WWII Jewish resistance fighters remembered in Warsaw
PR dla Zagranicy
Church bells were set to toll and thousands of paper daffodils were on Thursday expected to be handed out on the streets of the Polish capital in a gesture to honour the heroes of the 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising.
Warsaw Ghetto Uprising; photo from Jürgen Stroop's report to Heinrich Himmler from May 1943; National Archives and Records Administration [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
A range of ceremonies attended by Poland's top officials were scheduled for the day to mark 75 years since the outbreak of the World War II-era revolt, in which Jewish fighters took up arms against Poland’s German invaders.
President Andrzej Duda, top-ranking government officials and parliamentary leaders were all expected to take part in the commemorations, which were scheduled to culminate with a music concert in front of the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes in the evening.
Young Polish composer Radzimir Dębski has written a special piece for the occasion.
Warsaw bishops said ahead of the anniversary that the bells of all of the city’s Roman Catholic churches would toll at noon on Thursday as a tribute to the victims of the Jewish uprising.
Poland’s parliamentarians last Friday passed a motion paying tribute to the Jewish fighters.
The Sejm, Poland’s lower house, said in the motion that the fighters had shown "the highest heroism and dedication in defence of the universal values of human freedom and dignity."
The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, which broke out on April 19, 1943 and lasted until May 16, was the first uprising in German Nazi-occupied Europe and the largest act of armed resistance by Jews in World War II. It is estimated that about 13,000 insurgents died in the ghetto during the revolt.
Some surviving Jewish combatants later fought in the Warsaw Uprising, launched by Poland's underground Home Army (AK) on August 1, 1944.
The Warsaw ghetto, established in April 1940, was the largest of the many ghettos which the Germans set up across Poland to isolate the Jewish population after invading the country in September 1939.
Daffodils are associated with noted ghetto fighter Marek Edelman, who before his death in 2009 placed daffodils at the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes each year on the anniversary of the uprising.
The flowers mark a poignant contrast with the yellow stars that Jews were made to wear during the Nazi German occupation.