przeskocz do treści | przeskocz do menu głównego
The official website of the President of the Republic of Poland
| | |
A | A | A
Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Address by President on the occasion of the 73rd anniversary of the outbreak of Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

  |   Address by President Andrzej Duda on the occasion of the 73rd anniversary of the outbreak of Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Address by President Andrzej Duda on the occasion of the 73rd anniversary of the outbreak of Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Address by President Andrzej Duda on the occasion of the 73rd anniversary of the outbreak of Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Address by President Andrzej Duda on the occasion of the 73rd anniversary of the outbreak of Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

Distinguished Righteous Among the Nations,

Madam Prime Minister,
Your Excellency, Madam Ambassador,
Your Excellency, Mr Ambassador,
Distinguished Madam Mayor,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished Guests,

The Hebrew version of the Address


This is a day of memory. Memory is most crucial and it must continue.

This is a day of tribute, the tribute paid to the heroes, the heroes who wanted to stand up in arms. Even if they were aware that they would die, they wanted to die fighting, with their heads held high. Therefore, this day is also a day of grand commemoration of dignity and of dignified attitude. First and foremost, I would like to thank His Excellency the Chief Rabbi, Mr Michael Schudrich, for enabling us just a moment ago to stand together over the graves of the heroes, but also to stand over the graves of the ones who were murdered, who perished, often most dramatically, often starved to death. Thank you for enabling me to take part, in my spirit, in the prayer, homage and commemoration.


Ladies and Gentlemen, where we are standing right now, there used to be the Warsaw Ghetto in which people were locked away, ordinary Polish citizens who lived on that soil, who in most cases were born here, lived here, being just part of the great community which inhabited the Second Republic of Poland. And suddenly, an ideology was born which prompted first their marginalization, only on the grounds of the fact that they were Jews, and then prompted their murder, destruction, crushing them as a nation, annihilating them.  This was ushered in by the Nuremberg Laws passed in Germany upon Hitler’s seizure of power. But it also involved the Crystal Night, Action T4, the developments which unfolded in Europe before the war broke out. As early as then, the perpetration of the programme began which ultimately resulted in a massive unfathomable genocide during World War 2, concentration camps, the Holocaust, and planned destruction and annihilation of the nation. Something that is hard to imagine for us, the contemporary people. Moreover, additional baseness of conduct was unfolding: not only slaughters, not only genocide but also depriving people of their dignity, degrading them, confining them behind walls, famishing them, marking them: all the worst things that a man can perpetrate to harm another.


Here in Warsaw, on April 19, 1943, when under Heinrich Himmler’s orders the final liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto commenced, young Jewish boys and girls, members of the Jewish Combat Organization and of the Jewish Military Union, said” “no”. They said: no, we are not going to die on our knees, we will fight for our lives, and if that fails, we will die with dignity. And this is what they did. They took up arms, staging a heroic fight, albeit hopeless, for they fought against Germans’ crushing odds and it was known that their fight would not be victorious. “Perhaps, it would be possible to survive though not for everybody” – this must have been their assumption and realization. And yet they stood up in arms, staging the first urban military uprising in the occupied Europe. Let me underscore: the first urban uprising, unprecedented by any other.


Marek Edelman, Mordechai Anielewicz, Pawel Frenkel and many, many others. They fought a heroic fight. Why would they do it? Why an uprising? Why such an armed bid? Why not an escape instead?  Perhaps it would have been cleverer to organize an escape from the ghetto, and not to take up arms. I think that to a large extent, it was due to the fact that they were raised here, on this soil, also in this tradition, the tradition of insurrections, uprisings, in a bid to regain the Polish quality or to maintain it. The Kosciuszko Insurrection, the November uprising, the January Uprising, Poland’s regaining independence in 1918, the Legions, defending Poland against the Bolshevik invasion in 1920, defending it against the German invasion in 1939. Polish soldiers were losing their lives in all those places: among them, many Jews who also considered Poland their Homeland.  The tradition of Berek Joselewicz, the tradition of Michał Lande and his brother Aleksander, the January insurgent. Perhaps it was the tradition derived from Mickiewicz poetry, from novels written by Henryk Sienkiewicz, from Słowacki’s poetry they must have known so well, the works which influenced them profoundly. To some extent, this must have been this tradition which prompted them to do it. To stand in arms and fight.


Today we bow before the heroes, before their great memory, we bow before all of them who were murdered. But we have also gathered here to say aloud: ”no”. “No” to dividing the community, “no” to dividing people with any walls, “no” for confining them, not because they have done something wrong but because they are who they are, because of their descent, because of the families into which they were born, because of their beliefs. “No” to degrading treatment, “no” to any humiliation of another man. “No” to violating fundamental human rights, such as right to dignity, and to life. “No” to any injustice.


We have gathered here today also in order to demonstrate that we are here together in gesture of solidarity. To demonstrate that we stand here at this Monument, the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes and in front of the Polin Museum, the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, the shared history, the history of our shred life on this soil for more than one thousand years. This is the history of friends and let is always be. This is also the history of mutual respect, friendliness and living memory, and may it continue in this shape. The living memory about all them who fought for our freedom and were not afraid to die for it. Glory to the heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, may their names live on!

Recommend site

You are leaving the official website of Polish President

Thank you for visiting our website.

See you soon.