalski, Andrzej (1995). "Miejsca pamięci związane z Bitwą Warszawską 1920 r.". Niepodległość i Pamięć (in Polish) (2/2 (3)). Muzeum Niepodległości w Warszawie: 147, 163. ISSN 1427-1443.
  2. ^ The statistical data compiled on the basis of "Glossary of 2,077 Jewish towns in Poland" Archived 8 February 2016 at the Wayback Machine by Virtual Shtetl Museum of the History of the Polish Jews  (in English), as well as "Getta Żydowskie," by Gedeon,  (in Polish) and "Ghetto List" by Michael Peters at www.deathcamps.org/occupation/ghettolist.htm  (in English). Accessed 12 July 2011.
  3. ^ "The War Against The Jews." The Holocaust Chronicle, 2009. Chicago, Il. Accessed 21 June 2011.
  4. ^ Sabina Bauman, "Czwarty marsz" (The Fourth March of the Living) Archived 7 October 2011 at the Wayback Machine Linia otwocka 26 September 2005.
  5. ^ Społeczny Komitet Pamięci Żydów Otwockich i Karczewskich - działania w latach 2002-2007 Archived 30 October 2018 at the Wayback Machine Sekcja terenowa Polskiej Rady Chrześcijan i Żydów (Otwock Branch of Poland’s Advisory of Christians and Jews Archived 9 June 2009 at the Wayback Machine); Zbigniew Nosowski, President.  (in Polish)
  6. ^ A Time to Heal: The Story of the Children's Home in Otwock an online exhibition by Yad Vashem
  7. ^ Rozporządzenie Prezesa Rady Ministrów z dnia 3 maja 1952 r. w sprawie utworzenia i zmiany granic niektórych miast w powiatach warszawskim i radzymińskim, województwie warszawskim., Dz. U., 1952, vol. 26, No. 181
  8. ^ Sołtysik, Łukasz (2009). "Dzieci i młodzież północnokoreańska w Polsce w latach 1953–1954 w świetle wybranych dokumentów". Rocznik Jeleniogórski (in Polish). Vol. XLI. Jelenia Góra. p. 196. ISSN 0080-3480.