City In Ruins: Warsaw's Darkest Hour
By James Grahame
Miasto Ruin (City in Ruins) is a heart-wrenching five minute film that simulates an aircraft flight over the ruined Polish capital of Warsaw in 1945. The project is the result of a two year collaboration between a team of Polish historians and dozens of special effects artists.
The extent of the destruction is almost too much to comprehend -- home to 1.3 million people prior to the war, the city was a barely-habitable wasteland five years later.
In the summer of 1944, a Polish uprising held out against the Nazi occupiers for 63 days. When the city fell, Hitler ordered the city obliterated in retaliation. Every building of significance was razed, along with all the bridges. An estimated 16,000 Polish resistance fighters died and as many as 250,000 civilians perished in the brutal aftermath of the uprising.
City in Ruins will be shown at the Warsaw Rising Museum, which opened on the 60th anniversary of the uprising in 2004 to tell the story of Warsaw's bittersweet resistance to new generations too young to remember anything but peace.