Warsaw Rising Museum
The Warsaw Rising Museum, arguably the city's finest museum, was opened in 2004 to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the doomed Warsaw Uprising of 1944. The Uprising is tragic and largely unknown chapter of World War II, in which a brave Polish resistance of freedom fighters met annihilation and retribution from the Nazis, in front of a backdrop of underhand maneuverings - principally by Stalin. Hushed up by the Soviets after the War and largely ignored by the West, the subject of the Uprising has only started to receive the attention it demands in recent years. It is a fascinating and disturbing story, partly because of the gall and guile of the Polish Home Army, which, despite being small and woefully ill-equipped, resisted the Germans for 63 days; and partly because of the complicated issues surrounding the event: the Rising's ultimate futility, the severe consequences of its failure, the inaction of the Russians, and what many Poles still perceive as the betrayal of Poland by its Western Allies, Great Britain and America.
The Warsaw Rising Museum attempts to accurately recreate the atmosphere and events of the struggle of 1944, and to give a picture of the realities of life under the Nazis which precipitated the fight for freedom. The Rising has been criticised in the past as a pointless gesture that brought needless death and destruction upon the city; however the Museum shows the importance of this 'gesture', which serves as an example of the strength of the Polish spirit - the same spirit that eventually helped overthrow Communism and secure Poland's status as a free country. The Museum seeks to give this bold resistance, and in particular its patriotic protagonists, a prominent place in the national consciousness - something which was denied to them for 45 years after the War.
Inside the vast museum building - a former power station - visitors will find three floors of exhibition to work their way around. Photographs provide the main body of evidence, some jubilant and upbeat, others terrifying. Amongst the smiling soldiers are pictures of boys and girls as young as 12 years old, who were enlisted as messengers and couriers. The Museum also has a number of excellent video and interactive presentations and a cinema screen on the Mezzanine shows footage of the first month of the struggle, when the Poles scored some important victories against the Germans. There are also a number of 'replica' exhibits, one of the best of which is the mock sewer, which guests can travel through. The sewers were often used as places of refuge and flight for the Polish Home Army - particularly as their position became increasingly desperate - and some of the gruesome realities of living in such squalor is brought home by the exhibit. The final exposition, 'Death of a City', shows footage of Warsaw as it was before the War, and after the Nazi backlash. Thousands were executed in retribution for the Uprising and every building considered of any importance to Polish culture was destroyed.
See here for a trailer of one of a kind documentary on the rising - a feature film made of 100% original footage taken during the combat days. A must!
A trip to the Warsaw Rising Museum is pretty much essential for any visitor of the city - particularly those that think that the sins of the Second World War are forgotten and forgiven. The aftermath for the Poles continued until 1989 and the scars on the face of the Polish capital are still visible today.
The Warsaw Rising Museum is open 10:00 - 18:00 everyday, with late opening on Thursdays until 20:00. Admission is 4 zloty (2 for concessions), and it is free to enter on Sundays. Click here to visit the official website.
LeighPerson from United States Reply
The Katyn Massacre WAS committed by the Soviets. They admitted to it decades later. As far as the Uprising, the resistance had very little help from anybody including the US and Britain. Most of what they did, they did on their own.
Thomas Galligan from United States Reply
I visited your country in March of 2013 and have come away with the utmost respect for the courage your people exhibited during the Uprising of 1944. I visited the Warsaw Rising Museum and was in shock of what the Polish people had to endure and in awe of your spirit. God Bless.
Suzanne L Haney from United States Reply
Mr Margolies, your information is incorrect. Both the United States and United Kingdom flew flights to aid the Warsaw Uprising.. Unfortunately the Soviets refused to allow refueling of the aircraft from Framingham, England at any of the 11 airfields they controlled East and of Warsaw. The Soviets were interest in having the uprising fail so they could have Polish Communists in place after the Soviet army 'liberated' Poland. The Soviets would ONLY allow allied planes to refuel on Soviet controlled territory if they were coming from flights that had bombed target in Germany, ie Factories, rail yards etc. Churchill and Eisenhower negotiated once the AK in England knew of the uprising with Stalin, who steadfastly refused refueling rights.. The British allowed Polish Air Force in exile pilots to fly to Poland with supplies from England, and many of these flights went don in Poland or the Balkans attempting get to the allies air field in Brendizi Italy. as they did not have adequate fuel. In Oct Stalin finally gave 'permission’ and British and American air crews flew to Warsaw. Unfortunately they were shot down while dropping supplies to aid the uprising and were NOT allowed to refuel by the Soviets. I know this is true …………. because my uncle, my father’s bother bailed out of a burning B-17 plane and was executed by Panzer SS while waiving a white handkerchief as a surrendering prisoner. Polish Partisans in the woods saw the plane go down. For years when the Communist Polish government repeatedly stated they the British and Americans had NOT aided the Poles, those who buried the American flight crew were refused the right to erect an marker the site. In 1988 with improving US - Soviet relations President Bush visited the site, where the local residents had been allow to be build a memorial at the Polish military section of St Margaret’s cemetery Lomianki. [every church cemetery in Poland has a War Hero burial section]. In 1989 the Communist government invited the Americans families for the US air crew killed there to come for a memorial ceremony. I attended with my elderly parents. My father never forgot meting the 92 year old woman who had held my uncle in her arms before he was buried. She talked of his bright blue eyes, when we showed her his photo. It was a most impressive ceremony, with AK pilots coming from Britain, and the American Ambassador at the ceremony, Mass, and Dinner. I understand that an Honor Guard comes to the memorial on the 4th of July. But Poland was still fraught with danger as the Soviets had not yet left the country, and we were followed and had our rooms searched etc, etc. with the Secret Police also at the guest house where we stayed. I hope to come with my sister in 2014 to the Ceremonies. E NOTE We carried US funds for a Polish friend whose husbands had been murdered at Katyn Forest. In Warsaw. roses were still being placed to cover the text of the Soviet memorial to the Katyn victims of the 'Nazis'.
