The most beautiful and enduring memorial—from our history
The idea of establishing a Children’s Memorial Health Center commemorating the heroic deaths and martyrdom of children throughout Poland’s history, but particularly of those children in Poland and the world who died in World War II, dates back to the 1960s. The writer Ewa Szelburg-Zarębina initiated the movement when she published an article entitled Bohaterstwu dzieci i młodzieży należy się pamięć (The heroism of children and young people deserves to be remembered) on 20 June 1965 in the popular daily, Życie Warszawy.
“Let those children who suffered and died only because they were children of this land, those children who suffered and died because they defended the freedom and honor of the Polish nation and state, and the most important treasure of humanity, peace and justice, let them receive from us, the living, a sign of undying memory. Let our witness to their heroism and suffering be more than just a small part of what the nation venerates. They deserve an enduring, separate and exclusive expression of our memory.”
The writer’s appeal was endorsed by the Polish Pediatric Society, the Council for the Preservation of Memorials to Resistance and Martyrdom, and the Polish Scouting Association.
After many discussions, it was decided to build a health center whose reach and specialization would serve the health of all children in Poland.
In Februar 1968, it was decided to build The Children’s Memorial Health Center in the Warsaw suburb of Międzylesie, known for its healthy microclimate. The Council for the Preservation of Memorials to Resistance and Martyrdom convened a Civic Committee for the Construction of The Children’s Memorial Health Center which called on Polish society and Poles living abroad for help with the project. The unique idea met with an enthusiastic reception around the world—foundations were set up in many countries to support the construction of the center, gifts and financial support came in from all corners of the world.
The first director of The Children’s Health Center was Prof. Maria Goncerzewicz. The first stage of construction was completed on 1 June 1977, International Children’s Day. In 1979, the second stage was finished, and the operating theater, 13-storey hospital building, training center and administration complex were opened.
On 19 December 1995, the Council of Ministers elevated The Children’s Memorial Health Center to the rank of a research institute, and, as a research and development unit, it is now known as The Children’s Memorial Health Institute.
The idea behind CHMI was to create a modern hospital where children would receive comprehensive care going beyond just medical treatment. This idea continues to be the driving force behind CHMI’s development—the Institute sets the standard in highly-specialized pediatric care, introduces innovative forms of therapy, and provides treatment according to the highest global standards.