Poland Remembering the Start of the European War
On the 70th anniversary of the German invasion of Poland, a day of commemorations was scheduled to take place throughout Poland. The first ceremony took place at 0445 hours on Westerplatte peninsula near Gdansk (then the Free City of Danzig), the exact time when German troops poured across the German-Polish border. Foreign leaders, including the German leader, were present. Polish President Lech Kaczynski made mention of the fact that, on 17 Sep 1939, Russia joined Germany in the invasion of Poland; "a stab in the back", as Kaczynski described. The statement added to the current political tension between Poland and Russia.
The location of Westerplatte was important because it was the site where less than 200 men held off a 3,000-strong German force for seven days. Ignacy Skowron, a Polish Army corporal at the time of the invasion, remained one of the very few who witnessed had fighting there. "I took the telescope and looked out at the channel, first right, then left and then at the cruiser which was moored in the bay," he remembered. "At that moment I saw a flash of red and the first shell hit the gate.... The cruiser then sailed into the channel and started to fire shell after shell at us. I saw huge trees being snapped in two."
In proportion to its size, Poland suffered more damage and casualties than any other country.
Back to Main | Back to 2009 News Index
Visitor Submitted Comments
All visitor submitted comments are opinions of those making the submissions and do not reflect views of WW2DB.
- » Pages of Alfred Rosenberg's Diary Found (2013.06.12)
- » British team to search for buried Spitfires in Myanmar (2013.01.08)
- » Japanese Prime Minister to send envoys to South Korea (2013.01.02)
- » See all news
Advertise on ww2db.com
- » 729 biographies
- » 304 events
- » 27116 timeline entries
- » 668 ships
- » 301 aircraft models
- » 163 vehicle models
- » 254 weapon models
- » 65 historical documents
- » 285 book reviews
- » 209 maps
- » 16244 photos, 1473 in color
Joachim von Ribbentrop, German Foreign Minister, Aug 1939