Source: Republic of Poland in English
Ceremonies commemorating the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising 74 years ago lasted all day in Warsaw on August 1, and were attended by top state officials, veterans and city residents. Observances were also held in other Polish cities and towns.
A wreath-laying ceremony at the plaque commemorating the signing of an order to start the Warsaw Uprising, attended by Polish President Andrzej Duda and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, opened the commemorative events in Warsaw.
Sirens sounded throughout the city at 5:00 p.m., the exact time of the August 1, 1944 outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising against the Nazi occupants, to mark the insurrection’s 74th anniversary.
As the sirens continued, traffic stopped throughout the city for a minute’s silence in tribute to the uprising’s fighters and civilian victims.
Just before the sirens were turned on, President Andrzej Duda laid flowers at the grave of General Antoni Chruściel, the commander of the Warsaw District of the Home Army and the commander of all Polish forces fighting against the Germans in the uprising.
At 5:00 p.m., President Duda, PM Morawiecki, Senate Speaker Stanisław Karczewski, deputy PM Piotr Gliński, Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz, Sejm (lower house) Deputy Speakers Beata Mazurek, Małgorzata Kidawa-Błońska and Ryszard Terlecki, Warsaw Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, President of the Home Army World Union Leszek Żukowski, city residents and tourists paid tribute to the heroic insurgents at the Gloria Victis memorial at the Powązki cemetery in Warsaw.
“We are paying tribute to the defeated, yet unbeaten,” Polish Army Field Bishop, General Józef Guzdek told the gathering at the monument commemorating Home Army (AK) soldiers fallen during the uprising and the entire German occupation of Poland.
A number of ceremonies were also held across the city, including at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, in the districts of Mokotów and Wola, at the monument to the Polish Underground State and the Home Army (AK) in front of the Sejm, and at the grave of Home Army (AK) commander General Tadeusz “Bór” Komorowski.
During a Wednesday ceremony marking the 74th anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising against the city’s Nazi German occupants, President Andrzej Duda paid tribute not only to the insurgents who fought in the uprising but also to the civilians who suffered and died in it.
Laying a wreath at a plaque to murdered civilians in Warsaw’s western Wola district, the President said: “This place is a symbol of the suffering of the civilian population of Warsaw, one of the symbols of the improbable inhumanity with which the Germans treated Warsaw, the civilian population of Warsaw.”
“We remember that and we pay tribute today not only to those who fought in the Warsaw Uprising, but also to those who suffered in that uprising, who during the course of the uprising and after it were killed inhumanely by the Germans just because they were Poles,” the President continued.
The plaque at which the President laid flowers commemorates the victims of a massacre carried out by the Germans in the final phase of the Wola slaughter – on around August 9-11, 1944, the German gendarmerie pulled about 100 Poles from the displaced population – the elderly, the disabled, children, pregnant women. They were locked in a house at 54 Bema Street and the building was marked with the flag of the Red Cross. The house was then burned down, killing all those inside
Observances marking the anniversary were also organised in Kraków, Gdańsk, Poznań, Wrocław and Lublin, where local authorities decided to turn on the sirens to mark the so-called W-hour. Other Polish cities and towns also commemorated the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising.
The Warsaw Uprising broke out on August 1, 1944 as the biggest resistance operation in Nazi-occupied Europe. Initially intended to last several days, it continued for over two months before being suppressed by the Germans. The uprising claimed the lives of 18,000 insurgents and around 180,000 civilians. See also: President: Warsaw Uprising fighters fought for freedom
After the insurgents surrendered and the remaining 500,000 Warsaw residents were expelled, the Germans methodically burned down and blew up Warsaw house by house. By January 17, 1945, 85 percent of the city’s buildings had been destroyed.
The Soviet Red Army halted its westward advance and waited across the Vistula River for the uprising to be quashed. The Warsaw Uprising was a taboo theme during the four decades of communist rule that was imposed on Poland after the war. (PAP/MK)