I was reading about Pawiak prison in Warsaw and the general consensus appears to be that it was built between 1829 and 1835 during a time of Russian occupation. It seems clear that after the January uprising of 1863 the prison was used for insurrectionists bound for Siberia but can it be assumed that when it was first built (from 1835) that it was mainly for political prisoners? Or was it initially for 'general' prisoners with the focus turning to political prisoners after 1863?

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    Surprisingly difficult question. I'm forwarding it to my fellow tourist guides from Warsaw. They should have better sources. Commented Feb 24, 2013 at 9:21
  • Thanks..it seems like there are pretty sketchy details about the very first use of the prison
    – Rowan
    Commented Feb 24, 2013 at 9:25

1 Answer 1


I've just received a confirmation from Warsaw, that as it's written in the book "Encyklopedia Warszawy" (PWN, 1994), by that time, until January Uprising, it was just a marshal prison for criminals, which was transferred there from Baszta Mostowa (Bridge Tower). The linked source says it used to be "Więzienie Inkwizycyjne", which means prisoners temporary arrested for interrogation. Pawiak was only for males, while Serbia prison next to Pawiak, served for women.

In the book "Rządy księcia Paskiewicza w Królestwie Polskiem <1832-1847>", (written by Ks. Szczerbatow in 1900), which covers a.o. law and prison problematic, the only place mentioned in connection with political prisoners is Warsaw Citadel. You can find its full text here, when they turn on the server once again.

  • Oh wow..that's great! Thanks for that as I cannot understand Polish so I would have had no hope of finding that information..thanks again :)
    – Rowan
    Commented Feb 28, 2013 at 8:02
  • No problem, you can thank by accepting the answer. :) Let me know when you'll need anything else from Polish history. Commented Feb 28, 2013 at 8:09

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