Warsaw to commemorate Wola Massacre victims

Monument at the Warsaw Uprising Cemetery in Warsaw's Wola district. Radek Pietruszka/PAP

Warsaw residents will take part on Monday in a Remembrance March to honour civilian victims of the Warsaw Uprising, including the Wola Massacre. The Wola Massacre is considered to have been one of the largest crimes against the Polish population during WWII.

The march, a part of the ceremonies marking the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising and the Wola Massacre launch, will begin at the latter's victims memorial, situated at the corner of the Warsaw's Solidarnosci and Leszno streets.

From August 5 to 7, 1944, German SS troops under Gruppenfuehrer Heinz Reinefahrt and collaborating forces killed an estimated 40,000 to 60,000 people in Wola and the adjacent Ochota, both districts considered by the Germans to be most in need of "cleansing" from insurgents and civilians. The killings followed an express order by Hitler to annihilate all civilians in the area.

Though mass extermination ended on August 7, the killing continued on a smaller scale until August 12 when Germany's General Erich von dem Bach-Zelewski ordered a ban on the murder of civilians.

The Home Army-organised Warsaw Uprising broke out on August 1, 1944, as the biggest resistance operation in German-occupied Europe. Initially intended to last several days, it continued for over two months before its suppression by the Germans. The uprising claimed the lives of 18,000 insurgents and around 200,000 civilians.