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1944 Warsaw Rising Poland's 'most important insurgency'

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 31.07.2013 09:17
On its 69th anniversary, a new poll finds Poles regard the 1944 Warsaw Rising against the Nazi Germans as the most important insurrection in the country's long and troubled history.

Cemetery of the Warsaw Insurgents. Photo: PAP/Jakub Kaminski

Thirty four percent of those surveyed declared the Warsaw Rising to be the key insurgency among the many that dot the country's past.

The World War II insurrection received 20 percent more support than the next most highly rated uprising of November 1830 against Tsarist Russia, which received 14 percent.

A third doomed insurgency, the 1863 January Uprising – also against Tsarist Russia – was chosen by 10 percent, while the Kosciuszko Uprising of 1794 received just 8 percent.

The survey was carried out by the Homo Homini Institute for the Rzeczpospolita daily.

With the 69th anniversary being marked this week, Poland's Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) has announced that a far-reaching renovation programme will be carried out at the Cemetery of the Warsaw Insurgents in the capital (pictured above), in preparation for the 70th anniversary next year.

The Warsaw Rising was launched on 1 August 1944, after five years of Nazi occupation.

Official commemorations begin on Wednesday and President Bronislaw Komorowski and Mayor of Warsaw Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz will hold an official meeting with surviving insurgents. A field mass and concert will also be held on Warsaw's Dluga Street.

On Thursday at 5pm, a minute's silence will be observed in the capital marking the time at which the rising broke out in 1944. A concert of songs that were forbidden during the Nazi occupation (and some later too) will be held at 8 pm on Castle Square.

The insurgency, which participants believed would last three days, ended in catastrophe two months after the outbreak, with about Polish 200,000 casualties (the vast majority civilians). The Red Army – technically a Polish ally – declined to help, in spite of earlier indications.

What was left of the city after the rising was largely dynamited by Nazi troops, on Hitler's orders.

A Soviet-backed communist regime was then installed, with the Red Army occupying Poland. Sixteen of the surviving leaders of the underground who fell into Soviet hands were flown to Moscow for a stage trial, with several dying in captivity. (nh/pg)

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