Opening of the Warsaw Uprising Museumo

- personal impressions from home archives

          In September 2003, I organized a tour in the footsteps of the Warsaw Uprising for the workers of my Institute where I was employed. By that time my Father, an ex-soldier of the Home Army and an Uprising participant, had been dead for already 31 years. Shortly before his death, he was decorated with the Cross of the Home Army and the Army Medal for War 1939-1945 (first, second, third and fourth awards).
          Our tour guides were the insurgents Jolanta Kolczyńska aka "Klara", late Henryk Łagodzki aka "Hrabia" ("Count"), and late Andrzej Rumianek aka "Tygrys" ("Tiger") - members of the Association of Warsaw Insurgents (ZPW).
          Before that, in July 2003, at a plenary session of the ZPW General Board, the ZPW vice-chairman Bronisław Troński proposed to establish the 1944 Warsaw Uprising Remembrance Association (SPPW), which would continue the traditions of the Association of Warsaw Insurgents. The SPPW policy document was adopted at the same session.
          It was during that September tour when I - the daughter of an insurgent - and a few other people were encouraged by our guides to take part in the organization of the Association.
          In November 2003, the initiative group, with the participation of the above-mentioned insurgents, developed the project of the SPPW1944 by-laws, which was passed on December 8 at the founding meeting attended by 25 people. We then appointed the Founding Committee that proceeded to registration formalities. SPPW1944 was registered by the register court on March 16, 2004. We selected the board of the association at the general meeting on May 24. Jolanta Kolczyńska was appointed the chairwoman of the organization. I found my place in the review board, where I worked for 10 years performing various functions.
          In 2004 we celebrated the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising. The highlight of the celebrations was the opening of the Warsaw Uprising Museum that took place on July 31 at 9.30 a.m., followed by opening of the first part of the exposition to the public.
          My husband and I had the great honor and pleasure to participate in these celebrations. I took over 100 photographs - documenting such an important event was something obvious to me as I had done so many times before when working in editorial offices. That time, however, I had no access to the VIP section, so the documentation of this place is quite scanty in my collection. Of great value, on the other hand, are the photographs of insurgents, their families, and volunteers, the atmosphere of this place and this unique anniversary...
          By sheer accident, my participation in these celebrations gave me the opportunity to have a very personal experience. One of the insurgents let me pose for a photograph with a certain bag that, far as I knew, was a replica of an insurgent bag. He asked me to send him the photo and gave me his address. It was not in Warsaw, so I asked him where he had been born, spent the occupation and the Uprising. When he told me that it was very close to this place, and pointed in the direction of Towarowa and Krochmalna Streets, my astonishment and joy had no limits. It turned out that we were both born in the same house (I later confirmed that in the biographical notes of that insurgent and my family): he - in 1930, and I - a few months before the Uprising. He lost his parents during the occupation and the Uprising and fought in Wola and the Old Town, practically still a child. He left Warsaw together with the civilian population and never returned. After the fall of the Uprising, my father was deported to Anklam (I have his Ausweis of October 4, 1944) to a camp about which little was known.
          By sharing the collection of my photographs from the opening of the Warsaw Uprising Museum on the webpage of SPPW1994, I would like to cordially thank Maciej Janaszek-Seydlitz, the host of the page, for kindly accepting my contribution.

Warsaw, May 12, 2020

Barbara Szczepankowska

translated by: Beata Murzyn

Copyright © 2023 SPPW 1944. All rights reserved.