General Polish uprising commemorated


Poland marked the 63rd anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising against the Nazis.

On Wednesday, traffic stopped and sirens wailed at the exact hour, 5 p.m., when Poles on Aug. 1, 1944 launched a revolt against the German occupation.

The anniversary is vigorously celebrated in Poland in the post-communist era. The communist authorities played down the Polish resistance, not wanting to recall an event during which the Soviet troops allowed the Poles to be slaughtered as they were on the outskirts of the city but refused to provide aid to the anti-occupation forces.

During the 63-day battle, 250,00 Poles were killed and much of the city was destroyed.

Visitors to Poland sometimes confuse the Warsaw Uprising with the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of April 19, 1943, when 750 Jewish partisans battled thousands of German troops for nearly a month before being crushed. The Jewish fighters were trying in vain to prevent the further deportation of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto to death camps.

Estimates put the death of Polish Jews under the Nazis at 3 million, 90 percent of Polish Jewry and half of the 6 million Jews killed during the Holocaust. Some 3 million non-Jewish Poles also were murdered by the Nazis.

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