General Tadeusz Komorowski "Bor" Commander of the Polish Armed Forces delivered an address to his soldiers for the last time. His farewell message was poignant yet unwaveringly optimistic for a future independent Polish State. Here is his message translated into English.
Soldiers of Fighting Warsaw! The heroic deeds of Polish soldiers which constitute two months of fighting in Warsaw are proofs, however full of horror, of our desire for freedom — our strongest desire. Our battle in the capital, in the face of death and destruction, stands in the forefront of famous deeds of Polish soldiers during this war. They will be a lasting memorial to our spirit and love of freedom. Although we were not able to gain a military victory over our enemy (since the general situation in our country was not favourable to our endeavour), those two months of fighting for every foot of Warsaw’s streets and walls have fulfilled a political and ideological goal. Our struggle will influence the fate of our nation, since it is a contribution without equal in its heroism and sacrifice to the defence of our independence.
Today, when the enemy’s technical superiority has forced us into the central sector of our city — the only sector still under our control — when the city’s ruins are crowded with soldiers and the heroic civilian population, suffering from unbearable conditions of living on the battlefield, when we have not enough of even the most primitive food, and when there is virtually no chance of defeating the enemy, we have to confront the problem of complete destruction of the population by the enemy and the chance of having most of the fighting soldiers and hundreds of thousands of the civilian population buried under the ruins. I have decided to call a halt to the fighting.
I thank all the soldiers for their military bearing that never wavered under the most difficult conditions.
I pay homage to the dead for their suffering and sacrifice.
I want to express the admiration and gratitude of the fighting units to the population, and their affection for it. I would also like to ask their forgiveness for the transgressions, which no doubt occurred more than once in the course of this long fight.
During the cease-fire discussion I have done my best to assure our soldiers of all the rights due to them, to create the best possible living conditions and care for the civilian population so that they might be spared as much as possible of the suffering caused by the war.
I hereby ask of all soldiers, my very dear comrades during these two months of fighting, whose will to fight was unbroken to the last moment, to obey in good order all commands that will be issued as a consequence of our decision to stop fighting.
The civilian population is to obey all evacuation orders issued by me, the commanding officer of the city and the civilian administration. With faith in the final victory of our just cause, believing in our beloved, great and happy country, we will continue to be the soldiers and citizens of Free Poland, pledging allegiance to the flag of the Republic.
Commander-in-Chief, Home Army
Early this morning the Polish insurgents started pulling down barricades closest to the German lines, as per the terms stipulated by the Capitulation Agreement. Thousands of Varsovians have evacuated the city. Columns of civilians moved slowly along three thoroughfares: Sniadeckich and 6-go Sierpnia Streets towards Filtrowa Street - along Zelazna and Aleje Jerozolimskie Streets towards Grojecka Street, and along Grzybowska and Chlodna Streets towards Wolska Street.
Amid feelings of bitterness and anguish there was also a very palpable sense of elation among the insurgents, that despite the unavoidable outcome, the Poles have a sense of duty well done. With heads held high and marching briskly in unison were 15,378 insurgents, among whom were 922 officers and 2,000 women. Along the streets, every now and then, civilians would fall to their knees as the columns of insurgents passed by them. It was deeply moving and almost shocking to witness this expression of reverence for the insurgents, an act which in Poland is reserved only for the Holy Sacrement.
They fought as free men and women for 63 days, and now they are going into German captivity. About 15,000 Poles will be sent to the transition camp in Pruszkow and transported to POW camps in Germany. Others will be sent to remote areas of Poland. About 5,000 wounded soldiers will be sent to hospitals. In the two-month battle about 17,000 insurgents were killed and over 200,000 civilians murdered by the Germans.
|Polish Soldiers In Pruszkow Transit Camp|
In accordance with the provisions of the Capitulation Agreement, a Polish military contingent will remain in Warsaw for the next several days to maintain order. Three armed AK companies have been selected, consisting of about 300 soldiers from the "Kilinski" battalion, and about 120 soldiers from the “Milosz” battalion.
German radio broadcast a report today declaring that "after weeks of fierce fighting which has led to the almost total destruction of the city, the remaining rebels, deserted by all their Allies, have given up and surrendered." Concurrently the last issue of Biuletyn Informacyjny, the insurgents' daily newspaper, published an article stating that “nobody in Poland, or in Warsaw, or in the world, can...say that we (surrendered) too early.” For 63 days the Poles fought courageously.
I have fought the good fight,
I have finished the course,
I have kept the faith.
2 Timothy 4:7