Warsaw Rises!

On 1st August 2004 Poland commemorated the 60th Anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising. This moment was marked by the unveiling of the brand new Rising Museum in a solemn ceremony which was attended by Colin Powell and Chancellor Schroeder alongside other eminent statesmen. The unprecedented brutality of the Second World War may have long since been consigned to the history books by many countries, particularly those in the West, but in Poland the terrible wounds are far from healed. Poland lost seventeen percent of its population during the war, a staggering 6 million people (compared to 500,000 Americans, or 400,000 Brits), and its capital, Warsaw, was utterly destroyed.

Moreover, unlike its Allies, Poland's sufferings didn't stop in 1945 at the end of the War. For nearly half a century more, the Poles were denied their freedom and forced to endure the brutal and totalitarian regime of Soviet Russia. During these fifty years of Communist rule all mention of the heroic Warsaw Uprising was forbidden - unless it was to slander those who had taken part in it. Following the absorption of Poland into the Soviet sphere of influence, Stalin declared the Uprising illegal and set about hunting down any surviving freedom fighters, with a view to killing or imprisoning them. It was a cynical attempt to suppress Polish nationalism and spirit.

Sixty years on and the enforced silence of the Communists has been broken: the brave resistance of the Armia Krajowa (also known as the Home Army) is finally gaining the recognition it deserves as one of the most heroic - and ultimately tragic - episodes of the Second World War.

The Struggle

In the Summer of 1944 the tides of war were turning against the Germans. The Americans and British had landed in Normandy and the Red Army had bulldozed through the Eastern front, and was marching on Warsaw. Ever since the beginning of the Nazi occupation the Poles had been preparing for a full-scale underground offensive, and on 1st August 1944 the order was finally given by General 'Bor' Komorowski for the forces of the Armia Krajowa (AK) to rise up and claim Warsaw back from the Nazis, who had held the city for over four years.

So it was that a force of 50,000 soldiers, some trained and equipped - others volunteers (including women and children , took up arms and began an assault on key strategical positions throughout the city. The Home Army won several bloody skirmishes in those first few days, and during this time the bold red and white of the Polish national flag flew over the Old Town. The mood was triumphant and, in those areas secured by the insurgents, the Varsovians held concerts, poetry readings and other entertainments as they celebrated their newly earned freedom. Unbeknown to them it was to be the city's last taste of freedom for forty-four years.

Although the Polish attack was planned to displace the German troops stationed in the city, it was only ever planned to hold the town for several days until the Russians arrived with support. Upon hearing the news of the Uprising, Himmler was so furious that he decreed that the whole city and its population should be destroyed as an example to the rest of Europe. Meanwhile, far from coming to the rescue of the doomed Poles, Stalin halted the Russian advance, claiming that the resistance was illegal and the AK were 'fascists'. The mighty Red Army did little more than watch the struggle from across the Vistula as the Germans regained control of the city. What's more, kindly 'Uncle Joe' deliberately obstructed the rest of the Allies from dispatching aid to the insurgents - refusing even to allow the Americans and the Brits to use precious airbases that were now under Soviet control.

What was the reason for this inaction? Simply put, Stalin hated the Poles, considering them his arch-enemy. He was still harbouring resentment over the Soviet-Polish War in which the Bolsheviks were humiliated and the Poles were able to claim all disputed territories from the Russians, including Lwow (now Lviv, in the Ukraine) and Wilno (now Vilnius, in Lithuania) - the same struggle in which he was almost court-martialled for his inadequacies a military commander. Now that the Germans were doing such a good job of destroying his bitter enemies, Stalin certainly didn't want to stop them. Moreover, with the last of Poland's home-based soldiers and leaders destroyed, he would be free to work his will over the ruined country.

