"63 Days. The Story of the Warsaw Rising by one, who fought in it"
(British League for European Freedom, London 1945)

 

Speech delivered at the Caxton Hall, Thursday, February 16th, 1945 by Jan Novak, Lieutenant, Polish Home Army at a meeting arranged by The British League for European Freedom.

Foreword by Rose Macaulay.


The British League for European Freedom

79, Gloucester Road, London S.W.7

by Walter Gardham, Ltd.,

30, Grove House Lane, Leeds, 2

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FOREWORD

There are, among the millions of recorded and unrecorded episodes of war, heroic deeds, heroic Ilours, which illumine “the gloomy din of war” like rockets flashing up from a foul swamp and lighting the foul scene as with the glory of stars, so that certain geographical names resound with an imperishable ring. Thermopylae, Dunkirk, Arnhem, Warsaw - yes, they are mostly defeats. Warsaw was defeated: Warsaw stands, indeed as the very symbol of a Europe temporarily battered into defeat. And the Warsaw rising of 1944 stand among those heroic, flashing deeds that stir the blood for ever.

I heard Lieutenant Novak at a public meeting give his account of the Warsaw rising, in which he took part. He told his story quietly, precisely, vividly, but without excitement; there was excitement enough in the story itself. He told of the long years of underground war and sabotage (in which his wife, also a Lieutenant in the Underground Army, was a fighter with him); of the call from Moscow to Warsaw to rise as the Red Army approached; of the rising, the desperate fighting, the appeals sent out for the hełp by air which, in spite of the heroic efforts of Allied airmen, never carne in time or m sufficient quantities to save Warsaw; the gradual clying of hope, tlie final tragic defeat. It is the story of whole citizenry in arms; of men, women and children fighting side by side, backs to the wall, of messages carried literally underground, through foul sewers, by women, boys and girls.

[Fragments of Rose Macaulay’s foreword]


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