(August 1 – 2 October 1944)
73rd anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising
The Warsaw Uprising of 1944 — a heroic and tragic 63-day struggle to liberate World War 2 Warsaw from Nazi/German occupation. Undertaken by the Home Army (Armia Krajowa, AK), the Polish resistance movement, at the time Allied troops were breaking through the Normandy defenses and the Red Army was standing at the line of the Vistula River.
Warsaw could have been one of the first European capitals liberated; however, various military and political miscalculations, as well as global politics — played among Joseph Stalin, Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt (FDR) — turned the dice against it.
A lesson of history in the Warsaw Rising Museum
Excerpts from interview with Mr. Jan Ołdakowski, the Director of the Museum:
“Should Second World War museums show that the war brought to surface such national traits as bravery and solidarity? Or maybe the war even strengthened us?
“The modern Polish identity is based on the tradition of resistance against two 20th century totalitarianisms. You cannot understand modern Poland without understanding this phenomenon. Without the Home Army, Warsaw Uprising, Doomed Soldiers, Church, opposition against the Polish People’s Republic, and finally, “Solidarity.”
“For my grandmother’s generation a decision to join the Home Army was morally motivated. In that sense the war indeed strengthened characters. And simultaneously, it sometimes broke people down: not all the Poles were individually on the side of good. But they were on that side as the Polish Underground State, as the Underground Armed Force”. (…)
“Does the historical truth have any essential meaning in or influence on our lives? As a country we were on the good side. If the world holds us jointly responsible for war crimes, it will notably weaken our international position. That is a paradox: many nations seem to live in a post-historical era, and then suddenly the past turns out to matter. But it is also important at home. High self-esteem reinforces the community. We have the right to know the truth about ourselves.”
The film “Warsaw 1944” by Jan Komasa describes the Warsaw Uprising, the most tragic militarised struggle against the German occupation. During 63 days of dramatic fightings and mass murders committed by Germans on Polish civilians almost 18.000 insurgents and over 200.000 civilians were killed. The Germans destroyed nearly 90% of the city. In January 1945 only ruins remained of the beauty of the pre-war capital of Poland.
“We want to show the Warsaw Uprising to the world” – says Jan Komasa, who wrote and directed the film. Many are unaware that the Warsaw Uprising was the most intense revolt organized against the Germans occupied Europe. The director’s wish is to “give the Warsaw Uprising its deserved place in world-wide consciousness”. The authors of the film describe it as “a universal story of youth, love, courage and SACRIFICE(…)”
Information source: www.warsawuprising.com, www.1944.pl, Poland.pl, ipn.gov.pl
Video source: vimeo.com
Photo credit: Poland.pl