January insurgents were revered in inter-war Poland, president says

The patriots who fought in the 1863 January Uprising were objects of veneration in inter-war Poland, and the memory of the uprising was full of respect, President Andrzej Duda said during ceremonies marking the 155th anniversary of the revolt.

The January Uprising was a Polish revolt against Imperial Russia, which together with Prussia and Austria partitioned Poland in the late 18th century and kept it off the map for over 120 years. The pro-independence rebellion started on January 22, 1863, and continued until 1864.

President Duda delivered his speech as he opened an exhibition devoted to the uprising in Ciechocinek, central Poland.

"This exhibition pays tribute to the fathers of independence, that's what we call those who made a key contribution to Poland regaining its freedom through their work and sacrifice," Andrzej Duda said.

It was the faith, devotion, work and brilliance of the insurgents that made it possible for Poland "to return to the map of Europe and the world, but this faith did not come from nothing," Duda said, explaining that "it came from education, it came from earlier examples, from the legend that was preserved in families, in Polish society during the partitions."

The president stressed that the reborn Poland treated the memory of the January Uprising with "deep respect". He also went on to note that 2018 marked Poland's 100th independence anniversary.

Earlier on Monday, Andrzej Duda laid a wreath at a monument to Romuald Traugutt, the uprising leader. 

Initially a protest by Polish cadets against conscription into the Imperial Russian Army, the January Uprising soon won the support of high-ranking Polish-Lithuanian officers and politicians. Severely outnumbered by the Russians, the insurgents had to resolve to guerilla warfare.

After the fall of the uprising in 1864, many of its participants were executed or deported to Siberia.