Warsaw Uprising commemorations held in the Polish capital

When speaking about the uprising, Duda referenced the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Warsaw, in which the fathers and mothers of the Warsaw insurgents fought against Bolsheviks. Marcin Obara/PAP

President Andrzej Duda, Mayor of Warsaw Rafał Trzaskowski and numerous insurgents took part in Thursday's commemorations in Warsaw, which are part of the events to mark the upcoming 76th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising.

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 fighting 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.

During a Thursday address at the Warsaw Rising Museum, Duda said that this year's meeting with the heroes of the Uprising was taking place in "unusual, difficult circumstances, in a group that is so much smaller than usual."

"I thank God once again at this point that the Warsaw Insurgents are with us, the absolute greatest heroes not only of this day, of the next, the 76th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising, but also of our times. I want to emphasise this with all my might. It is not only their service in the underground, it is not only their service and blood shed during the Warsaw Uprising, but their later years of activity, serving Poland, and very often also opposition activities aimed at making this Poland truly free and independent, sovereign." President Duda said.

When speaking about the uprising, Duda referenced the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Warsaw, in which the fathers and mothers of the Warsaw insurgents fought against Bolsheviks.

He observed that the generations that fought for Polish independence on various fronts of World War I and World War II, and the Poland's greatest uprisings, raised their children in such a way that they later were ready to sacrifice everything for the motherland without hesitation, very often when in their teenage years.

The president expressed his joy at the fact that in few days' time Warsaw will unveil a monument to Stanisław Jankowski, nom de guerre "Agaton", architect and Warsaw Uprising insurgent, who devoted his post-war life to the construction of the destroyed capital.

Referring to another Warsaw architect Michał Borowski, who was posthumously awarded on Thursday, the president described him as "the main architect of Warsaw, who by his service for the capital (...) gave it the most modern face." Duda expressed hope that those two events will remain as "a symbol of continuity in building" the capital and the country for future generations.

Warsaw Mayor Trzaskowski, when addressing the insurgents, said that they let people rebuild Poland's community and speak in peace about the things which connect them.

"The Warsaw Uprising is part of the identity of all Poles, part of our genetic code (...) without the Warsaw Uprising, there would be no free Poland," Trzaskowski added.

After the awarding of medals commemorating 100 years of Poland's independence to insurgents attending the commemorations, Duda again thanked the veterans for their heroism and for continuing to meet with the youth of today in order to share their experiences.