Germany asks for forgiveness as Poland marks 80th anniversary of World War IIBreaking News
tags: World War II, Holocaust, Germany, Poland, 80th Anniversary
The ceremonies began at 4:30 a.m. in the small town of Wielun, site of one of the first bombings of the war on Sept. 1, 1939, with speeches by Polish President Andrzej Duda and his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
Few places saw death and destruction on the scale of Poland. It lost about a fifth of its population, including the vast majority of its 3 million Jewish citizens.
“I am here to express my feelings for the country, my patriotism, and to remind myself of these terrible times,” said 68-year-old Warsaw resident Krzysztof Wojciechowski.
After the war, the shattered capital of Warsaw had to rise again from ruins and Poland remained under Soviet domination until 1989.
“As a German guest I walk before you here barefoot. I look back in gratitude to the Polish people’s fight for freedom. I bow sorrowfully before the suffering of the victim,” Steinmeier said at an event later in Warsaw.
“I ask for forgiveness for Germany’s historical guilt. I profess to our lasting responsibility.”
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence paid tribute to the courage of the Polish people.
“None fought with more valor, determination, and righteous fury than the Poles,” Pence told the gathering of leaders in Warsaw that included German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.
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