08/01/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 08/01/2021 01:01
Sirens will wail at 5 p.m. Passersby will stop on the pavements and cars will stop on the streets. People will lay flowers and light candles in hundreds of places. The 1st August is a special day not only for inhabitants of the Capital City of Poland. 77 years ago the Warsaw Uprising started.
That was the largest insurgence in the German-occupied Europe. The Home Army Headquarters planned to free Warsaw before the Red Army invaded the city. After five years of the Nazi terror a group of about 23 thousand mainly young people started to fight. Only 10 percent of them were armed. On the first days of the Uprising they were fighting with a garrison of a dozen or so Germans. But after initial successes of the Uprising participants, the Germans brought in the support. Mass murder of civilians started.
The insurgence was supposed to take a few days but it took over two months. The German aviation, artillery and mine specialists methodically destroyed the city. Warsaw should be brought to ruins - said Heinrich Himmler whom Hitler gave free rein in terms of the Capital City of Poland. Within 63 days of heroic fights, about 17 thousand Uprising participants and about 150-200 thousand civil inhabitants of Warsaw got killed or went missing. The ordeal of survivors took a long time after the fights ended. Civilians went to temporary camps and about 16 thousand soldiers were placed in prison camps. After the Second World War, some of them were sent to the Security Office torture chambers and Soviet camps.
Traces of the Uprising fights have remained in Warsaw until these days, as well as the material traces of the Polish Underground State's resistance which dates back to September 1939. The latter have also been preserved on the walls of the existing Headquarters of the Supreme Audit Office (https://www.nik.gov.pl/en/news/history-on-the-walls-of-nik.html) at 57 Filtrowa Street. During the war, it was where the Office of the Governor of the Warsaw District was located. Painting the symbols of Fighting Poland on its walls was an act of great courage. The anchors hidden under a thick layer of plaster were uncovered during the façade renovation in 2014 and protected in line with the instructions of the Warsaw Historic Preservation Officer.
Every year, on 1st August memorial candles are lit in tribute to those who did not stop to believe in free and independent Poland, even in the darkest years of occupation. And today they give us a warning - freedom is not given once and forever…