On Wednesday, August 1, 2018, we mark the 74th anniversary of the Warsaw Rising. Every year, at 5 p.m. on this day, alarm sirens are heard on the streets of Warsaw. The city comes to a halt. In holding a minute of silence, Warsaw residents pay tribute to the fallen insurgents and those who survived.
Every year, events commemorating the rising are held in various parts of Poland, but the capital marks the beginning of the rising in the most unique way, through ‘W-Hour’ at 5 p.m. At this moment, alarm sirens are activated and a one-minute continuous signal is sounded. Public transport, cars and residents of Warsaw stop in their tracks to pay tribute to the insurgents and murdered residents of the city.
The Warsaw Rising broke out on August 1, 1944 and lasted 63 days until October 3, 1944. It was the biggest freedom surge in the history of World War II. Almost 50,000 Home Army insurgents faced the might of the German forces occupying the capital of Poland since 1939. Armed conflict spread to all districts of Warsaw.
The passivity of the Soviet Red Army units stationed on the other side of the Vistula, and the degree to which the insurgents were outnumbered in their fight against the Nazis, led to death about 16,000 Home Army fighters and 150,000 Polish civilian victims. As a result, about 25 percent of Warsaw’s left-bank part was destroyed. Combined with the demolition carried out by the Germans until January 16, 1945, the Nazis destroyed over 70 percent of residential buildings and 90 percent of historic buildings.
Flickr photo gallery from the Warsaw Rising Museum.
MFA Press Office