In mid-August 1944, over 300 people died in one of the most tragic episodes of the Warsaw Uprising when a radio-controlled vehicle carrying half a tonne of explosives blew up after Poles thought they had seized it.
On the morning of the 13th of August 1944, the Germans launched an assault on the Old Town from their positions at the nearby Castle Square.
At 0900 hours, a tracked vehicle, what seemed to be a tank, started crawling up Podwale Street towards the maze of streets which make up Warsaw’s oldest district, an insurgent stronghold at the time. Combatants threw molotov cocktails at the tank, forcing its driver to escape from the resulting fire.
Insurgents found no weapons in the vehicle but they did notice a radio device of sorts. Nobody was allowed near the tank until a sapper had checked it out, although before a technician managed to inspect the vehicle, at around 1600 hours two soldiers claiming to be under direct orders from the Polish command climbed into the tank and started to drive it into the insurgents’ territory, towards the Old Town.
A huge crowd gathered to celebrate the capturing of the German tank, and a makeshift victory parade assembled along the street. The resulting blast ripped into nearby buildings and tore its way through the jubilant spectators…
How to listen
Unseen is available as a downloadable podcast, although it is best experienced through the Echoes geolocative storytelling app available for iOS and Android. After loading the app, search for soundwalks in Warsaw and you’ll find Unseen.