The Praga Hall of Fame was unveiled on September 30, 2017 on Stalowa Street, at No. 14, in Praga North. The originator of the project is Krzysztof Michalski, a Prague social activist who submitted the proposal to the Participatory Budget. During the My StaLOVA event – the Festival of Stalowa Street and New Praga, there was a ceremonial unveiling of the stars embedded in the pavement, commemorating people of merit who came from Praga or were active in its territory. It was residents themselves who decided who would be honoured in this way in the district.
The Praga Hall of Fame has 8 discs with a dark-coloured star, the inscription ‘Praga’ and a brief informational text about who the people who have been distinguished in this way. The founding father of New Praga, Ksawery Konopacki, has his own star. It was he who, in the nineteenth century, decided to breathe life into its sandy terrain, creating a settlement initially called Konopaczyzna. Next to Konopacki there are: Julian Różycki, the pharmacist, entrepreneur, investor and social activist, known primarily as the founder of the Różycki Bazaar; Michał and Maria Radziwiłł, aristocrats and philanthropists who helped the poorest residents of Prague; Helena Rzeszotarska, tutor and pedagogue, as well as the founder of a private female secondary school in Praga. This Praga Hall of Fame also honours the architects Szymon and Helena Syrkus, who designed the first post-war housing estate in the district – Praga I, built in 1948-1952. At this address, Sabina Sebyłowa’s ‘Notes from the Right Side of the Vistula’ were written, a diary and a source for learning about the lives of people in a very difficult period of constant anxiety. Stefan Wiechecki, ‘Wiech,’ also has a star on Stalowa Street, the man whose newspaper columns are read by crowds of readers eager to enjoy the Warsaw dialect. Wiechecki ran a sweet shop in New Praga at 1 Stalowa Street. His work is willingly used in Praga projects, such as radio plays with the participation of seniors (‘Praga Gada o bazaar’) or theatrical performances (‘Wiech na 105’,) Teatr Scena Lubelska 30/32). The last and eighth star is dedicated to Jan and Antonina Żabińscy. Jan Żabiński was the director of the Warsaw Zoo from 1929. During the war, he and his wife hid Jews in the Zoo, for which they were awarded the title of Righteous Among the Nations, awarded by the Yad Vashem Institute for the Remembrance of Holocaust Martyrs and Heroes in Jerusalem.
There remain many people who distinguished themselves in the history of Praga who still await their star. Who knows, perhaps the Praga Hall of Fame will see as many people commemorated as the one in Hollywood?