Part of the Adventure Warsaw attraction — which runs Communist-themed tours of the city — at the Soho Factory in bohemian, grungy Praga, the Life Under Communism Museum highlights the mundane, cheerless quality of life under the Soviet regime in Poland.
The Poles and the extraordinarily powerful Solidarity freedom movement, led by Lech Wałęsa, voted the Communist system out in the 1989 elections, leading to the break up of the Soviet Union. Although there is no sentimentality in Poland towards the former Communist regime, this clever little museum allows younger generations to glimpse life behind the Iron Curtain as it was for 45 years.
Among the busts of Lenin and Marx are a scattering of Soviet uniforms, Communist-era radios and record player spinning vinyl from little-known Eastern Bloc bands. However, the highlights of the exhibition are the rudimentary rooms kitted out in typical Soviet style with austere furniture — some sourced from the former headquarters of the Polish United Workers’ Party (PZPR) and more donated from the general public. The sparse kitchen has a 1980s’ cooker and fridge; a rather depressing beige bedroom has a simple wooden bed and the walls of a party worker’s office are hung with portraits of Communist leaders. And this privately owned museum just keeps on growing, with the curators appealing for any artifacts that belong to the Communist era to use in their displays.
Soho Factory, 25 Mińska, Praga, Warsaw. Open Mon–Fri 10am 4pm; Sat–Sun 11am–5pm. Admission adult PLN 80; seniors, students & children younger than 18 PLN 5; guided tours PLN 80. Take tram No. 22 from the Centrum (city center) to Gocławska.