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72nd anniversary of Warsaw Uprising

Every year at 5:00 p.m., the streets of Warsaw fill with the sound of alarm sirens. The city stands still. With a minute of silence, the residents of Warsaw pay tribute to the insurgents – those who perished and those who survived.

At the Warsaw Rising Museum, Poland’s President Andrzej Duda has met a group of eyewitnesses for a joint commemoration of the insurgents, and presented state decorations.

“You are more than the uprising heroes, you are educators and role-models, it is on you that the eyes of the young generation are fixed,” President Andrzej Duda told Warsaw insurgents.

“L-Hour is the moment when everybody should feel bound (…) to manifest respect for the insurgents; may this one thing unite us (…) irrespective of all that divides us,” said the Director of the Warsaw Rising Museum, Jan Ołdakowski, commenting on the celebrations.

The marking of the 72nd anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising began on 31 July at the Żywiciel monument in the Warsaw district of Zoliborz, where flowers were laid. An open-air church service was held by Field Bishop of the Polish Army Józef Guzdek at Krasiński Square. Following the mass, a Roll-Call of Memory was read out, dedicated to the Warsaw Uprising victims and the people who “for dozens of years after World War Two spared no effort to make sure the memory of the insurgency was kept alive.”

The ceremonial change of the guard of honour posted in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier took place at Józef Piłsudski Square at noon, on 1 August. Tribute to the fighters who died in the Uprising was paid during a ceremony at the monument to the Polish Underground State and Home Army. The event was attended by representatives of the authorities, Warsaw Uprising participants, members of Warsaw Uprising organizations, and residents of Poland’s capital city.

Alarm sirens were sounded throughout the city at 5:00 p.m., reminding the people of Warsaw about the heroism of the combatants, and the tragic events going back 72 years.

The celebrations in Warsaw were attended by Warsaw Uprising fighters, WW2 veterans, the honour guards of the Polish Army, police and municipal police, members of the Polish Scouting and Guiding Association and the Scouting Association of the Republic of Poland, central and local government officials, as well as Warsaw residents.

This year’s Warsaw Uprising anniversary coincided with World Youth Day. While in Poland, thousands of young pilgrims from around the world visited the Warsaw Rising Museum. A special music album called Historie was released by the Warsaw Rising Museum on the occasion of the 72nd anniversary of the Uprising, featuring pieces by a number of Polish artists.

The biggest freedom insurgency during World War Two, the Warsaw Uprising broke out on 1 August 1944 and lasted for 63 days. Almost 50,000 Home Army fighters took to arms to fight the Germans. The fighting took place in all districts of Warsaw, claiming the lives of nearly 16,000 Home Army insurgents and 150,000 civilians.

View photo gallery of Warsaw Rising Museum on Flickr.

Photo: PAP/Jakub Kamiński

MFA Press Office