Exactly at noon, blaring sirens in the city of Warsaw marked the 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Polish President Andrzej Duda commenced the official commemorations in front of the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes. Among other participants were the members of the Polish government and the Ambassador of Israel, Anna Azari.
"This was the uprising of the people who decided to keep their dignity to the very end, who wanted to die fighting", said President Andrzej Duda. "Their goal was not survival. They wanted to show the Germans that the Jews won't accept defeat", he added.
"When we take a look at this part of the Polish capital, it’s easy to see the surrounding buildings were raised after 1945. There isn’t a single pre-war building in these parts," said the President in front of the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes in Warsaw.
"After annihilating the insurgents of the Warsaw Ghetto, the Germans destroyed the remaining tenements that stood here. In 1944, the only building that was left in the sea of ruins was „Gęsiówka”, the concentration camp for the Jews," he added.
The President said that the Germans intended not only to destroy the Jewish people, but also to erase any trace of memory left after the Jewish nation.
"How did they identify and label the people of Jewish origin? By the fascist law of the Third Reich, by their thuggish law - the Nuremberg Laws," he added.
"Today we salute to the Ghetto Heroes, to their bravery, determination and courage. The died fighting for dignity, for freedom, but also for Poland, because they were Polish citizens," said President Andrzej Duda.
Homage to the Heroes
"My country, which today celebrates its freedom, salutes the Warsaw Ghetto Heroes. We salute the young people who fought and sacrificed their lives in the name of human dignity," said the Israel Ambassador to Poland.
Anna Azari added that the courage of the young people from the Warsaw Ghetto inspired 600,000 Jewish inhabitants of Palestine, who in 1947 were forced to make a stand against Arabic states. "Among those, were many Holocaust survivors," she added.
The ambassador also emphasised that on Thursday two commemorations are taking place, 75th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the 70th anniversary of the foundation of the Israeli state. "I believe that what the two events have in common, is the notion of courage and struggle for freedom," said the Israeli Ambassador to Poland.
75th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising
The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising started on 19 April 1943 in the German-occupied Poland during World War II. The resistance was a response to the second phase of deportations to Treblinka concentration camp, launched by the Nazis.
The fighting formations were the Jewish Combat Organisation and the Jewish Military Union, both comprised of about 1,000 poorly armed partisans.
After nearly a month of fighting, on 16 May 1943, the uprising was crushed by the overwhelming German forces. Around 13,000 Jews died during the uprising.
Most of the survivors were transported to concentration camps. Among those who survived, was one of the leaders of the ghetto uprising, Marek Edelman, who later in 1944, took part in the Warsaw Uprising.