top of page

This page was created thanks to cooperation with Warsaw Uprising Museum and The Polish History Museum.

All photos below are part of the Collection of Warsaw Uprising Museum. They were made available thanks to the courtesy of the Museum, in order to indicate the sources of inspiration for the artist during the creation of the artwork Some Stories to Tell.

The rest shows the realities of life during the Warsaw Uprising.

More photographs and information can be find on the Fototeka website.

The text about Warsaw Uprising was provided for the purposes of the Exhibition, thanks to the courtesy of the Museum. The text about Krzysztof Kamil Baczynski was created by The Polish History Museum.

Right: photograph from the collection of the Warsaw Uprising Museum.


Photography by Danuta Smoszewska „Sawo”
Collection: MPW
Inv. no: MPW-IP/2339
Warsaw. Mostowa Street. View towards the east. In front of the Dom Poprawy at the intersection of ul. Rybaki and Bolesc.
Date: 1945
Place: Warszawa


The Warsaw Uprising began on August 1, 1944, at 17.00, after five years of occupation, in the face of the impending Soviet offensive, driving the Germans out of Polish territory. To fight against German,  stood up 25,000 soldiers of the Home Army and other units, and in the following days, this number increased significantly. Despite the overwhelming German forces and the hostile indifference of the Soviets, for over two months the poorly armed insurgents fought selflessly against the totalitarian war machine of Nazi Germany. During 63 days of fighting, the insurgents managed to capture large areas of the city and inflict severe losses on the enemy. Unfortunately, in the face of Stalin's decision to suspend the Soviet offensive to the west and the lack of any aid from the eastern bank of the Vistula, the Polish authorities were forced to sign the surrender.

During these two months, Warsaw was a free Poland with legal authorities, administration, army, and all the attributes of an independent state. It was a modern and democratic state - in the extreme conditions of a hard city battle, two "Diaries of Law" were published, creating the legal framework for the national civil authorities and preparing the systemic foundations of a free state after the war. In the insurgent Warsaw, over 100 titles of newspapers of all political options were published, and the "Palladium" cinema displayed newsreels documenting the events.

Upon the news of the outbreak of the Uprising, Hitler gave an order to kill all the inhabitants of Warsaw and raze the city to the ground. In making this decision, he assumed genocide against about one million people. Initially, this order was carried out very meticulously by the criminal units of SS Reinefarth and Dirlewanger, traveling through the Warsaw district of Wola. Within a few days, about 40,000 civilians were murdered as a result of the extermination action. 

Stalin did a lot not to help Warsaw - he stopped the offensive and did not disturb the Germans who were fighting the insurgents, murdering people, and destroying the city. Airborne aid attempts from the West were extremely limited as the Soviets did not allow Allied planes to land at their airports.

The last attempt to save independence resulted in a military defeat, around 150,000 casualties, and almost the total destruction of the city. However, the tradition of fighting for freedom survived the efforts of communist propaganda and accompanied Poles throughout the entire period of enslavement. This tradition was referred to by the democratic opposition and the huge social movement of "Solidarity". And finally, 45 years later, she won when Poland regained independence in 1989.

logo-Muz. Powst. Warsz..png

Krzysztof Kamil Baczynski (1921–1944)

Born in the Polish capital Warsaw on 22 January 2021, he was a poet and a Home Army soldier. He died on 4 August 1944 in the Warsaw Rising.

He was the only son of Stanislaw and Stefania (née Zielenczyk), a married couple of intellectuals. His father combined his passion for writing and critical literature with military service in the Polish intelligence service. His mother was a teacher and author of school textbooks.

As a teenager, Krzysztof was an active scout and not a very diligent student, who nevertheless showed artistic and literary abilities. He was active in the semi-legal Union of Independent Socialist Youth called Spartakus and co-edited the organisation’s magazine "Strzaly" (Arrows or Gunshots), which is where he published his first works. His plans to study at the Academy of Fine Arts fell through because of the outbreak of the Second World War.

During the German occupation, he clandestinely pursued Polish Studies at the University of Warsaw. He interrupted his studies to become involved in underground activities. He joined the cultural milieu of young artists, which was developing dynamically in the underground. He co-edited the monthly literary and social magazine "Droga" (Way, Road or Path) and, as a member of the political socialist organisation "Płomienie" (Flames), collaborated with the editorial board of the magazine of the same name. In the underground, he published five volumes of poetry and his poems appeared in underground magazines and anthologies.

Baczynski’s work during the German occupation was, among other things, an attempt to capture the apocalyptic nature of war and the terror that constituted everyday life for the inhabitants of the occupied territories. His poetry reflected the experience of an entire generation who had been deprived of the carefree nature of youth replaced by the uncertainty of whether they would live to see tomorrow. On the other hand, he did not limit himself to war-related themes. Besides poems and elegies, his rich oeuvre includes erotic poems, for example.

Baczynski joined the Polish armed underground, the Home Army. From July 1943, he served in the "Zoska" battalion and then the scout "Parasol" (Umbrella) battalion. Despite his frail health, he took part in secret military training and a sabotage action in which a German train was derailed.

The Home Army was preparing for a general uprising against the Germans. As the front was approaching Warsaw, a decision was made to declare an uprising in the city, just before the entry of Soviet troops. However, it turned out that the Red Army had no intention of aiding the insurgents in their struggle. With the Allies’ support limited only to arms drops, the extremely exhausted Poles were forced to surrender after 63 days of resistance. Most of the city was razed to the ground.

Baczynski died on the fourth day of the Warsaw Rising, shot at his assigned post by a German sniper. He was twenty-three years old.

A month later, his wife Barbara, whom he had married two years earlier, was also killed.

He left a legacy of more than 500 poems, 20 short stories, a dozen or so narrative poetical works, several hundred drawings and illustrations, as well as paintings and poem collection cover designs.

He was quickly recognised as one of the most outstanding poets of the ‘Generation of Columbuses’, people born around 1920, who grew up in a reborn Poland and entered adult life during the Second World War.

biały prostokąt.jpg
bottom of page