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79th anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising. Celebrations at the Monument to the Soldiers of “Żywiciela”

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The upcoming 79th anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising was celebrated on Saturday at the Monument to the “Żywiciel” Soldiers in the capital Żoliborz. Wreaths were laid and salutes were given. The uprising in this district began on August 1, 1944, before the “W” hour.

The ceremony was opened by a soldier of the 2nd District “Żywiciel” (Żoliborz) of the Warsaw District of the Home Army, Group “Żyrafa” Wiktor Walasiak pseudonym “Lopek”.

“They wanted with all their strength to take revenge for the daily humiliation”

– We wanted to be free and we owed our freedom to ourselves. These words best reflect both the tragic nature of our situation and the determination of people who, after years difficult to imagine by their contemporaries filled with the cruelty of the occupation, wanted to take revenge with all their might for everyday humiliation and persecution – said during the ceremony, a participant in the uprising, Prof. Mieczyslaw Pulawski.

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The longtime secretary of the board of the Association of Soldiers of the Home Army “Żywiciel” and Lovers of Their Tradition, daughter of the liaison officer, Ewa Miszczuk pointed out that the witnesses of past events are leaving.

– It becomes urgent and necessary to obtain materials from them that could be used by younger people, especially Żoliborz residents, to supplement historical knowledge about the wartime past of our district – said Miszczuk. She pointed out that “despite many years of efforts by the association, it has not been possible to obtain an independent premises for the organization to this day”. “Even interesting documents lie in the basements of the current members of the association,” she added. She also appealed to young people not to limit their interest in the past only to the presence at anniversary meetings, but to use “perhaps the last opportunities to acquire knowledge about past times not only from available literature, but directly from Żoliborz veterans”.

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“Today’s peace had to be fought with arms in hand”

Renata Kaznowska, Deputy Mayor of Warsaw, said that the tradition of the Warsaw Uprising has grown into today’s Warsaw.

– For many who come here, the stone with the inscription “To the Żywiciela Soldiers” reminds them that today’s peace of their mothers and grandmothers, their fathers and grandfathers – they had to fight with arms in their hands. (…) We owe them memory and recognition – said Kaznowska. The mayor of the Żoliborz district, Paweł Michalec, pointed out that the insurgents after the war, despite repression and persecution, worked for the benefit of Polish society.

– You are full of empathy and understanding for others. you don’t share. You want to have one society and you are looking for good, you are looking for what will unite us, what will give us the opportunity to create a wonderful community – said Michalec.

Prayer, volley of honor, wreaths, flowers, candles

During the ceremony for the soldiers of the uprising and the fallen inhabitants of the capital, the prayer was led by the parish priest of the Holy Confessors of Father Rafał and Brother Albert, Fr. Darius Kowalski. Then, the list of soldiers of the Home Army group “Żywiciel” who died during the previous year and the memorial appeal were read out. In honor of the fallen and murdered, three salvos of honor were fired. At the end, representatives of President, Prime Minister, Parliament, city authorities, Żoliborz district, veterans’ organizations and residents of the district laid wreaths and flowers at the monument of “Żywiciela” Soldiers. The numerous flag bearers who arrived also paid tribute to the heroes of the uprising. Candles were lit in front of the obelisk.

“The Republic of Żoliborz”. Here the uprising broke out earlier

The Monument to the “Żywiciel” Soldiers is one of the most important memorial sites of the Warsaw Uprising in Żoliborz. Traditionally, before the anniversary of the outbreak of the fighting, insurgents fighting in this part of the city and soldiers of the partisan units of the Home Army, which brought help to the fighting district from Bielany and the Kampinos Forest, gather at it.

August 1, 1944 at approx. 1.30 p.m. on ul. Krasiński, the Home Army soldiers, who were carrying weapons to the concentration point of one of the units, came across a German patrol. A long firefight ensued. The Germans brought reinforcements from Śródmieście, and more insurgent units joined the fight. Throughout the entire period of the uprising, Żoliborz – cut off from Śródmieście by German forces on the line of the Gdański Railway Station – constituted the insurgent state “Rzeczpospolita Żoliborska” with an efficiently organized military and civil administration.

In addition to six groups – “Żaglowiec”, “Żbik”, “Żmija”, “Żniwiarz”, “Żubr” and “Żyrafa” – there was also a sanitary service in Żoliborz, and scouts carried messages through the sewers. In mid-September, units of the 2nd Division of the Polish Army joined the fight for Żoliborz, which crossed from the Praga bank of the Vistula River. Due to the lack of support from the Soviet troops, their mission ended in failure.

Check the program, message and slogan of the celebrations of the 79th anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising>>

Soldiers fighting in Żoliborz emphasize the role of their commander “Żywiciel” – Colonel Mieczysław Niedzielski, who, despite his wounds, commanded the defense of the district to the end. After the war, Colonel Mieczysław Niedzielski “Żywiciel” went to the USA, where he worked as a laborer. He died on May 18, 1980 in Chicago at the age of 83. His ashes were brought to Poland in September 1992 and interred at Powązki Military Cemetery in the insurgent headquarters, where his subordinates rest.

“Żywiciel” did not want to surrender the district

The Warsaw Uprising ended in Żoliborz only on September 30. Despite the dramatic military situation, “Żywiciel” did not want to surrender the district, but he submitted to the orders of the commander of the uprising, General Tadeusz Komorowski “Bora”. About 1,500 Home Army soldiers from Żoliborz were taken prisoner.

Main photo source: PAP/Pawel Supernak

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