Poland marks 70th anniversary of Warsaw Rising
Cities and towns across Poland will observe 70 seconds silence at 5 pm on Friday, marking the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Rising, the 63-day doomed insurgency against Nazi Germany.
A field mass held in Warsaw on Thursday evening in tribute to the 1944 Warsaw Rising.
The focus of today’s commemorations will be at Warsaw’s Powazki Military Cemetery, where besides state dignitaries, hundreds of former insurgents – from Poland and as far afield as Argentina – will take part.
5 o’clock marks the so-called W-Hour (Godzina-W) on 1 August 1944 when thousands of underground soldiers stormed German positions across central Warsaw following 5 years of occupation by Hitler’s forces.
The insurgency was led by the Home Army (AK), and had been approved by the Polish government-in-exile in London.
Throughout Friday, ceremonies will be laid at various monuments connected with the Polish underground and the rising.
Wreaths will be laid at the grave of Warsaw Rising commander General Tadeusz ‘Bor’ Komorowski early on Monday morning, while at 10 am, a tribute will be held at a monument to Polish insurgents in Warsaw’s Mokotow district.
At 1.30 pm, respects will be paid at a statue of Stefan ‘Grot’ Rowecki, a former commander of the Home Army, who was languishing in Germany’s Sachsenhausen concentration camp when the rising began. He was shot by the Gestapo shortly after the insurgency broke out.
At 2 pm a ceremony will be held at the Monument to the Underground State and the Home Army on Wiejska Street.
The Warsaw Rising
The rising occurred at a time when the war was turning in the Allies’ favour.
On the Eastern Front, the Red Army was sweeping across Nazi-occupied Poland, while on the Western Front, the Allies were making inroads across France, while from the south, the Germans had been beaten back to Northern Italy.
The insurgents in Warsaw were equipped to fight for less than a week.
Pledges of aid from the Russians proved to be empty words and the insurgency continued for a gruelling 63 days, before the high command of the AK finally capitulated.
Between 150,000 and 200,000 civilians died in the Rising, and about 16,000 insurgents.
A Soviet-backed regime was installed in Poland following the war and the Home Army (AK) was vilified by the new authorities. It was not until the 60th anniversary in 2004, 16 years after the fall of communism, that a large-scale museum was created in the capital. (nh)
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