78th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

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Blaring sirens mark the 78th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprisingtvnwarszawa.pl
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tvnwarszawa.plBlaring sirens mark the 78th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

Sound of blaring sirens could be heard across Warsaw at noon on Monday. This is a symbolic form of homage to the heroes of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. This year is the 78th anniversary of the outbreak of the rising.

Exactly at noon on Monday, on the order of the voivode of the Mazowieckie province, emergency and alarm system sirens were switched on in Warsaw for approximately two minutes. The sound is a traditional way to mark anniversaries of the outbreak of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1943.

A few minutes later the official commemorations with President Andrzej Duda began in front of the Monument to the Warsaw Ghetto Heroes. A fragment of Władysław Szlengel's memoirs was read out, and singing of "Warszawo ma" followed. Rabbi Michael Schudrich led the Mourner's Kaddish.

The 78th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising Mateusz Marek / PAP

The last part of the ceremony was marked with laying wreaths at the monument, after which President Andrzej Duda said a few words. "They wanted to die until the very end, like lions. They chose to die holding weapons. They waited for it the whole WWII" - the president said. He added the heroes fought "to the dismay of the Germans", who had not expected such fierce resistance.

To mark the 78th anniversary, the Museum of the History of Polish Jews prepared a series of online events streamed on Facebook and YouTube due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"This year we have decided to focus on the women ghetto fighters. We will retell their stories during a recorded guided tour 'Wearing a Dress, Wearing a Uniform' and during a debate titled 'If It Goes Off, I Will Go With It'. Paweł Szamburski and Joanna Halszka Sokołowska will perform lullabies from Moshe Beregowski’s and Zalmen Mlotek’s collections. Krystyna Budnicka will share her story with us. All the events will be available online, so you can join us wherever you are!" - the museum wrote on its website.

President Andrzej Duda lays wreaths at the Monument to the Warsaw Ghetto UprisingMateusz Marek / PAP

The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising began on the 19th of April, 1943. It was the largest and most heroic act of armed resistance taken up by the Jews during World War Two. It was also the first civic uprising in occupied Europe. The insurgents took up the fight without any hope of a happy ending. They were driven by desire to seek revenge and to incur the greatest possible losses on their perpetrators. First and foremost, however, they chose to die with dignity, holding guns in their hands.

During the uneven battle, which lasted for nearly one month, the Germans razed the Ghetto to ground, burning one building after another. On May 8, the leader of the insurgents, Mordechai Anielewicz, together with a group of several dozen fighters, committed suicide in a bunker at 18 Miła street. A small number of survivors managed to escape the burning ghetto through the sewers.

Rabbi Michael Schudrich conducts Mourner's Kaddish

The SS Brigadeführer Jürgen Stroop, sent to Warsaw to quash the Ghetto Uprising, had written in his report: "180 Jews, bandits and subhumans were eliminated. The former Jewish residential district ceased to exist. The grand operation concluded with the blowing up of the Warsaw synagogue at 20:15. [...] The overall number of captured and surely exterminated Jews is 56,065." The entire ghetto, with the exception of 8 buildings, had been torn down.

Daffodil has become a symbol of remembrance of the tragic events of the spring of 1943 thanks to the last leader of the Uprising, Marek Edelman, who used to mark each anniversary by laying bouquets of yellow flowers at the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes.

Centrum Mural depicting nine Jewish women in downtown WarsawPaweł Supernak / PAP

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