Anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising
Observances on Saturday, July 31, 2004
|In the morning, the official opening of the Museum of the
Warsaw Uprising. It is far from ready, but a portion of the building was
opened to display a part of the collection. The final opening is projected
for this autumn, after construction is completed.
Addresses were given by President of Warsaw Lech Kaczyński, former Minister of Foreign Affairs Wladysław Bartoszewski, Zofia Korbonska and Jan Nowak Jezioranski. A mass was celebrated by Primate Jozef Cardinal Glemp.
In the afternoon, a session of the Warsaw City Council at the Royal Castle, with the Uprising participants as honored guests. Then a meeting at the Presidential Palace with President of the Republic of Poland Aleksander Kwasniewski, who gave out decorations to some of the veterans. Unofficially, we heard that almost 200 persons had been nominated to receive decorations, but only 37 accepted - the others turned them down in protest of Kwasniewski's former association with the Communist government which had persecuted the AK survivors.
In the evening, a mass in Krasinski Square in front of the Military Cathedral, next to the Monument to the Uprising. Afterwards, speeches were given by Warsaw President Lech Kaczynksi and Poland's President Kwasniewski. The latter was booed as he came to the podium. He did mention that the surviving insurgents were persecuted after the war, but did not say by whom, and made no reference to the fact that he himself was once part of the government that had a history of persecuting, nor did he offer any apologies.
Then there was a ceremonial roll-call of the fallen. To the accompaniment of a constant drum-roll, an officer read out the names of the various formations: "Battalion Zoska, stand for assembly!" The honor guard, standing at attention presenting arms, would intone: "They fell on the field of honor!" At the end, salvos of rifle fire in tribute to the deceased.
The evening ended with a showing of feature and documentary films from the Uprising, beginning with Andrzej Wajda’s "Kanal," that lasted until 3 AM.