And so, what was supposed to be a two or three day coup turned into a brutal and bloody two month struggle for the Home Army. The heavily reinforced Germans struck back at the insurgents with the full force of their firepower: tanks, rocket launchers, and air raids were just some of the hazards the ill-equipped Poles had to contend with. The city became a giant warzone and civilians were not spared. Just a few days after the Uprising began the Germans sent a chilling message to the insurgents, executing at least 30,000 citizens in what is now referred to as the Wola massacre. They rounded up people from the houses in the districts which they still controlled and shot them - women, children and the elderly were not spared. This inhumane genocide was intended to crush the Poles spirit for the fight. It didn't work. However, another diabolical tactic - using female civilians as human shields for German tanks - proved effective, stacking the odds further against the beleaguered Home Army.

Unable to compete with the reinforced German troops, the insurgents were forced into hiding, often into the sewers, from where they continued to orchestrate and co-ordinate attacks. The Germans were in control of water and power supplies whereas the Home Army were desperately lacking supplies of any kind - including food and ammunition (every animal in the city had been eaten - even the vermin - and shooting at the German planes was banned in order to conserve precious bullets). As the battle for the city raged on, with Varsovians dying at a rate of 2,000 a day, it became only a matter of time before the rebels were forced to capitulate. They finally did so on October 2nd, 63 days after the Uprising began.

In the two month struggle 18,000 Home Army soldiers died and 12,000 were wounded with the survivors either sent to German POW camps or managing to go into hiding. A staggering 250,000 civilians were killed during the Uprising. Meanwhile the German suffered 10,000 fatalities with nearly as many again wounded.


The Aftermath

The tragedy of the Warsaw Uprising lies not only in the bloody 63 day struggle but also in the immediate and long term aftermath. The Germans were the first to punish Warsaw and its people for daring to defend its freedom. Hitler ordered the city to be all but wiped off the face of the earth and special units were brought in to systematically detonate any building of the remotest importance to Polish culture. The city was effectively destroyed block by block, and when the Russians finally crossed the Vistula to liberate the city, they inherited only ruins.

Later, in the years directly following the War, as the Poles tried to rebuild their shattered country under Communist leadership, it was forbidden to talk of the brave soldiers of the Uprising. The movement was denounced as illegal and every effort was made to slander those involved. Keen to behead Polish society of its heroes and intelligentsia Stalin sent many of the surviving members of the AK to Siberia for lengthy spells of hard labour, whilst he executed those whom he perceived as particularly dangerous. The fact that nobody was able to honour these brave soldiers for fifty odd years is partly why there is so much renewed interest in the Uprising today.


What Were They Fighting For?

One of the biggest question marks that hangs over the Warsaw Uprising is whether it should have happened at all. Even at the time there was much debate about whether to launch an attack on the Germans or to wait for the course of the War to run itself out. The Germans were already retreating across much of Europe with the Red Army liberating many former Nazi strongholds. Surely it was only a matter of time before they freed Warsaw?

Despite this the Uprising took place, not least because the Poles didn't trust Soviet intentions. This is hardly surprising when you bear in mind that, at the very time Hitler had invaded them from the West, Stalin had entered their territory from the East. In fact the Soviet-Nazi agreement to share Poland between them only ended when Hitler attacked Soviet forces, driving the Red Army out of Poland and making Russia a surprise ally to the British and Americans. In addition to remembering the aggressive behaviour of the Russians in 1939, there were also the recent revelations at Katyn - the cold blooded massacre of 15,000 Polish officers - which was being pinned (rightly it turned out) on the Russians. The Poles knew that if Russian, rather than Polish, troops were to liberate Warsaw, then it was highly probable that Poland's future would be no better than it was under Nazi rule. A fact that was tragically borne out by history.

Other Poles and advocates of the Uprising state that the reason for the insurgency had little bearing on what the Russians were or weren't doing - it was that they simply had to make some gesture of defiance to the Nazis and to fight for their freedom. If it was a 'gesture' then it was an expensive one. A quarter of a million civilians were killed and 85% of the city destroyed in the struggle which the Home Army brought upon themselves.

