President Patil visits Warsaw Museum

April 24th, 2009 - 2:35 pm ICT by ANI  

Pratibha Patil By Ravinder Singh Robin

Warsaw, Apr 24 (ANI): President Pratibha Patil visited the Warsaw Uprising Museum on Thursday. Opened in 2004,Warsaw Uprising Museum, with its hands-on exhibits and high-tech imagery, has emerged as one of Warsaw’s main tourist attractions.

The museum, housed in a former transformer station for the trams, is a large and takes long to navigate once inside.

The museum charts the full course of the uprising starting from the German invasion in 1939, life in occupied Warsaw, and the events of 1944 and their aftermath. On August 1, 1944, at precisely 5: 00 p.m., the commanders of the Polish insurgent Home Army, loyal to Poland’s government-in-exile in London, called for a general uprising throughout the Nazi-occupied city.

At the time, the Germans, were in retreat on all sides, having suffered reversals on the Western front, in France and Italy, and in the East, at the hands of the Soviet Red Army.

By the end of July that year, the Red Army had moved to within the city limits of Warsaw and were camped on the eastern bank of the Vistula in the suburb of Praga.

With the combined forces of the Home Army and the Red Army, it seemed the right moment to drive the Germans out and liberate Warsaw. Alas, it was not to be.

The first few happy days of the uprising saw the Polish insurgents capture pockets of the city, including the Old Town and adjacent suburbs. But the Germans resisted fiercely, and the Red Army, for reasons that are not entirely clear to this day, never stepped in to help.

The resistance lasted several weeks before Polish commanders were forced to capitulate in the face of rapidly escalating civilian casualties. Thousands of Warsaw residents died in the fighting and the reprisal attacks by German forces.

The uprising so infuriated Hitler that he ordered the complete annihilation of the city.

In the weeks following the uprising, Warsaw’s buildings were listed in terms of their cultural significance and dynamited one by one.

Some 85 per cent of the city was eventually destroyed.

As for the Russians, the accepted theory is that they viewed the Polish Home Army as a potential enemy and preferred simply to watch the Germans and Poles kill each other.

To this day, many Poles have never forgiven the Russians this decision. After successfully completing her three-day visit to Spain, President Patil arrived here.

The President was received at the Frederic Chopin International Airport by the officials of Polish Foreign Office, Mariusz Handzlik as well as the members of the Indian embassy.

During her stay, President Patil would also tour the Polish city of Krakow.

Besides, she will meet the Polish President and the Prime Minister of Poland.

India and Poland would sign various agreements to strengthen the ties between the two countries.

Minister of State for Industry and Commerce, Ashwini Kumar and a large business delegation is accompanying the President during her visit.

A large number of Indians are living here and doing businesses for the last ten years.

In 1996, former President Shankar Dayal Sharma visited Poland. (ANI)

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