WARSAW, Poland July 16, 2004 — A replica of a clandestine radio transmitter that kept up Polish fighters' spirits during the Warsaw Uprising 60 years ago was unveiled Friday, part of this year's commemoration of the failed revolt against the Nazi occupation.
Antoni Zebik, who led the construction of the original transmitter and helped build the replica, said it would be a tangible reminder to young Poles of "the horrible time of the German occupation" and the "patriotic duty" in 1944 to fight the Nazis.
The two box-shaped transmitters with an old microphone will be exhibited in a new Warsaw Uprising museum that will open July 31.
Radio Blyskawica Polish for lightning went on the air Aug. 8, 1944, seven days after the Home Army launched a desperate attempt to liberate Warsaw following five years of Nazi occupation and as Soviet troops neared the capital.
About 200,000 people, a quarter of Warsaw's residents, were killed in the fighting and most of the city was devastated.
"We built the radio station under very difficult conditions, in an attic, in a small house, most often it was done at night after we shaded windows," recalled Zebik, 90. "My father built a fake chimney and we hid all the parts in it."
"Being caught with even the smallest part in the radio station brought the risk of death," he said.
The radio broadcast news in Polish and music aimed at informing fighters and Warsaw residents of the battles against the Germans. There were also English broadcasts aimed at informing the outside world of the struggle.
It went off the air on Oct. 4, 1944, two days after the uprising was crushed.