Regardless of whether the decision to rise up turned out to be a correct one, it's important for us today to recognise that the decision was made for the right reasons. There are few black and white issues in history but the struggle of Poles fighting for their freedom against the tyranny of German and imminent Russian oppression is as close as good vs. evil as you can get. Whether those deaths were in vain or not is entirely separate from the question of whether we should honour those that fought, suffered and died - the answer to which is unequivocally 'yes'.

If you want to pay tribute to the soldiers of the Warsaw Uprising we suggest you visit the superb Warsaw Rising Museum, dedicated to the struggle and its victims.


Western Betrayal

There are those who blame the Western Allies for the failure of the Warsaw Uprising, and the subsequent pawning of Poland to Stalin and the Soviet Regime. They are not without reason. A few (mainly inaccurate) airdrops, made from long-range bases, were the only aid the members of the Uprising received from the Allies, who admittedly were being obstructed by the Russians at nearly every turn. In a telegram to Roosevelt, Churchill suggested launching aid missions in defiance of Stalin, but the American president sent the following response:

'I do not consider it advantageous to the long-range general war prospect for me to join you in the proposed message to Uncle Joe.'

Roosevelt didn't want to anger Stalin prior to the Yalta conference, in which amongst other things he planned to persuade Stalin to join the fight against Japan. It was at Yalta that the Western leaders made further concessions to Stalin, effectively allowing him to install a Communist government in Warsaw which was faithful to Moscow. They had previously agreed to Stalin's territorial acquisitions of Eastern Poland in the 1943 Teheran conference in Iran. The irony of sacrificing Poland to Stalin was of course that Britain had entered the War to save its Central European ally from Hitler. Freed from one tyrannical regime, she was being passed to an equally vicious one in the form of Stalin's Russia.

As early as 1943, at the Teheran conference held in Iran, Churchill and Roosevelt had agreed to Stalin's territorial acquisitions of Eastern Poland; meanwhile at Yalta the question of Poland was complicated by the fact that the Red Army already occupied Warsaw. The two Western Leaders agreed to allow Stalin's installed government to hold sway, effectively preventing the exiled Polish government (which had moved to London during the war) from returning to power and allowing Poland to become a Soviet satellite. Other Central European countries suffered similar fates whilst Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia were completely absorbed into the USSR.

Was this betrayal by the West? Or did Stalin simply hold all the trump cards? His army already occupied most of Europe and it was Russian forces that effectively won the War (despite what is portrayed by Hollywood and Western culture and education). It was Russian troops that had engaged 80% of the Nazi forces - and had lost a staggering 23 million men doing so - and this gave Stalin a very powerful hand at the negotiating table. Churchill in particular was suspicious of his Russian 'ally', but to fail to appease him could mean another war - a war that no one wanted and which Britain, America and the other Allies were unlikely to win. What's more America was more interested in securing Russian support against the Japanese in the East, which was a more important issue to them than the wranglings of post-war Europe.

Poland, and others, were certainly betrayed, but the real question is did the West have any other choice?

President Bush, during a speech in Latvia, recently described the negotiations of Yalta as an "attempt to sacrifice freedom for the sake of stability", and that "when powerful governments negotiated, the freedom of small nations was somehow expendable."

Well, that's cleared that up...


First Hand Accounts of the Warsaw Uprising

"I wasn't afraid because, frankly, one had little to lose. The occupation was awful. Anyway, we expected the Bolsheviks to help and the British to drop supplies, and we thought the Rising would end quickly." Wanda Gutowska.

"It was the heaviest fighting. Machine guns on all sides and terrible losses. But what I remember most was Tadeusz Araki, a brave boy, a good shot who sang beautifully and had a sense of humour. He was wounded in the stomach. We got to him with a stretcher, but a mortar hit, wounding the stretcher bearers and Araki a second time ... The hospital was so full of wounded men there was not space on the floor for him, but they did try to operate. I was called in. He was dying. Before he did, though, he asked me to say goodbye to the boys. I only cried twice during the Uprising and that was once." Dr. Halina Jedrzejewska recalls the day the Home Army took a school on the tactically crucial corridor of Stawki Street.

