Warsaw, Home To the Courageous
After landing and only several hours in Warsaw, I grabbed a bite to eat from the Centrum then took a taxi straight to my hotel to drop off my bags, without any delay I took the number 24 tram from near the stadium towards the Museum of Uprising which is near the Tulip Hotel. Ask any local, they are more than happy to assist you.
I don’t know too much about history which still makes my granddad shriek in horror to this day, so here I am in Poland, starting my quest in search for knowledge on the most recent World War; World War II. In the first part of my journey I am in Warsaw to visit the museum of uprising and later in the week I will visit Auschwitz I and II to further my knowledge. You can read that post Here.
The Museum Of The Uprising In Warsaw
The Museum of the Uprising in Warsaw gives a good account and history of the second World War and how it greatly affected Poland during the 1940’s, it explains that in 1945 50,000 Poles rose up against the German military occupation in Warsaw, a deadly bloody uprising that saw the Poles take back their Capital City from the ruthless Germans of that time. One thing I couldn’t help but notice when watching the real life footage of the uprising on the large screen in the theatre was the collective community efforts during such unprecedented times, everyone played their part, people volunteered wholeheartedly; cooking food for large segments of the community, baking and delivering bread in carts and sacks, tending to the ill and injured, even young boys not much older than 8yrs old would go around the devastated buildings delivering newspapers spreading the news of the rising Poles.
The papers were printed in cellars page by page, one by one, hoping they would not be found out by German forces, the machines were noisy and all efforts were made to conceal the sound underground, Printing was made illegal by the Germans during the Second World War. The image above shows the transcript that was printed and the actual printing press used, these presses where imports from the United States.
From 1st August 1945 there were 1,600,000 people in Warsaw and on the 1st of September 1945 there were only 900,000 left. At the museum you can watch a short 3D cinematic reel showing a digital remake on how Warsaw would have looked during this period, virtually every bridge was destroyed, all buildings were literally obliterated, Churches bombed, the whole of Warsaw was devestated. After the war 1,000 people still lived amongst the rubble that was once Warsaw. Barricades were put up by people in the streets to stop the tanks entering and slowly flags were beginning to fly once again.
The Museum of Uprising offers tourists, locals and schools the unforgettable insight into one of the deadliest wars in Central Europe. You needn’t know much about the topic at all to really appreciate the courage and perseverance of the Polish people. There are many visual items of the uprising to see from slide shows through binoculars on the wall to 100 year old printing presses actually used during the war which still work today – Quite literally ‘today’ as I saw during a live demonstration.
There are weapons and clothing, photographs and medical aid items all on display, in fact the museum is amazingly engaging, there are many short films to see on the 1st floor with the real items in glass display cases next to the screen. One story is about an ill Polish child in a hospital bed, she looked over to the bed opposite to see a German girl hugging a plush toy monkey, and she too wanted to feel the warmth and hug of something to hold. She made a tiny monkey from materials she scavenged, It was in the glass case, it was small and cute. Seeing the item and the story together really brought it alive.
There in an open seated area to watch the real footage of the Polish uprising, Polish with English subs, it lasts around 20 minutes and just seeing the real footage is truly remarkable. In the main hall there is a huge aircraft hung from the ceiling with rolling spotlights.
On the ground floor there are weapons that were used by the Poles to defeat the Germans, some that were sent by the British allies and dropped over Warsaw, medical supplies and Iodine are also shown along with tea, chocolate and packs of cigarettes as rewards to the men from British Allied Forces.
There are some separate rooms up on the 1st floor which host pictures of the fallen, others with postcards, letters, and clothes. There are a few grave pits with glass coverings, military uniforms and clothes of religious significance up on display. I thoroughly enjoyed the museum and felt that 2 hours were enough time for me, although 3 hours should be the maximum amount of time one would need to spend in order to really have seen it all and read a lot of the notices which are in Polish with English text underneath.