Monday, 31 July 2017

Ahead of the Big Day

Monday 31 July, the day before the big commemoration, and there's much to do. After a 6am wake-up call, my father and I travel by Metro to town to meet his old AK comrade from Batalion Odwet, Kazimierz Możdzonek. We are accompanied to the Warsaw Uprising Museum by three reenactors who have driven over all the way from Berlin overnight to be here for the commemorations.

Outside the museum there are speeches from Poland's president, Andrzej Duda and Warsaw's mayor, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz. But the one that really gripped the nation was by 100 year-old General Zbigniew Ścibor-Rylski, the last surviving leader of the Uprising, whose speech was particularly moving. "Poles must have respect to everyone, regardless what their point of view, their nationality or their faith".

Below: after the speeches and the awarding of medals, it's time for food. The food is good, and free, laid on by the City of Warsaw. So there's a scrum. And veterans of the Rising, whose day this is, did not have an easy time getting to the front of the queue for barszcz, pierogi, kaszanka and krokiety. Fortunately, there were many young volunteers on hand to help; a girl guide managed to get hold of a bowl of barszcz for my father.

After the event, crowds of people poured out of the museum; we headed to the bus stop to catch a bus towards ul. Królewska. Lots of people, all chatting and swapping stories.

Below: corner of ul. Świętokrzyska and Jasna. This is the main post office, and it was here that my father's father, Tomasz Dembiński, worked before the war, in PKO (then Pocztowa Kasa Oszczędnościowa - the post office savings bank). My father went to school in the building on the opposite side of ul. Jasna, on the site now occupied by new offices. Funnily enough, I also worked for a while on ul. Jasna, up by Pl. Dąbrowskiego.

Below: back in Jeziorki for a walk, at the northern pond, with Moni, who took these two photographs. Beautiful hot weather, cloudless sky, in time for sunset.

My father is enchanted by Jeziorki, and how beautifully the wetlands have been turned into a park that brings people closer to nature.

This time two years ago:
Once in a blue moon

This time three years ago:
A return to Snowdon - Wales' highest peak

This time five years ago:
On the eve of Warsaw's Veturillo revolution

This time six years ago:
Getting ready for the 'W'-hour flypast

This time seven years ago:
A century of Polish scouting

No comments: