In the midst of the hustle and bustle of towns and cities across the country we pause - as the bells toll 5 PM, the sirens begin to wail. Poland stops in its tracks for a minute of silence - to commemorate those who sacrificed their life during one of the most tragic bids for freedom in the history of II WW in Poland - we remember the heroic events of the 1944 Warsaw Uprising. The short-lived insurrection against the Nazi occupant of Warsaw lasted for two months and one day. This major operation by the Polish resistance Home Army was aimed to liberate the capital from Nazi Germany. The resistance fighters, mainly very young people, fought for 63 days against overwhelming advantage of Nazi forces. With little weaponry, next to no military training or background the young fighters were able to - street by street, courtyard by courtyard, and building by building take over the capital. The uprising, which received next to no outside help, was doomed from the start and failed, but it was the largest single military action undertaken by the resistance during World War II. Together with the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising in the 1943, it was one of the most heroic, and tragic efforts to shake off the Nazi rule in Warsaw.
This year we were unable to celebrate with the people gathered in front of the Main Stage during the festival, because we had to move the dates of the event. However, we would like to recall how we commemorated the fallen heroes in 2012. We were honoured to host one of the surviving insurgents - Jerzy Łuczyński was the rifleman in the 'Zaremba - Piorun' Battalion. This elegant, polite, a perfect conversationalist, and a fascinating man took the stage on August the first. Even though the festival had not yet officially started the festival field was bustling with activity - people were eager to begin their festival adventures. It was loud, it was cheerful, and it was full of excitement, laughter, and music. And then - as the hand siren sounded from the Main Stage the rock & roll town of Woodstock Festival Poland stood still. The only sound we heard was the siren and the sounds of Polish National Anthem. We didn't speak to each-other but we could feel we were together even more than in the middle of an animated conversation.
Photo Credit: L. Lewandowska
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