"Imagine what it felt like to live in areas held by the resistance. Never underestimate the everyday fear of occupation by the Nazis - and what it was like to be suddenly in a place that was free." Waclaw Gluth-Nowowieski.

"What went on was monstrous. The SS seized the director of a printing firm and his pregnant wife. They raped her in front of her husband, ripped out the unborn child with a bayonet, held it up for the father to see and finally killed him." Wanda Gutowska (re: Wola massacre).

"Imagine the scene: executions here, houses ablaze there - and then they burnt the bodies. You don't forget a smell like that." Edmund Baranowski (re: Wola massacre).

"Women were running with their babies and children, screaming and swearing at the Germans, and at us too, for making this happen." Zofia Dabrowska

"We were close to the Germans and they loved that tune, and when it finished, they'd shout: Friends, friends, play it again." Edmund Baranowski talking about 'Si Bonne' by Hanka Breczinska, which the Poles would play on their gramophone.

"We'd hold on as long as we could. Then, when we were about to lose our position, the survivors would fight a retreat or go into the sewers, to fight again." Edmund Baranowski.

"The canals, in my view, embody the worst of the Uprising. Imagine a narrow tunnel the shape of an egg, and having to run bow-legged with one foot on each inner shell of that egg, over sediment of toxic chemicals and decomposing bodies of the many who died down there, from suffocation or carbide gases the Germans used. Once, I was moving along and I got my foot caught in something. I tried to pull it away, but it was stuck in a decomposing body; when I got it free it was covered in rotten flesh." Stefan Baluk.

"We got completely lost - we should have gone north, but ended up east. I was half-blind and my wounds kept weeping. People began losing their nerve. The first sewer was small and round, some 80 cm by 70 cm, so the able-bodied crawled on hands and knees in the filth, with the person in front pulling the stretcher and the one behind pushing it. The worst thing was the panic. We were terrified the SS would put gas or grenades or electricity into the sewers. The manhole covers were open and we could hear German voices outside." Anna Olszewska Przylipiak.

"We did not only grow up quickly during those days, we grew old. At first it was a big adventure. But we hadn't thought what it would be like to see your comrades lying on the ground, their entrails lying beside them, begging their friends to kill them, to put them out of their pain." Zofia Dabrowska

"There was rubble everywhere,nowhere to hide - just imagine us, children, dragging this box of ammunition in the warm morning sun. Then we saw a medical orderly being carried by two other soldiers, both his legs torn off and dangling from his waist, blood covering the two men who were helping." Wanda Olkoska-Wolkonowski

"They always told us you don't feel pain, but they are wrong. Jadwiga was hit in the head and stomach and I from the waist down. I lay there until a boy scout came by. I told him: 'Take the order to command, and send help.' It was the worst night of my life - shooting-flashes-darkness; shooting-flashes-darkness, and the pain. At last they took me to hospital, but there was no room - I had to go to the cellar, where I was the only person not to die from blood poisoning. They gave me medicine as a special treatment, maybe because I was a young girl. I got gangrene, though, and on 17 September they amputated my leg. By now, I was alone. All my friends had been killed. That is how it was. You would talk to someone one day, and the next day they would be dead." Wanda Olkoska-Wolkonowski.

"The attitude of the civilians changed. In the last places to hold out, people knew what had happened in Wola, in the Old Town, and they were terrified of the Nazis. Those who supported everything we did at the start were now tired - tired of having no food, water or light, tired of the killing." Dr. Halina Jedrzejewska.

"By the end of September, the civilians were exhausted. They had had enough of the Uprising. They were concerned for their lives and the lives of their families. They couldn't take it any more. So on 30 September, Warsaw fell silent. The Germans came out of their bunkers. We came out from our barricades. We stared at each other in amazement. We shared cigarettes. We asked, 'What is going on? What happens next?'" Edmund Baranowski.

