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Warsaw stands still for a minute.

The story of the city that stands still for a minute every year.

Every year, on August 1st at 5 pm the streets of Warsaw come to a standstill.

A siren sounds out across the Polish city to commemorate the anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising of 1944, which saw the Polish Home Army attempt to liberate the city.

Following the uprising, Hitler declared that Warsaw should be reduced to rubble. So, every August 1st, the people of the city standstill, and remember.

Warsaw Uprising Monument (Polish: Pomnik Powstania Warszawskiego) is a monument in Warsaw, Poland, dedicated to the Warsaw Uprising of 1944.

Unveiled in 1989, it was sculpted by Wincenty Kućma and the architect was Jacek Budyn. It is located on the southern side of Krasiński Square.

The monument has been described as “the most important monument of post-war Warsaw.” Gazeta Wyborcza reported in 2012 that it is one of the most visited landmarks for foreign tourists.

The Warsaw Uprising, which broke out on 1 August 1944 and lasted until 2 October 1944 (63 days), was one of the most important and devastating events in the history of Warsaw and Poland. Up to 90% of Warsaw’s buildings were destroyed during the hostilities and the systematic destruction of the city carried out by the Germans after the uprising.

However, it was also an event that the communist authorities of the post-war People’s Republic of Poland found highly controversial, as it was organized by the Polish resistance movement that had fought for Poland’s independence during World War II, principally the Home Army, the remnants of which were brutally suppressed by the postwar Stalinist regime.

In addition, Joseph Stalin had purposefully stopped the Soviet advance through Polish territory just short of Warsaw immediately after the outbreak of the uprising, and he not only refused to aid the insurgents but also refused to allow planes of the western allies to land and refuel on Soviet-held territory to ensure that only very limited supplies could be delivered to Warsaw.

As a result, the uprising was brutally crushed by the Germans over a period of 63 days while the Soviets watched on (even after they had finally resumed their offensive and capturing the right bank the River Vistula in mid-September 1944).

After the uprising, the Germans expelled the entire population from the city and spent the whole of October, November and December 1944 in looting Warsaw and destroying whatever was still standing while the Soviets continued to do nothing to intervene (they entered the ruins of the abandoned city only in January 1945 after they had waited for the Germans to leave).

As a result, the significance of the uprising was downplayed for many years after the war, and the Home Army and the wartime Polish government-in-exile were condemned by communist propaganda.

Such political factors made official memorialization of the Warsaw Uprising impossible for decades, and subsequent debates about the form and location of the monument further delayed the project.

The monument was visited by German president Roman Herzog in 1994, who paid tribute to the Poles and gave a speech about German shame in the context of Nazi Germany’s crimes during the Second World War in Poland. Herzog apologized to the Poles during his speech about war crimes.

The text was written in December 2019.

Short bio of the volunteer:

Bartosz Budrecki, a volunteer from Poland.


Erasmus+ is a program of the European Commission embracing the fields of education, training, youth, and sports during the period 2014-2020. One of the major aspects is the cooperation between the different fields where the program acts, hence contributing for a diverse and rich Europe.

Amongst the several goals of the programme, the following are prioritised: the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, including the headline education target; the aims of the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training (ET 2020), including the corresponding benchmarks; the sustainable development of Partner Countries in the field of higher education; the overall goals of the renewed framework for European cooperation in the youth field (2010-2018); the objective of developing the European dimension in sport, in particular grassroots sport, in line with the EU work plan for sport and the promotion of European values in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union.

In order to achieve these goals, the Erasmus+ has several action policies. The Key Action 1 (KA1) is directed towards the mobility of people; Key Action 2 (KA2) for the cooperation for innovation and the interchange of good experiences; and Key Action 3 (KA3) which is for the support of reformation policies.

European Voluntary Service

Since 1991 the University of Madeira Students’ Union has developed a wide incentive policy for voluntary work. In 2013 the Students’ Union started the process to receive, send and coordinate Erasmus+ projects of the European Voluntary Service, in order to have a larger influence in the volunteering field. The Union received its first volunteer withing the ambit of a KA1 project in 2014. Many efforts have been done to allow young people from Madeira to take part in several initiatives in Europe, as well as propose several projects allowing young people from several countries to work in the projects of the Students’ Union of the University of Madeira. The main goal of the voluntary work is the contribution of the volunteers to the communities and places they will be staying, being their work not rewarded with payment.

We believe that the European Voluntary Service is a mechanism full of experiences, allowing the approved candidates to have the privilege of taking part in these projects and benefit the places and communities where these volunteers will be staying.

Since 2013, the University of Madeira Students’ Union has received volunteers that have collaborated in several activities and initiatives. Besides being able to enjoy a wonderful experience which will contribute to their personal and professional growth, they are able to contribute in a unique way to the community in which they are inserted and to join dozens of volunteers from the University of Madeira.