City marks 70th anniversary of Warsaw Uprising
August 4, 2014
Traffic in Warsaw halted on Aug.1 and rush-hour crowds paused in silence for a minute-long tribute to Polish World War II resistance fighters at the exact time they launched the Warsaw Uprising, the bloody armed struggle against the capital's Nazi German occupiers in 1944.
Sirens and church bells in Warsaw and in smaller cities around the capital rang out as the clock struck 5pm, the time fighting broke out 70 years ago.
President Bronislaw Komorowski joined hundreds of the surviving insurgents for a series of ceremonies that honored the heroic struggle.
He laid flowers at the tomb of General Tadeusz Bor-Komorowski, commander in chief of Poland's Home Army resistance force in 1944, who organized the insurgency.
Later he attended an anniversary ceremony at Warsaw's Powazki military cemetery with Prime Minister Donald Tusk, Warsaw Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, and Defense Minister Tomasz Siemoniak.
The officials laid wreaths at the cemetery's Gloria Victis memorial.
“This was a heroic struggle for freedom, beautiful struggle showing the brotherhood of men, though one should also see the other side of the gigantic losses and completely ruined city,” Komorowski said. In that sense, it was a military and political failure, he added.
The Warsaw Uprising was the largest underground resistance movement against Nazi Germany during World War II.
It was a determined, bloody but ultimately unsuccessful attempt to drive German forces out of the city before the arrival of Soviet forces from the east.
The Polish resistance fought for 63 days before succumbing to better armed German troops, who then proceeded to raze Warsaw to the ground.
It is estimated that about 16,000 Polish resistance fighters, 8,000 German soldiers, and 150,000-200,000 Polish civilians were killed in the uprising.