"I managed to escape from prison camp, but when I got back to Warsaw, I couldn't believe the destruction. There was nothing left of my city. Everyone I knew had vanished. I was walking alone, by the Vistula, and a single figure came towards me, as lost as me. I recognised him. It was a clerk who had organised a loan for me. We saw each other and embraced, amazed to see a familiar face in such a place as Warsaw was then." Pan Bartelski.

Many of the above quotes were taken from the excellent articles of Ed Vulliamy, writing for the Observer and Bernadeta Tendyra writing for the Daily Telegraph.

Comments

Mark from United Kingdom Reply May 28th, 2014

An inspiring story...

shane king from United States Reply Mar 20th, 2014

Not bad. Not bad at all. :)

Diane - Polish and Proud from United States Reply Oct 14th, 2013

If it weren't for the Home Army, I may not exist today....I am thankful to all those brave men, women and children. I am thrilled to hear of the Warsaw Rising Museum and pray that one day, I will be able to visit and further educate my daughter on our Polish culture.

Mike from United Kingdom Reply Apr 18th, 2013

You should watch the documentary 'The Four Horsemen' - OK, it's not about the Warsaw Uprising, but after all that bravery, you begin to wonder what it was all for? In the end, the fat cats have won, and all the brave normal people of the world have not really won 'freedom' at all.

Michael Wilson from United States Reply Feb 28th, 2012

All the subjugated peoples across this globe have paid an unfair price in their need to defend themselves, their families and their nations. Losing their inalienable rights at the hands of global despots. The freedom fighters are always the resistance that brings about change. But, not always for the better. Sometimes, unfortunately, it may have been, "Better to sleep with the Devil you know". We think anything must be better than the regimes that preceded: Pol Pot Idi[ot] Amin Soviet Hammer and their ilk. All nations yearn for better days. We complain about the price of gasoline Yet several times a day for the last 10 years we spent a $100,000,000's of armament and weaponry to kill a camel in the desert carrying a cell phone. We cannot feed and house our homeless, but we can find money to try to bring democracy to a bunch of desert loons who just wants to blow up the world and kill as many people as they can. I ask you, Where does this crap end? Let's elect the pacifists and Stop the Madness. God Bless all the good people of the world and to hell with the rest!

markc from Hong Kong Reply Feb 14th, 2012

Thank you so much. what courageous act demonstrated by the Polish people! My family visited Poland 2 years ago. My tour guide reminded us Warsaw was named Hero city; we walked through the rebuilt old town, and paid respect to some of my childhood Polish ''heros'' Copernicus and Madam Currie. On the way, there was a street exhibition of some old war photos and some old soldiers were talking to people passed by. People in the East Asia know little about Poland,people, culture or history. Reading this article of Warsaw uprising further strengthened my respect to the great Polish people and the heritage of fighting for freedom.

The State We're In from Netherlands Reply Dec 13th, 2011

In 1944, the Polish underground resistance - called the Home Army - launched an audacious rebellion against the Nazis known as the Warsaw Uprising. Stefan Bałuk, 97, was there. After the war, he was betrayed by the city he risked his life to free. Read more and listen to a radio interview with The State We're In, from Radio Netherlands Worldwide. http://www.rnw.nl/english/article/warsaw-uprising-rebel-fought-nazis-betrayed-communists

joe from Malta Reply Sep 14th, 2011

That was standard military startegy. It was also applied by the Allies in southern and western Europe. Russian soldiers died on Polish territory.

Moryc from United Kingdom Reply Apr 19th, 2011

You obvously haven't read the article properly, Gajaan... Russians didn't liberated Poles from Germans. They allowed Poles to die first and then occupied Poland again... Like in 1939 when they were good friends with Hitler and invaded Poland together with Germans...

Gajanan from India Reply Jan 9th, 2011

Poles have suffered a lot during the regime of Germans..Thanks to Russian for freeing them......Why should some one live in ghetto in his own country..Germans should ask for a sorry ?

