President addresses insurgents at Warsaw Rising commemorations

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

This year, the commemorations began on Thursday and will last until Sunday, August 2.

During an address at the Warsaw Rising Museum on Thursday, President 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."

When speaking about the uprising, the President referred to the upcoming centenary of the Battle of Warsaw, in which the fathers and mothers of the Warsaw insurgents fought against the Soviet Red Army.

He highlighted that the generations that fought for Polish independence on various fronts of World War I and World War II, and Poland's greatest risings, brought up their children in a way that ensured they were ready to sacrifice everything for the motherland without hesitation, very often as teens.

The president expressed his joy at the fact that in a few days' time Warsaw will unveil a monument to Stanislaw 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 Michal 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."

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

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

Initially intended to last only a few days, but resulting in more than two months of fierce fighting, the Warsaw Uprising was the biggest armed offensive of any underground resistance in Nazi-occupied Europe.

The uprising began at 5 PM on August 1, 1944, in an attempt to liberate the city from German hands as the Soviet Army began their offensive in the German-occupied territory which is now central-eastern Poland.

After 63 days of fighting, running low on ammunition and food supplies, the uprising ended with the insurgents’ surrendering on October 3. As a consequence, around 200,000 insurgents and civilians lost their lives, and by the time the German forces withdrew from Warsaw in January 1945, around 85 percent of the city’s infrastructure had been completely levelled and barely 6 percent of Warsaw’s pre-war population still remained in the city.