The Warsaw Uprising began exactly 76 years ago, at 5 pm on 1st August 1944. By the time they surrendered, the soldiers of the Home Army had been fighting for freedom against impossible odds for 63 days. Saturday August 1st, at 5 pm, as the sirens rang out, the city of Warsaw stood in a minute’s silence to remember those who selflessly gave up their lives for Poland, and to honour the ever smaller band of veterans and survivors.
76 years after the outbreak of the largest military action in occupied Europe – the Warsaw Uprising- this year’s commemorations were a little more modest because of the coronavirus epidemic. But the permanent elements – Hours W and Gloria Victis – remained.
Earlier in the day, President Andrzej Duda laid flowers in front of the Wolski Hospital where over 360 doctors and patients were murdered by the Germans. President remembered the tragedy saying:
“It is a great testimony to the suffering of the residents of Wola and the hospital patients, but above all it is a great testimony to heroism and service”.
One of the youngest participants of the Uprising, Jerzy Czajkowski, “The Destroyer”, who turned 12 in January 1944, recalled today how he ended up in the gray ranks – undergroud boysouts:
I had two colleagues who lived in my building, a certain Lech Kucharski who already belonged to the gray ranks, and Antoni Rotuski. I remember the first day of the Uprising and he came to us and asked if I wanted to help spread the insurgent press etc. and so I ended up in the Gray Ranks, the hope was related to the West, that the Allied forces were helping us here, but very weak but we persisted, because we hoped that maybe something else would succeed
The celebrations related to the commemoration of the Warsaw Uprising have been going on for several days. Last Thursday President Andrzej Duda and the President of Warsaw, Rafał Trzaskowski, met the insurgents … The insurgents expressed thanks for the cherishing of the memory of the uprising.
About 16,000 insurgents and 150,000 civilians died in the fighting. Thousands of people were injured. It is estimated that 650,000 civilians were transported from Warsaw to a transit camp in Pruszków, from there 150,000 were sent to forced labor in Germany, and 50,000 to concentration camps.