Third Generation Pole from United Kingdom Oct 10th, 2013

Gajanan from India - you are an idiot. Get your facts right before putting your two pennies in.

JanP from United Kingdom Feb 10th, 2014

Gajanan from India - you have NO clue what you are talking about.

Bernard Darnley from United Kingdom Reply Oct 3rd, 2010

As an Irishman I can appriciate the great suffering and sacrifice that the Polish Nation endured. Perhaps the words of Mickiewicz sum it up. Jest u mnie kraj, oczyzna mysli mojej

Polish Woman from Poland Reply Aug 3rd, 2010

I'll never agree with these who claim that Warsaw Uprising shall never happen as it turned out to be dramatic. These people who went to fight knew this. They knew what can happen to them. And they had hope that Allies will help Warsaw, "its great Polish war companion" which never happened, unfortunately because of the politic reasons of European leaders and their meaning of best interest. Only these people who had guts to fight then can say, and they say it loud it was a horrendeous and dramatic step but at the same time unevitable one. You cannot say that it was a mistake to fight. That was their heroic choice which I respect and I'm so grateful for them that I can live in free Poland and talk to my grandma about these acts of rescuing Jews by my grandpa who fed them, helped them to hide and transported them through Bug river. For not a single penny. He was just a human like them... And he died for this after Germans kept him long hours on winter ground trying to make him betray the Jews. He died for pneumonia disease. I'm so proud for all Polish people andfor this courage. Polish nation is so great "fighting for your and our freedom" - that was our call, which the Europe remember when they want us to fight, but forget when our country need help.

linda Sikora from United States Reply May 2nd, 2010

This was an awful chapter in history made worse by the suppression of their story. My mother in law was one of those young women who fought so bravely for her homeland during the Uprising. We are only now appreciating the tragedy and hardships she went through. She fought with the Boncz battallion in the Old Town and I'm sure that those that didn't die during the uprising are probably deceased now which makes learning her story all that more difficult.

Boris from Sweden Reply Apr 6th, 2010

Damn that Stalin. I hope you don't blame all Russians or even all communists for what happend. Stalin was a sick and crazy man who just wanted power like Hitler. He killed a million of his own people, even communists and soldiers. What was 200 000 poles to him?

from Australia Reply Mar 26th, 2010

I salute all who took part - it moves me to tears. There is a special place in your heaven who rose against this greatest of unjustices. May your God bless you all.

tricee from United States Reply Mar 10th, 2010

but why was this important?

PAUL from Ireland Reply Nov 23rd, 2009

GREAT SITE--HOWEVER your logo of EUROPE omits IRELAND---your most ardent followers !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Asia from Canada Reply Sep 26th, 2009

Wow, 63 days and over 200 000 dead! It is like September 11 every day for over 2 months. I salute to those heroes from Warsaw

Sam from New Zealand Reply Sep 19th, 2009

wow, big ups to those fighters, my grand dad came from Poland and its so amazing to learn about its past.

LAURENCE GOFF from United Kingdom Reply Aug 28th, 2009

REMEMBRANCE CEREMONY- SERVICE AT NEWARK CEMETERY NOTTINGHAMSHIRE AT BRITISH COMMONWEALTH AND POLISH WAR GRAVES Warsaw Air Bridge Commemoration,. 27th September 2009 arrival at 1pm Annual Warsaw Air Bridge Memorial Ceremony will take place from the main gate and parking lot London Road, Newark. Members to join the Polish Ambassador, Newark town Mayor, Chairman of Newark and Sherwood District Council, The Royal British Legion and other distinguished guests at the annual ceremony - service. The Warsaw Air Bridge memorial, which reads" In tribute to the 250 men of Britain, the Commonwealth and Poland who sacrificed their young lives in desperate attempts to fly from distant RAF bases in Italy with essential supplies for the front line city of Warsaw during the 1944 uprising" Laurence Goff Friends of Newark Cemetery www.newarkcemeteryuk.wordpress.com/ laurencegoff@yahoo.co.uk http://www.flickr.com/photos/newarkcemeteryuk/