Frank Niemiec from United States Reply
How can we obtain the new film, "Warsaw Rising"? Is there an English-language version? Thank you.
Editor from Poland
Hi Frank, the new "Warsaw Rising" film will only be available in Polish cinemas for a while, as it is just being introduced to viewers. Hopefully they will release a DVD copy in time... You just need to be patient and keep browsing the web for latest info. Regards!
I was born in Baltimore MD - in the year of the Uprising - and through my love of history and heritage (my paternal grandparents immigrated from Poland...maternal grandparents from Ireland) the stories from wartime Poland made/make me shiver. The guerilla fighters of Warsaw, those strong - willed and brave warriors held back the sea.
stanley Margolies from United States Reply
Someday, I would like to visit this museum! The United Stated and Great Britain allowed the Polish patriots to be slaughtered by the Russians without giving them any aid from the west! The same way as they blamed the Katyn Masacre on the Germans when they knew that the Russians had committed it! The idea was not to make waves with our socalled Russian allies! The West did not need or use them in the Pacific War which was the reason that all the concessions were made to the Russians. This set the stage for the socalled "cold" war after WWW II. The stupid American CIA hired the German WWII intelligence service to inform it on Russian military strength. The US was completely misled by them into believing that Russia was much stronger than it was! So much for our stupidity in hiring ex Nazis, or were they they ex! The really good ones Hitler murdered@! w t
Heather from United States Reply
This museum was a fabulous experience. There is so much information that days could be spent there.
RG Johnson from United Kingdom Reply
Harrowing but wonderful - very well done.
David Maksymchuk from Canada Reply
Excellent, well done. Dziekuje. It is incredible that new additions to the exhibit continue to be unearthed around the city to this day.
Mariarita from Italy Reply
i think everyone need to come here, to know..
Edek Luniewski from United States Reply
I was there at the age of 11. I was a scout for the Home Army. The museum is a good representation of that time.
Len Edwards from United Kingdom Reply
Visiting the museum was paramount on my stay in Warsaw and it fulfilled my expectation. What was done to Warsaw and Poland needs to be told and not forgotten.
Sonya from Mexico Reply
I loved it! Specially the first floor with all the armors
Jana from United States Reply
The Warsaw Rising museum was an incredible part of a study abroad trip to Poland I went on two years ago. Absolutely one of the most impressive modern museums you will ever experience.
Ken Bentley from Netherlands Reply
The most fascinating musuem I've ever visited. It's a tribute to those couragious people who fought and died for freedom. Each and everyone of them is a hero who memory has been kept alive by this superb museum.
Robert Crowson from United States Reply
L.Leclerc from Canada Reply
Not a review. I am wondering how I can see 'Warsaw Rising Museum' online. Also, will the 'City in Ruins' be available online?
Kenneth Bergin from Samoa Reply
Is nice et like it. theres alwavs a poland!!! stolze polen
from Guadeloupe Reply
Dmitrijus from United States Reply
The Best Muesium ever ich Sie liebe
Maggie Lasdauskas from Australia Reply
I recently visited this museum with my cousin. My uncle who fought in the uprising was unable to join us. This is the first museum which has enabled me to feel some part of what life must have been like during the uprising. It portrays just how difficult and unequal the struggle was. The heros who fought and those who died there or later in the camps, and the civilians who were murdered should should never be forgotten. I hope the heart of this museum never stops beating. This museum should be compulsory viewing for those seeking to know more about the war and specifically the Polish Home Army and its actions.
Moritz from Austria Reply
One of the best museums I have ever visited. Display is superb, information in dual language (pol-eng), there is a lot of information about WWII you won't find in Imperial War Museum in London or in any other 'traditional' museum. When you there don't miss the caffeteria on second floor - it couldn't be any better: nice, vintage touch, excellent 40's music (Mieczyslaw Fogg I was told) and great hot chocolate. Must-visit place for any traveller.
Susan B from United States Reply
A group of 24 teachers visited the museum in August 2008 as a part of NCCAT's Holocaust studies tour and we all agreed it was a beautiful and informative stop. Well worth out time!
Nigel from United Kingdom Reply
This museum really is a "must-see" for any visitors who want to understand Warsaw, and Poland's, tragic history during WW2. You will come away with a great admiration for their courage both during and after the war.
Thomas Jennings from United States Reply
hanbidge from United Kingdom Reply
I visited last year and was very interested and as a result have learned more about the uprising as I did when visitingthe exhibition about Galacian /Jewish life before and after the war.
Big D from United Kingdom Reply
The Warsaw Rising Museum is a must see when in Warsaw. No understanding of the city is complete without a visit. Very moving and an excellent museum