Sunday, August 01, 2004

Remembering the Warsaw Uprising

Thanks to the excellent Harry's Place for calling my attention to these links.

This website is dedicated to the 1944 Warsaw Uprising, which took place sixty years ago.

Robert Taylor in the Tribune (This was George Orwell's paper--The Labour wing of the Labour Party, one might say.)

This weekend in the Polish capital, Warsaw, one of the greatest tragedies of the 20th century will be commemorated by its people.

It was 60 years ago on August 1 1944, that the city rose up against their hated Nazi oppressors in order to liberate Warsaw from German rule before the arrival of the Red Army, which had just reached the east bank of the River Vistula a stone’s throw away.

For the next two months, Warsaw was turned into a battlefield and charnel house.

Street by street, the German forces recaptured the capital as civilians were murdered in their tens of thousands.

After its surrender on October 2, Adolf Hitler ordered the utter destruction of the city and those Poles who remained alive in its ruins were dispatched to concentration camps.

By the time that Soviet troops entered Warsaw on January 20 1945, the once beautiful Polish capital – often described before the war as the Paris of the east – had been turned into little more than mountains of rubble.

The battle for Warsaw was a heroic moment in modern Polish history.

But not until August 1989 were the Poles able to honour its memory through officially recognised events.

The Soviet Union refused to allow any commemoration and their satellite Communist Governments in Poland made sure that none were held.

Many in the West still confuse the 1944 uprising with the Warsaw ghetto rebellion of the Jews in early 1943.

But it needs to be treated separately and more widely understood as it takes its honourable place alongside the Normandy landings in June of that year and the July 20 failed German plot to assassinate Hitler as one of the final decisive moments of the Second World War.

There is also this worthy story featuring an interview with historian Norman Davis.

Post a Comment