The Warsaw Uprising 75th anniversary
Ceremonies commemorating the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising 75 years ago lasted all day in Warsaw on August 1, and were attended by top state officials, veterans and city residents.
- A tribute to the civilian victims of the German atrocities
Marking the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising, the largest resistance operation in German-occupied Europe during World War II, Polish President Andrzej Duda laid flowers on at a plaque to 2,500 Poles murdered during the so-called Wola Massacre.
President Duda said that the Wola Massacre, the mass killing of around 50,000 inhabitants of Warsaw's Wola district during the Warsaw Uprising, was a great genocide that was not talked about during the communist era, adding that the "enormous suffering of Warsaw residents" required special commemoration.
"It is difficult to imagine today, but such was the reality then; it was the price that Warsaw paid for striving for freedom," Duda said. "They certainly deserve that we remember them and that we honour this place and pay tribute to those who gave their lives so that Poland could again be free."
The president laid a red-and-white wreath at a commemorative plaque in the Wola district, one of a number of memorial sites in the capital, in a ceremony accompanied by a military escort. Duda also greeted and chatted with Scouts and local residents gathered at the site.
Thanking those who take care of memorial sites, President Duda said that remembrance of the events of August 1944 was extremely important for Poland's history, identity and tradition.
The Wola Massacre is considered to have been one of the largest crimes against the Polish population during World War II.
From August 5 to 7, 1944, German SS troops under Gruppenfuehrer Heinz Reinefahrt and collaborating forces killed an estimated 40,000 to 60,000 people in Wola and the adjacent Ochota, both districts considered by the Germans to be most in need of "cleansing" from insurgents and civilians. The killings followed an express order by Hitler to annihilate all civilians in the area.
- The „W-hour”
Sirens sounded throughout Warsaw at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, the exact time of the August 1, 1944 outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising against the city's Nazi occupants, to mark the insurrection's 75th anniversary. As the sirens wailed, traffic and pedestrians stopped throughout the city for a minute of silence in tribute to the uprising's fighters and victims.
Just before the sirens were turned on, President Andrzej Duda and PM Mateusz Morawiecki laid flowers at the grave of General Antoni Chrusciel, 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., veterans, President Duda, PM Morawiecki, government ministers, parliamentarians, Warsaw city authorities and city residents paid tribute to the heroic insurgents at the Gloria Victis (glory to the defeated - PAP) memorial in Warsaw's Powazki Cemetery.(PAP)