President Komorowski looks on as Adam Komorowski, son of the commander of the Warsaw Rising, lays a wreath at his father's tomb. Photo: PAP/Radek Pietruszka
Tadeuesz 'Bor' Komorowski, a distant relative of the president, died in exile in London in 1966, but his remains were brought back to Warsaw in 1994, following the collapse of communism.
The Warsaw Rising against Nazi Germany began on his orders on 1 August 1944, with Komorowski commanding underground force the Home Army (AK).
President Komorowski and First Lady Anna Komorowska were joined on Friday morning at Warsaw's Powazki Military Cemetery by Adam Komorowski, the UK-based son of the commander.
The head of state was also accompanied by his aunt Halina Wollowicz, who served as both a courier and a nurse during the rising.
Wreaths were laid at the commander's grave, as well as that of Aleksander Krzyszanowski, who led the Home Army's earlier July 1944 insurgency against the Nazis in the Vilnius region (currently in Lithuania).
With the Red Army failing to provide promised support for the insurgents in Warsaw, the rising lasted for 63 days, although it had not been expected to continue for more than a week unaided.
Close to 200,000 civilians died in the Rising, and about 16,000 insurgents, before Komorowski capitulated in person.
The commander was forced into exile as a result of the Soviet-backed communist regime that took power in Poland after the war.
A nobleman whose equestrian team had won a silver medal at the 1936 Olympics, Komorowski eventually found a house-painting job in London after the war, while his wife helped make ends meet as a curtain-maker.
“My father always accepted total responsibility for the decision to launch the Rising, and the tragic losses certainly weighed heavily on him,” his son recalled.
“But it was something which he considered was unavoidable of Poland was to have any chance of freedom.
Follow this link for more info on Friday's 70th anniversary commemorations. (nh)
* The quote by Adam Komorowski was originally published in Norman Davies' book Rising 44.