WARSAW, Poland (AP) — U.S. President Donald Trump made his emotional address to the Poles speaking at the foot of the metal-and-stone Monument to the Warsaw Uprising, a heroic but failed 1944 uprising by Poland’s clandestine Home Army against the occupying Nazi Germans.
The monument stands near the still-existing entry into the city’s sewer system that the insurgents and civilians used to flee the area as it was being overtaken by the Nazis. At least 150,000 Poles — both fighters and civilians — died in the fierce street fighting in the uprising.
It was unveiled on Aug. 1, 1989, on the 45th anniversary of the start of the uprising. It shows some fighters entering the sewer opening, while others are fleeing a wall that is collapsing after an explosion. It is a site of great emotions and pride for Poles.
In 1994, during the 50th anniversary observances, German President Roman Herzog apologized at the site for Germany’s World War II crimes.
As Trump’s tight schedule during the brief visit Thursday to Warsaw did not include another key memorial of a dramatic struggle, the Monument to the Warsaw Ghetto Heroes, Ivanka Trump was there and laid flowers in homage to the fighters.
Unveiled on April 19, 1948, on the fifth anniversary of the start of the uprising, the massive granite-and-metal memorial honors hundreds of Jewish fighters who on April 19, 1943, began their struggle as the Nazis were liquidating the ghetto and transporting thousands of its remaining residents to the Treblinka death camp. The monument’s metal figures show the determination of the fighters.
The fighters took up arms, choosing to die in an overwhelmingly lopsided battle. Only a handful of them managed to escape the burning ghetto.
The memorial stands in the center of the former ghetto, near where the fighting began.
Some 400,000 Jews perished in the Warsaw ghetto that the Nazis set up in 1940.
Ivanka Trump also visited the nearby new POLIN museum of the history of Poland’s Jews.