Mayor attends 70th anniversary commemoration of Warsaw Uprising
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson is in the Polish capital Warsaw today to attend commemorative events marking the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw Uprising.
This was a pivotal event in Poland's history, which saw the underground army rise up against Warsaw's Nazi occupiers, but ultimately be defeated after 63 days of fierce fighting and destruction on a grand scale.
The Mayor was invited to attend today's commemorations by the Mayor of Warsaw and the British Ambassador and is joining other city leaders from Banská Bystrica, Berlin, Budapest, Paris and Wellington.
The Mayor will be attending a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Piłsudski Square in the centre of Warsaw this morning. He will visit the Saski Garden where the Mayor of Warsaw Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz will plant an English Oak. In the evening, the Mayor is attending a ceremony and ecumenical prayers led by the President of Poland Bronisław Komorowski at the Monument to the Fallen and Murdered in the East at the Warsaw Insurgents Cemetery.
The Mayor's attendance at today's anniversary commemorations underlines the strong ties between Britain and Poland, which was an ally during the Second World War – marked by the Polish War Memorial in west London.
The ties go back centuries and remain strong today. The Polish born population in the UK in 2011 was 532,000 - the third largest outside Poland - 158,300 of them living in London.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: 'The Warsaw Uprising was a devastating and tragic event in Poland's history, which continues to have a huge influence on Polish society. The battle against tyranny may have been lost, but it underlined the heroism of the Polish people. London is home to a large Polish community, which makes a huge contribution to the life of our city and has an important role to play in our city's future success and today I will pay my respects, on behalf of all Londoners, to those who fought for freedom.”
Whilst in Warsaw, the Mayor will meet with Polish business leaders and potential investors. He is also due to meet with Polish and British veterans at a special Great British Afternoon Tea hosted by the British Embassy.