August 3. 2008
18 Sunday of Ordinary Time
„We don’t have anything here”
We celebrate today an anniversary of a subsequent day of the Warsaw Uprising.
It is hard to understand the Warsaw Uprising. In order to do it one has to feel that time; that barbarous time.
We went through the war of 1939 - horrible war; unexpected, invasive, ruthless, inhumane war, when soldiers were dying along with civilians. We’ve been through five years of Nazi occupation with concentration camps, round-ups, executions and hunger; when Herrenvolk trampled over us, pressed us to the ground.
And then year 1944 approached. German armies were being defeated in the western and eastern fronts. But we should not delude ourselves – Germany was still a colossal military power. War machine was functioning precisely, although people from the underground army did not want to think about that.
Polish society did not want to think about that. Especially Warsaw, as a capitol, felt responsible for the entire country. Especially Warsaw – tried so badly during the war of 1939 demanded the uprising which could at least partially settle the wrongs experienced by Polish nation.
But to plan an uprising one has to start thinking about weapons – where to take the weapons from? We cannot produce machine guns, artillery, tanks, or airplanes in the basement. We have to import them. How to import weapons? Well of course the United States can sell them to us, the British will as well. But how to deliver them to the insurgents, especially the ones in Warsaw? By airplanes? Where are these planes going to land if the country is taken over by the Germans? “We will tear them -- the weapons -- out of the enemy’s hands” – enthusiasts were calling. Childish dreams. Wishful thinking, like in a fairy tale. To start an insurrection one needs weapons. One has to talk to the Americans, to the British, to the Soviet people. So it doesn’t become a Warsaw row, or just a Polish row, but an operation incorporated in the strategic allied plan. One has to talk. One has to obtain promises, pledges, and realistic proposals. At least a promise that perhaps the allies’ planes could be allowed to land in Soviet airports, right at the eastern border of General Governorship. To be able to do it one has to talk to Soviet Russia, against whom -- let’s not delude ourselves – the whole uprising was aimed. There were no talks.
And despite that, the order came: let’s begin. August 1, 1944 at 5:00 PM.
With what?! “For we have our WiS handguns against the Tiger tanks” ironically sang our wonderful boys. We have our handguns to fight the most modern German tanks – “Tigers”. Ridiculous. And it’s worth adding that even these handguns were scarce. When an armored German train headed towards Warsaw, there came an order: “Blow up the tracks.” But with… what? There was no dynamite! Well, then unscrew the tracks. But the train is almost here…
And so our “wonderful boys”, our “beautiful children” were dying.
Whatever was happening at the top – talks, debates of commanders and politicians – was not getting to the bottom that fast. A regular insurrection soldier was sure that if they ordered to fight, than everything was ready and all t’s were crossed and all I’s were dotted. That everything was prepared and the weapons were going to be there. He or she did not ask where it was going to come from. It will be there! For we have begun. For they have given an order: Let’s start!
There were no weapons. And so our wonderful boys, our beautiful children were dying.
And the west was watching our fighting indifferently. One more time they proved indifferent to our Polish struggle. Even if we call that struggle insane – it still needed support! They did not give us support. And also the Soviet Union watched, ironically and with satisfaction; not letting a single plane - even a damaged one - to land on their airstrips; the planes had to fly to Italian or African bases. Most of them didn’t make it.
Through all 64 days we want to remember and pray for our heroes in our daily prayers and during Sunday Masses; pray for our beautiful girls and boys, who gave their lives for our freedom. For our dignity! For Polish dignity! For our Polish honor! Not receiving anything in exchange.
Fr. M. M.