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Poland: Warsaw uprising monument

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Warsaw uprising monument | Poland | Europe

[Visited: March 2007 and several times before]

Probably the most courageous attempt by a population to defeat the Germans, the Warsaw Uprising was fought in August and September 1944. In a combined effort, soldiers and civilians worked together for 63 days to expell the Germans, to regain control over their own city. Despite their brave efforts and the initial success, the Poles lost after Hitler sent for reinforcements. As a punishment, the Germans decided to execute many civilians and destroy the Old Town block by block. At the end of the war, it is estimated that around 90% of the city was destroyed; US general Eisenhower was recorded to say during a visit in 1945 that he had not seen another European city as destroyed as Warsaw.

Picture of Warsaw uprising monument (Poland): Part of the monument: soldier entering a sewer to fight the Germans

On pictures of Warsaw taken just after the war, it is clearly visible that very little remained of the city. The price paid by the Poles was extremely high in dead and wounded. Had the Russians, who were just outside the city, assisted them, the outcome could have been different. But "if's" don't count in history. The Poles can be very proud of their resistance and their courageous uprising, which is not even very well known elsewhere. Amazingly, it took until 1989 to reveal the monument to the heroes of the revolt.

Picture of Warsaw uprising monument (Poland): Supreme Court building looming over the monument

The monument can be found at Krasinski Square, itself place of fierce fighting during the uprising. It consists of two groups of sculptures, one called "insurgents", depicting soldiers ready to fight, and the other is called "exodus", depicting soldiers and a priest overseeing one soldier disappearing into the entrance of a sewer - this allowed the Poles to reach the inner city through the sewer system. The monument struck me as not evoking sadness, but rather admiration for the men, women and children who took destiny into their own hands even though they faced a formidable enemy.

Picture of Warsaw uprising monument (Poland): Soldiers fighting their oppressor, as depicted in the monument
Picture of Warsaw uprising monument (Poland): Wall of remembrance of the monument
Picture of Warsaw uprising monument (Poland): Courageous Polish soldiers depicted in the monument
Picture of Warsaw uprising monument (Poland): Two Polish soldiers: close-up of the monument
Picture of Warsaw uprising monument (Poland): Columns at the monument

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