President: Let us build a state that will not be internally divided
Let us build a state that will not be internally divided, which will cure all the diseases brought about in the times of communist oppression; let us fix what has been destroyed and spoiled, Polish President Andrzej Duda said in Tczew, northern Poland, at Saturday's observations of the 79th anniversary of the outbreak of World War Two.
The Tczew observances were held on the city's Bohaterów Szymankowa Square, whose name commemorates Polish customs officers and railwaymen executed by the invading Germans on September 1, 1939, even before the start of the Westerplatte battle.
September 1 and 17 are two black spots on the map of the centenary of our independence, Polish President said. "They remind us that Poland, for six years, was torn apart between our two great enemies, Hitler's Germany and the Soviet Union," the president added as he addressed the participants of Saturday's observations of the 79th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II.
In his speech, President Duda stressed that this year's WWII observances fall in the year of the 100th anniversary of Poland's regaining independence. "After 123 years of partitions, that generation of young people, born very often at the beginning of the 20th century, mostly in the nineteenth century gained what neither their fathers, who fought in the January Uprising nor their grandparents who fought in the November Uprising managed to gain; these young people shed blood to regain their homeland and they brought Poland back on the map, the president pointed out.
See also: President: Poles grateful to veterans for their heroism "But these two dates, September 1, and September 17, are two black spots on the map of the centenary of our independence, because these dates remind us of the days when we lost our homeland again, when again Poland was torn apart for six years between our two great enemies, between two states, which at that time were totalitarian regimes: by Hitler's Germany and the Soviet Union, by Hitler and Stalin," Polish presidents said.
"No more war. (...) No more tearing apart of the Republic of Poland. I beg of us all, but first of all the young generation, to lead such a policy, to manage Polish affairs so that the threat never comes back to our homeland, so that we can celebrate regaining independence in 1918 every year for the next 100, 200 and more years," President Duda stressed.
The president also called for building a strong state. "Let us build a state that will not be internally divided, which will cure all the diseases brought about in the times of communist oppression; let us fix what has been destroyed and spoiled,", the president said.
- President Andrzej Duda laid a wreath at a monument to nearly seven thousand Poles who were mass-executed by the Germans in the first days of World War II in the Szpęgawski Forest, in Pomeranian province, northern Poland.
After placing the wreath, the president, in the presence of local authorities and other officials, walked for several minutes in the forest surrounding the clearing where the monument is located, and stopped at several mass graves in the forest.
The monument in the Szpęgawski Forest is devoted to Poles murdered in this area in the autumn of 1939 and in the winter of 1940.
It is estimated that nearly 7,000 people were killed in the Szpęgawski Forest, where the Germans carried out mass executions from autumn 1939 to early 1940. The Nazis murdered mainly representatives of the Polish intelligentsia, but Germans who opposed Nazism were also killed in this forest.
In 1944, to cover up traces of the crimes, Nazis brought in prisoners (from the Stutthof concentration camp) to dig up corpses from the collective graves and burn them. This lasted several weeks. After the prisoners completed their tasks, they were shot. The names of the majority of the victims are still unknown. (PAP/KG)