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    The Legacy of Służewiec Racecourse: A Historical Journey

    The Służewiec Racecourse in Warsaw, opened on June 3, 1939, stands as a significant cultural landmark. Designed by Zygmunt Plater-Zyberk, Juliusz Żurawski, and Franciszek Szanior, it was one of the largest modernist architectural complexes in the city. The racecourse’s inaugural race was won by the stallion Felsztyn, ridden by jockey Stefan Michalczyk. However, the joy was short-lived as German forces occupied it in September 1939, turning it into a military base.

    War and Resilience

    During the Nazi occupation, the Służewiec Racecourse was repurposed for various military uses, including as a veterinary hospital and an airstrip. Notably, Polish poet Jan Brzechwa hid there, working as a gardener by day and writing by night, creating his famous “Academy of Mr. Kleks.” The racecourse also witnessed the brutalities of war, including the failed attempts of Polish resistance fighters to reclaim it during the Warsaw Uprising.

    After World War II, the racecourse was in ruins, but it quickly regained its former glory. The first post-war racing season began on July 7, 1946, and over 160 horses participated in 237 races by November. The political changes in 1950 led to the nationalization of horse breeding and racing, diminishing competition but keeping the sport alive.

    Modern Era

    Today, Służewiec is managed by Totalizator Sportowy and hosts nearly 400 races annually. It remains a vibrant event space, attracting thousands for business meetings, concerts, and community events. The racecourse is a testament to the resilience and continuity of Warsaw’s cultural heritage.

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