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Germany asks for forgiveness over Polish war suffering

Germany asks for forgiveness over Polish war suffering”

Later Sunday, US Vice President Mike Pence, Steinmeier and Duda will deliver speeches at a ceremony in Warsaw's Pilsudski Square, the site of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Some 30 countries were represented in all, with the notable exception Russian Federation, which had not been invited.

Foreign delegations attending included Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky whose partnership matters to Poland, which believes its security depends on Ukraine remaining outside of Russia´s sphere of influence. Poland's government had moved this year's commemorations from Westerplatte, near the Baltic port city of Gdańsk, to Warsaw, in anticipation of a visit from the United States president, who was to give the keynote speech. "We will not forget the suffering of Polish families and nor will we forget the courage of their resistance".

As part of its campaign, the Polish National Foundation also paid for supplements in some newspapers consisting of a copy of their front pages from September 2, 1939, that highlighted the Nazi German army's attack on Poland.

At an event later in Warsaw, Mr Steinmeier said: "As a German guest, I walk before you here barefoot". Polish leaders had compared Russia's actions to "the aggressors of 1939". "May we be more committed than ever to the fight for peace and our values". "But we also know: Europe should not be strong without America - or even against America. We must listen more for the sake of European cohesion", the German president said.

The speeches by Steinmeier, Duda, and Pence were followed by the ringing of a bell of peace by all the global representatives present, and a wreath-laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a central memorial in the Polish capital that is guarded round the clock by Polish soldiers. He recalled that under the Nazi plan for Poland, "its culture, its cities, its people - everything living was supposed to be destroyed".

"People in Poland don't really know Mike Pence", said Paval Stacherski, 39, a carpenter from Lodz. I look back in gratitude to the Polish people's fight for freedom.

Speaking as he attended a ceremony in the Polish city of Wielun, where the first German bombs fell 80 years ago, Mr Stenmeier said: "I bow my head before the Polish victims of Germany's tyranny".

Duda thanked Steinmeier for attending the painful anniversary and said it was a form of giving "moral satisfaction".

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki meanwhile attended a separate dawn remembrance Sunday in Westerplatte, where a Nazi German battleship opened fire on a Polish fort on September 1, 1939.

As part of its campaign, the Polish National Foundation also paid for supplements in some newspapers consisting of a copy of their front pages from September 2, 1939, that highlighted the Nazi German army's attack on Poland.

Critics say the party's ambition is to fan nationalism among voters at a time when populists around the world are tapping into historical revisionism.

Earlier this year, a Polish special parliamentary group published a preliminary study that showed the six-year conflict may have cost the Polish economy more than $850 billion - or almost two years of the eastern European country's output.



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