If the 1944 Warsaw Uprising were to be called pointless, the memory of it will die

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As Warsaw and the rest of Poland paid tribute to the 1944 heroes, Karnowski writes about the danger of deeming the Warsaw Uprising a pointless act.

The publicist says the memory of those who fought in it would die. He warns that such phenomena does not occur in the lives of nations.

“Enjoying the great celebrations of the 74th Anniversary of Warsaw Uprising we can clearly see, that the discussion about the necessity, meaning and consequences of this great national effort is not fading. And will never fade,” writes Karnowski for wpolityce.pl.

The publicist notes that the Uprising is implemented into current political choices and argues there is nothing wrong with that, because it is proof that it is a lively and a true subject.

Karnowski fears that if, however, the discussion was to lead to the common conclusion that the Uprising was a pointless, foolish act, or even a criminal one, then it would destroy this “strongly cherished memory” of the sacrifices of Polish heroes.

The supporters of such conclusions defend themselves by saying that the glory and memory of those who died would not vanish. It would be the leaders and organizers of the Uprising who would be assessed in a negative light.

The fallen would still be honored and people would remember the anniversary, however the celebrations would resemble those of France or the United Kingdom when they remember the end of the First World War, warns Karnowski.

“The celebrations are sparse and rather quiet. The First World War being broadly deemed as a mindless slaughter has led collective memory to the level of social analysis. Only the trauma is remembered, not the objective historic context,” he said.

On August 1st every year in Warsaw sirens go off to honor the fighters of the Warsaw Uprising and thousands of Poles stops for a minute, paying tribute to the heroes of the sixty-three day long and unequal fight against the German occupiers.

However, these celebrations are also a catalyst for ongoing discussions about whether the Uprising was necessary.

The Warsaw Uprising of 1944 is seen as the biggest resistance operation in Nazi-occupied Europe. Intended to last several days, it continued for sixty-three days before being suppressed by the Germans. The uprising claimed the lives of around two hundred thousand civilians and eighteen thousand fighters. The Russian Red Army took over only half of Warsaw on the right bank of the Vistula River and did not help insurgents in their fight for freedom.

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