Joe Powell from United States Reply Aug 24th, 2009

My recent visit to Warsaw included the Museum, which is 100% a must see on any trip to Warsaw and Poland. It is my sincere hope that this uprising freedom story be remembered everywhere, forever, as proof of the deep human spirit for liberty and self determination, as well as supreme bravery and courage. God Bless all the good souls that died there.

felipe from Poland Reply Aug 1st, 2009

HEY BRAVE VARSOVIANS! Respect! I appreciate what you did!!!

Alyce from Canada Reply Mar 11th, 2009

I just finished watching a film: Ashes and Diamonds about post-war Poland. I had no idea the polish people suffered so badly during the 2nd WW. I am so impressed with their bravery and fortitude and feel so sorry that Warsaw was devastated during the uprising of 1944. I hope to visit Poland one day. Thank you for a great site. Andrzej Wajda: Ashes and Diamonds

Anita Kutlesa from Canada Reply Feb 25th, 2009

Very informative. I'm very proud to be of polish background. Taking the time to understand and reflect on history is so important. So many people lack appreciation on the freedom we have today, reading this article just a reminder of how good we have it now. Warsaw is so beautiful, and i always take the time to soak in all it has to offer everytime i visit my family there!

Daniel from Germany Reply Dec 14th, 2008

Poland was and is a powerful country! Hold it up! 2005 haved meet Donald Tusk in Warszawa in front of the monument for the uprising of 1944. Was a greatful moment! I love Poland and the history of this country. Strong and friendly people. I visit my guest-family every year in Poland. Dziekuje bardzo polska i przepraszam dla 1939 - 1945! Daniel (31 lat, niemcem).

k8 from United States Reply Nov 19th, 2008

The Warsaw Rising museum is amazing - it was even featured on CNN's quick picks of what to see in Warsaw!

MBeniowski from Poland Reply Oct 24th, 2008

Warsaw supposedly used to be called 'Paris of the North' or 'East'. I don't like comparisons of that sort as they indicate that cities like Paris are something like specimen, a ultimate example of urban beauty, which other places can only follow. It's not truth. Anyway you can imagine the beauty of prewar Warsaw, her charm and vigour. I wish I could see that. That's how past affects present - how much money Varsovians lost because of lack of tourism caused by city destruction and communist rule? A lot...

David from United Kingdom Reply Aug 8th, 2008

Having just returned from 3 days in Warsaw - I'm thankful for the information gained here . . . . Amazing city - lovely people - what their parents suffered - - -

PJ from Ireland Reply Jun 4th, 2008

Apologies for views of Richie from Ireland every country has its share of idiots. I have visited Warsaw and thought it was remarkable what has been achieved in reconstructing the old part of the city. The building "inspired" by Stalin is impressive, although it is understandable why the Poles are not fond of it. To compare the rising to more recent events, the Poles had a 9/11 experience every day for over 63 days. These people were patriots and deserve respect, the many street monuments are testament to the local atrocities of war. But the bombing of German civilian populations in Dresden, Frankfurt etc was equally barbaric, but the victors tend to write the history. The Polish cemetary at Monte Cassino, FR,Italy is also a significant monument to the fighting spirit of the Poles and the price some were willing to pay for democracy, which is it's a a hell of a lot better than any communist regime i.e. Stalin's USSR,, Mao'S China, Pol Pot's Cambodia, Castro's Cuba. What about Robert Mugabe in Zimmbabe? it used to be called Rhodesia before they got stuck with that clown, how many EU countries are neutral on this dictator? time for another uprising? By the way about 150,000 Irish citizens fought with the Allies in WW2, they too deserve respect,one can verify this in the British, and American cemetery's in the fields of Normandy, Cassino and elsewhere and yes we were offically neutral?

