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Warsaw. Celebration of the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Speech by Rafał Trzaskowski

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– This huge tragedy of the Holocaust, the tragedy of the Warsaw Ghetto, is also a huge tragedy of Warsaw, our beloved city – said Rafał Trzaskowski, Mayor of Warsaw, during the celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.

In front of the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes in Warsaw with the participation of, among others, President Andrzej Duda, President of the Federal Republic of Germany Frank-Walter Steinmeier, President of Israel Isaak Herzog, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and representatives of Jewish circles, the main celebrations of the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising are underway. The Mayor of Warsaw, Rafał Trzaskowski, also spoke to the gathered.

“A Thousand Years of Shared History”

As Trzaskowski recalled, one-third of all Warsaw residents before World War II were Jewish. – You have just seen the moving photos from the Warsaw Ghetto. A few years ago, these streets were teeming with life. My mother told me about it, my grandmother told me about it. Unfortunately, there are very few of these material memorabilia of our fellow citizens, he said.

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He also reminded that we will see the common heritage of Poles and Jews at the POLIN Museum. – This is a very important place for all of us, because it shows a thousand years of shared history. It shows that this history is in fact inseparable, that it simply connects with each other, just as these communities used to connect with each other – he said.

“The Germans ripped out part of our heart”

He assessed that what happened during the tragedy in the ghetto was “a part of our heart was ripped out”. – The Germans ripped out a part of our hearts by committing this unheard of murder. But the traces of Jewish Warsaw are also in us all the time, in Varsovians and Varsovians. In language, in sensitivity, in the kitchen, they live in us, noted Trzaskowski.

He also mentioned the house where he grew up at Freta and Franciszkańska Streets. Half of his yard was divided by the ghetto wall. Communities that used to live together were separated, he said.

– Let’s get this over with. Almost every inhabitant of Warsaw has a kiepela. A bit of chutzpah, he is not impressed by glitter, he is not afraid of big-city noise, and he feels best in his own gang. After all, these are words from Yiddish that have become so deeply embedded in our language – he added.

No to anti-Semitism, no to tolerance

The Mayor of Warsaw also pointed out that we often wonder why the ghetto uprising broke out in Warsaw. – How is it that later the Warsaw Uprising broke out here? Because that’s how Varsovians are, that’s how Varsovians are. Reckless, reckless. Strong, strong. Always fighting for dignity, he said.

Then he thanked Professor Marian Turski. – For everything he always says. We need such authorities so badly. The professor clearly said that for all of us the eleventh commandment should be: do not be indifferent. Because after all that has happened, there is no room for anti-Semitism in Warsaw, in Poland, in Europe and in the world. There should also be no room for intolerance. This is the message that comes from the Warsaw Ghetto, all of us Varsovians carry in our hearts, he said.

Uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto

80 years ago, on April 19, 1943, an uprising began in the Warsaw Ghetto, which went down in history as the greatest act of opposition to the Holocaust.

It was the first urban uprising against the Germans in occupied Europe, an act of a symbolic nature, considering the slim chance of success. In an uneven fight that lasted almost a month, the poorly armed fighters of the Jewish Combat Organization and the Jewish Military Union resisted SS, Wehrmacht, security police and auxiliary formations. At that time, the Germans razed the ghetto to the ground, methodically burning down house after house. For the Germans, a symbolic act of “completion of the mission to finally deal with the Jews of Warsaw” was the blowing up of the Great Synagogue on Tłomackie Street on 16 May. The fighting of individual groups continued, however, in May and June.

Main photo source: PAP/Leszek Szymanski

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