Warsaw Uprising commemorations held in Polish capital

Wojciech Olkuśnik/PAP

President Andrzej Duda, Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski and a group of insurgents took part in Friday's commemorations in Warsaw, which started events to mark the upcoming 77th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising.

"There would surely be no free, independent and fully sovereign Poland if it were not for the blood shed by the insurgents, without their heroism, their effort and their attitude," Duda said during his address at the Warsaw Rising Museum in Warsaw.

The Warsaw Uprising was the largest underground military operation in German-occupied Europe. On August 1, 1944, around 40-50 thousand 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.

The president stated that the Warsaw insurgents felt no fear, did not hesitate and did not calculate the probability of their victory. "They simply wanted a free Poland, at any cost, even at the cost of their lives."

"We all know that there would be no Poland without you, ... that there would be no values, ... but there would be no Warsaw, either" the Warsaw mayor said, addressing the insurgents. "Let me express my gratitude to you today."