Monday, August 02, 2004

60 years ago today 

An anniversary close to my heart:

"In a gesture of humility, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder bowed on the steps of a memorial to the Warsaw Uprising against the Nazi occupation and expressed shame Sunday for the 'immeasurable suffering' inflicted by Germans when they crushed the revolt 60 years ago."
The Warsaw Uprising certainly puts any current military adventures and misadventures in perspective: in two months of bitter fighting some 15,000 Polish underground soldiers were killed, as were 200-250,000 civilians (a total close to the number of Americans killed in action during the whole of the Second World War). Somewhere between 80 and 90% of buildings on Warsaw's west bank were destroyed either during fighting or afterwards as a result of Hitler's deliberate policy to wipe Warsaw off the map. 700,000 inhabitants still left alive after the uprising were expelled from the city by the Germans.

German Army suffered 16,000 dead. Not just the Wehrmacht and SS but also units composed of Red Army anti-Soviet POWs and German criminals were used to put down the uprising. The Germans were so taken back by the ferocity of resistance and the courage of Polish underground troops that they awarded all the captured fighters the status of Prisoners of War (in contrast to the usual practice of killing partisans on sight).

It was the largest and bloodiest underground action against the Nazi occupiers anywhere in Europe during the war. It was made longer and bloodier by the inaction of the Soviet troops, which stopped on the left bank of Vistula River and waited for the Germans to do the dirty work of crushing the independence-minded Polish underground.

You can find out more about the Warsaw Uprising
here and lot more here.

Lest we forget.


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