President: Thanks to Warsaw Uprising fighters Poland exists
It is thanks to the Warsaw Uprising fighters that Poland exists today, Polish President Andrzej Duda stressed on Wednesday during a ceremonial Roll-Call of the Fallen a day before the 75th anniversary of the uprising's outbreak.
"It is thanks to that generation, which then was bleeding on the streets of Warsaw, fought arms in hand for a free Poland (...) thanks to its courage, heroism, determination Poland exists," President Duda said during a ceremony at the Warsaw Uprising Monument in the Polish capital.
The president went on to say that it was thanks to the Warsaw Uprising soldiers that Poland did not become yet another Soviet republic. "Stalin saw one thing, that Poles are steadfast, not easy to subjugate, that they would not allow themselves to be easily stamped out, that they are proud and dangerous, that heroism and courage until death was not alien to them."
The ceremony at the capital's Krasinskich Square was among the events marking the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising. Apart from the president, it was attended by PM Mateusz Morawiecki as well as Polish and German Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz and Heiko Maas. Present were also representatives of the government and parliament, local authorities, veterans' organisations and city residents.
The roll-call was preceded by a mass during which Field Bishop of the Polish Armed Forces Jozef Guzdek stressed that Home Army soldiers' heroic act showed the world that Pole's dignity and the right to respect a nation's freedom are superior values.
A special resolution on the occasion was passed by Polish MPs in which they paid tribute to all the heroes of the Warsaw Uprising.
The Warsaw Uprising broke out on August 1, 1944 as the biggest resistance operation in Nazi-occupied Europe. Initially intended to last several days, it continued for 63 days before being suppressed by the Germans. The uprising claimed the lives of 18,000 insurgents and around 180,000 civilians.
After the insurgents surrendered and the remaining 500,000 Warsaw residents were expelled, the Germans methodically burned down and blew up Warsaw house by house. By January 17, 1945, 85 percent of the city's buildings had been destroyed. (PAP)