Guvenc from Turkey Reply Apr 16th, 2008

Fighting for freedom even there is no hope. This is respectful. Talking with the enemies and sharing cigarettes is familiar from Gallipoli/TURKEY in The World War 1st. I hope no such tragedies happen again..

moderchai from Poland Reply Mar 25th, 2008

I went to see warsaw as a boy this doesnt describe how it was back then in the 60s

pcameron from United States Reply Feb 24th, 2008

18 year ago in 1990's america 21 year old boy kid tours visited in warsaw's in set.of,1990's 3 day tours in warsaw,poland see never world war 2 in warsaw's damage war former nazi troop waffen famliay jewlish poelpe killed 250,000 in 1943's-1944's warasaw uprising.

William Thompson from United States Reply Jan 18th, 2008

I agree with some people that they were brave, and very lasting against the Germans. One thing I do not agree with, is that Warsaw in 1944 was definetly NOT a good time in history. We should remember this time as a flaw in human nature. We should always remember the Polish people that fought in this time as what is a great part of the human nature. I think that majority of wars are caused by religions. The most serious ones were. It would be nice if everyone didn't even have a religion and just went with something logical. I myself have no religion. Though, a good amount of wars are created by different reasons. Why would anybody be targeted by something they think is right? Something they might not even have had a choice in? Children are born to follow the religion, if they had a choice, they might not. It really isn't fair to be targeted because of it. We can only hope that humans will do what they can to stop other humans from destroying everyone.

Mark from United Kingdom Reply Jan 5th, 2008

Reviews are a good way to get the feel of the facts, but to go there & see he plaques on the walls in old town & throughout Warsawa is an experience never to be forgotten.It's a most beautiful town with such a tragic yet proud history.Well worth a visit as is the rest of the country.

avril from Ireland Reply Nov 29th, 2007

dis site is brilliant i learned alot!

Anthony A. Guyda, Jr. from United States Reply Nov 17th, 2007

This article told it how it happened. Did you know that the Nazis let loose on Warszawa hardened criminals from Germany?

Muriel Tillinghast from United States Reply Nov 15th, 2007

Thank you for this snapshot of that era. All I can say is that such tragedy should never be repeated, but it is somewhere everyday, somewhere.

R Buchwalter from Germany Reply Nov 4th, 2007

Unspeakble endurance, courage, humanity. Warsaw 1944, one the great moments in human history.

stacey from Ireland Reply Oct 19th, 2007

its an animal site very educational and interesting!!

rafal from Poland Reply Jul 24th, 2007

that's thru... look on this page: www.1944.pl

mirasso from Poland Reply May 23rd, 2007

to richie from Ireland: The Soviet Union recognized the Ireland beacuse it was favourable for them to do so, as the same for Hitler. Ireland didn't join in the fight agains Germans. Would you write that the Nazi Germany were grat as well???

conor from United States Reply May 8th, 2007

this was really helpful n educational

paul mcgreevy from Ireland Reply Apr 30th, 2007

very well explained and good to read

Jakoba from Belgium Reply Apr 9th, 2007

This article gave me goosebumps and made me understand the Warsaw Uprising and its vital importance. I greatly appreciate this critical and still objective view. Thanks a lot.

Amelia from United States Reply Feb 27th, 2007

Perfect!

jon thwaites from United Kingdom Reply Feb 20th, 2007

words cant discribe what i have just read.

Olivia Mac from United States Reply Feb 18th, 2007

Thank you for this page. It helped me tons on my report, and because of you, I got an "A"!

richie from Ireland Reply Feb 17th, 2007

the soviet union were great.They were the first country in the world to recognise ireland as an independant state

Robert Desiderio from United States Reply Feb 11th, 2007

A very moving account.

Jan from United Kingdom Reply Feb 7th, 2007

It's difficult to do justice to a subject like the Warsaw Uprising, but I think this article does a great job. This was a terrible event which deserves wider recognition and acknowledgement

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