Poland owes its freedom to Warsaw Uprising - president

President Duda met the veterans of the Warsaw Uprising. Wojciech Olkuśnik/PAP

The Warsaw Uprising of 1944 against Poland’s Nazi German occupiers was a huge step towards building a free Poland, President Andrzej Duda said at the Warsaw Uprising Museum on Tuesday.

Speaking during ceremonies held ahead of the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising, which were attended by veterans of the fight, Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski and scouts, Duda said that the "Warsaw Uprising was an act of great heroism," and thanks to the Warsaw heroes, Poles can enjoy living in a free Poland today.

He told the gathered insurgents that they are "a great authority" for the younger generation.

"You are such an invaluable treasure of history, but above all independence, that young people are ready to come from all over Poland to be near you, even for a moment, to be able to listen to your words, to serve you, just as you served Poland as very young people, putting your lives at risk," the president said.

The president stressed that the Warsaw Uprising was "one of the stones thrown onto the ramparts" of building a free and independent Poland.

"There always was a great dream of freedom. After the Second World War, when Poland was not a fully sovereign, independent and free country, the myth of the Warsaw Uprising was always present. Even though it was forbidden to a large extent," he went on to say.

President Duda underlined that "owing to that struggle, we have a fully sovereign, independent and free Poland today."

Earlier, the Warsaw Uprising veterans and people involved in the preservation of the memory of this heroic act were presented with state decorations and Medals of the 100th Anniversary of Regaining Independence.

The Warsaw Uprising, which broke out on August 1, 1944, was the largest resistance operation in German-occupied Europe during World War II. For 63 days, the Poles fought on their own, receiving only a small amount of support as part of the airdrops by the Allies. The uprising claimed the lives of 18,000 insurgents and around 180,000 civilians.