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August 1 dawned a beautiful sunny day. The message had gone out that the rising would start in the afternoon at 5:00. Groups of 'fighters' - young men and women, 46,000 in all - made their way across the city to designated meeting points.

Boleslaw Taborski
courtesy: Anna Taborski

Born 1927 in Torun in Poland, Boleslaw Taborski was a soldier in the 'Baszta' Regiment,

"It's 5 o'clock," says Taborski describing the Park Dreszera. "Every day at 5pm, which is the time of the zero hour when the uprising broke, this recording of the Mokotov march is played in the clock tower."

"This is the Park Dreszera where we assembled on the first day of the uprising and we realized just how few arms we had. For a squad of 14 people, we got one pistol, two grenades and two Molotov cocktails each. The feeling of great elation gave way to disappointment and unease."

The first day did not go well for the Warsaw Poles. A German commander was aware of the uprising before most of the participants.

"The artillery," says Andrzej Slawinski, "which was heard more so at the beginning of the uprising, the German/Soviet front, was very very loud, and Soviet aircraft was very active against the Germans. When the uprising started, all aerial activity somehow ceased. We were really puzzled by it and then the artillery fire - you could hear it less and less and less until it disappeared altogether and we were a bit shocked by it because we were banking on the Soviet army to enter Warsaw in the first or second day of the uprising. It appeared that they withdrew. We couldn't hear them at all. So what are we going to do? We haven't got enough arms and ammunition, and nobody's coming to help us. We are left on our own."

Nevertheless, the insurgents did capture three major positions including Warsaw's historic Old Town district, 50 square miles in all, and for a few days, until the Germans launched their offensive they became oases of freedom.


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