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01st Sep 2019

80 years on from the beginning of World War II, German President asks Poland for forgiveness

Rory Cashin

Germany Poland

“I bow my head before the Polish victims of Germany’s tyranny.”

Leaders from all around in world are in Poland today (Sunday 1 September) to commemorate the beginning of World War II, with a ceremony held in the Polish city of Wielun, where the first German bombs fell.

From those beginnings of the conflict, over 50 millions people around the world died during the war, including nearly six million Polish people.

Speaking in German and Polish at the ceremony, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier asked Poland for forgiveness for the Nazi tyranny that take place during the war.

“I bow before the victims of the attack on Wielun. I bow before the Polish victims of German tyranny. And I ask your forgiveness,” said Steinmeier.

“It was Germans who committed these crimes against humanity in Poland. Anyone calling them things of the past, or claiming that the vile rule of terror of the National Socialists in Europe was a mere footnote of German history, is passing judgement on him or herself.

“As Germany’s Federal President, let me assure you that we will not forget.”

In response, Polish President Andrzej Duda said “I am convinced that this ceremony will go down in the history of Polish-German friendship.”

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