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To sirens and church bells, Poland marks 70th anniversary of Warsaw ghetto uprising

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    People listen to a short concert as Julian Rachlin, the first violinist with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, plays a Bach sarabande in front of the monument to the fighters of the Warsaw ghetto uprising in Warsaw, Poland, on Thursday April 18, 2013. The performance was part of an evening of commemorations on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the 1943 revolt. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski) (The Associated Press)

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    Julian Rachlin, the first violinist with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, plays a Bach sarabande in front of the monument to the fighters of the Warsaw ghetto uprising in Warsaw, Poland, on Thursday April 18, 2013. The performance was part of an evening of commemorations on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the 1943 revolt. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski) (The Associated Press)

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    Julian Rachlin, right, the first violinist with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, plays a Bach sarabande in front of the monument to the fighters of the Warsaw ghetto uprising in Warsaw, Poland, on Thursday April 18, 2013. The performance was part of an evening of commemorations on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of the 1943 revolt. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski) (The Associated Press)

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    A man holding a daffodil takes a photo of a wall painting presenting Marek Edelman, the only Warsaw Ghetto 1943 Uprising commander who survived World War II, also holding a daffodil, on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the revolt, in Warsaw, Poland, Thursday, April 18, 2013. Daffodils, which bloom in April, the month the uprising began, are a symbol of remembrance and hope, and were distributed to visitors viewing the graffiti. (AP Photo/Alik Keplicz) (The Associated Press)

Sirens have wailed and church bells tolled in Warsaw as largely Roman Catholic Poland pays homage to the Jewish fighters who rose up 70 years ago against Nazi German forces in the Warsaw ghetto uprising.

The mournful sounds marked the start of state ceremonies being led Friday by Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski. He, the city mayor, one survivor of the fighting and other dignitaries gathered at the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes to honor the first large-scale rebellion — and the largest — against the Germans during World War II.

Throughout Warsaw, national and city flags fluttered from city buses, trams and public buildings as authorities make an unprecedented effort to encourage Poles to remember the ghetto fighters and Jewish suffering during the war.