Kosciuszko Foundation in Washington DC - Past Events

Commemoration of 66th Anniversary of Warsaw Uprising

Sunday, August 1, 2010, at 5:00pm

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Washington, DC - 66th Anniversary of Warsaw Uprising was commemorated at the Kosciuszko Foundation Office in DC with a special screening of the film "Legacy of the White Eagle" and a book discussion with author Dr. Julian Kulski. The tribute commenced at exactly 5:00 pm recalling the hour of the outbreak, which 66 years ago triggered over two months of grueling and unequal, but heroic struggle against the Nazi/German occupation. With our presence and remembrance of those tragic times we honored all those who fought for freedom and who perished at combat.

The evening touched a very special place in our hearts for all the young freedom fighters that became the strongest reinforcement of the Warsaw Uprising. The average age of an insurgent was 18 to 22 years. Most of them were still in high school when the war started. The circumstances of the times they lived in required them to give up their carefree life that comes with youth and to take on adult responsibilities for their country. They might have lost their carefree youth, but they did not lose their young spirit. Through action, self-determination and discipline the heroes of Polish World War II resistance fulfilled their pursuit of freedom.

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We were very fortunate to have as our guest of honor, Dr. Julian Kulski, a war hero, a writer and an internationally acclaimed architect, and most of all, a great patriot who was in the middle of combat 66 years ago. He was 12 years old when he joined the Polish Underground resistance. When asked why a child would voluntarily subject himself to war battles, bloodshed and terror - Dr. Kulski, the son of a former Warsaw mayor, said: "I was brought up with the idea of freedom at all costs, that independence was extremely important." At the age of 14, he was imprisoned and tortured at Pawiak Prison. Miraculously, he was released and a year later fought with the Polish Home Army in the Warsaw Uprising. "Two hundred fifty thousand people were killed," he recalls. "It was the equivalent of the World Trade Center attacks every day for 60 days." After capitulation he was captured again and became a prisoner-of-war in Germany.

When the war ended, physically and mentally exhausted, Julian Kulski took his doctor's advise to start writing down his war experiences for therapeutic purposes. The manuscript went untouched for decades as he pursued a career in architecture. "The legacy of the White Eagle" was published in 2006 in association with National History Day and is based on memoirs written by Julian Kulski 60 years ago. In the book, Kulski takes us on a personal journey of a young freedom fighter examining motivations, fears, emotions and conflicts.  The book is accompanied by an award winning DVD featuring archival footage smuggled out of Poland, photographs of the time, and interviews with Dr. Kulski and other survivors.

Since the book was published in 2006, Dr. Kulski has travelled around the country speaking in classrooms about his story. This is a passage from the book's preface:

"I hope my story of teenagers fighting for Polish independence will help
young people today appreciate both the United States,
'the home of the free and the land of the brave,'
and my native Poland, now proud and free again at last."


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