Polish capital pays tribute to 1944 heroic act of resistance
Sirens wailed throughout Warsaw at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, the exact time of the August 1, 1944, outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising against the city's Nazi German invaders, to mark the revolt's 78th anniversary.
As the sirens wailed, traffic and pedestrians stopped throughout the city for a minute of silence in tribute to the fighters and victims of the bloody WWII insurgency.
The Warsaw Uprising March, which started in downtown Warsaw shortly after the capital held a moment of silence, was planned to end with a concert of uprising-time songs in front of the Warsaw Uprising Memorial in Krasińskich Square.
Just before the sirens were turned on, President Andrzej Duda and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak laid flowers at the grave of General Antoni Chruściel, the commander of the Warsaw District of the Home Army and the commander of all Polish forces fighting against the Germans in the uprising.
At 5:00 pm, Andrzej Duda, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, Deputy PM and Culture Minister Piotr Gliński, Mariusz Błaszczak, lower house Speaker Elżbieta Witek and Warsaw city officials paid tribute to the heroic insurgents at the Gloria Victis (glory to the defeated - PAP) memorial in Warsaw's Powązki Military Cemetery, where 4,000-4,500 of them are buried.
The Warsaw Uprising was the largest underground military operation in German-occupied Europe. On August 1, 1944, around 40,000-50,000 insurgents took part in the fighting. Planned to last several days, the uprising eventually lasted over two months.
During the fighting in Warsaw, about 18,000 insurgents lost their lives and 25,000 were wounded. Losses among the civilian population were huge and amounted to approx. 180,000. After the Warsaw Uprising was crushed, about 500,000 surviving residents were forced to evacuate and Warsaw was almost completely razed to the ground.