EESC President Staffan Nilsson and Various Interests Group President Luca Jahier looking at orders of execution of resistance fighters

I travelled to Warsaw for a major conference being organised by the Various Interests Group of the EESC together with the Polish Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, the Chancellery of the President of Poland and the Warsaw Representation of the European Commission. There’ll be more about the conference in tomorrow’s posts. This evening our Polish hosts graciously offered a guided tour of the immensely moving Uprising Museum. On 1 August 1944, knowing that the Soviet army was fast approaching, the Polish underground resistance rose up against the Nazi occupiers, with the twin aim of liberating the city and distracting the occupying army. At first, with the element of surprise on their side, the Poles did well. But the Soviet advance halted on the eastern bank of the Vistula and the commanders of the Uprising, starved of resources and military materiel, ultimately surrendered under a Red Cross-brokered deal. In Communist times, for obvious reasons, the Poles were discouraged from discussing what had occurred, and so this freedom of information about the dastardly behaviour of Stalin and the ineffectual efforts of the Allies is still relatively fresh and, one senses, the old wounds, freshly discovered, have understandably yet to heal over. The Museum’s display includes a number of intensely moving interviews with survivors. One has stuck in my mind. It is a father’s advice to his fifteen year-old son, who has decided to help man one of the street barricades thrown up on 1 August. ‘We’ve all got to die,’ says the heartbroken father. ‘But please, son, just don’t die stupidly.’