Warsaw Uprising 75 years on

The Warsaw Uprising started on August 1, 1944 and lasted for 63 days, but was quashed in the end by German troops. 200,000 people lost their lives and much of the city was destroyed. Commentators praise the resistance fighters and their legacy, but point to shortcomings in the process of shouldering responsibility.

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Rzeczpospolita (PL) /

Not a day for conflict

Rzeczpospolita begs readers to set aside their political differences for a moment:

“Although the Uprising ended in a military and political defeat, those who shouldered weapons as well as the thousands of civilians who were brutally murdered by the Germans did what was right. They proved their commitment to the highest values, above all love of freedom and their country. ... At 5 p.m. let us all - believers and non-believers, educated and uneducated, rich and poor, PiS supporters and those who vote for other parties - stand still on the streets and squares of Warsaw and other cities and regions. For one long minute let us silently honour the living rebels and those who were killed, and sincerely commemorate the civilian victims of this uprising.”

Gazeta Wyborcza (PL) /

A sanctum in Poland's collective consciousness

For Gazeta Wyborcza the Warsaw Uprising made Poland what it is today:

“The 63-day-long uprising was the harbinger of a free and democratic Poland. Magazines espousing ideas from all political perspectives were being published even as the Soviet system was being set up in the district of Praga, on the other side of the Vistula. The Uprising became a landmark, a sanctum of Poland's collective consciousness. ... This defeat taught us that it's not enough to measure one's own strength. It taught us realism, prudence and respect for the common good. We will forever be indebted to the victims of this uprising for how much they cared for our country.”

Der Tagesspiegel (DE) /

Russia reluctant to acknowledge guilt

Remembering the Warsaw Uprising also means remembering that Stalin looked on passively as it was crushed, Der Tagesspiegel writes:

“He wanted Warsaw - like the rest of Poland - to be freed by the Red Army and not by nationalist or centrist forces. Stalin refused to let the Western allies use airfields under Soviet control for supplying the rebel forces. ... For Poland the war ended as it had started: with a pact between Hitler and Stalin. ... If Germany is viewed positively today by most of its eastern neighbours it's largely due to their good grace and a happy turn of fate. Of course it has also to do with the fact that the Germans acknowledge their guilt, whereas today's Russia has a hard time dealing honestly and openly with the Soviet atrocities it committed in Poland and other states of Central Eastern Europe.”