German, Polish leaders mark start of WWII
In 1939, Poland was invaded by Germany to its west and the Soviet Union to its east. After the Nazis attacked the Soviets, Poland came entirely under German control and subject to a brutal occupation. It become the hub of Hitler's program to exterminate Europe's Jews, under which 6 million were murdered.
At the ceremony on Westerplatte, Koehler and Polish president Aleksander Kwasniewski walked to a monument to the war's first victims. They were killed on the peninsula in the Baltic port of Gdansk when a German warship began shelling a Polish munitions depot and garrison on Sept. 1, 1939, as the Nazis launched their invasion.
To the roll of military drums, Koehler and Kwasniewski walked behind soldiers, who placed large wreaths on their behalf, and bent over simultaneously to arrange the wreath's ribbons, each in the colors of their respective national flags.
The presidents then took two steps back, joined hands for a moment of silence and bowed toward the wreaths.
At a Gdansk high school later, the two stressed the need for tolerance between cultures, especially in fighting terrorism.
comments powered by Disqus
- Joan Baez, Sly Stone, Steve Martin, Ben E. King -- all honored by the Library of Congress
- StoryCorps to Launch Global Expansion With $1M TED Prize
- Hofstra Event Looks at Bush Presidency
- Did Israel steal uranium from a town in Pennsylvania in the 1960s?
- Sequel to Nelson Mandela's Long Walk to Freedom to be published next year
- History Camp "unconference" returns for the second year in Boston
- History Department at Connecticut College deplores Facebook post on Palestinians
- Historians join other scholars in protesting Georgia's anti-gay legislation
- Homeland Security historian builds winning case against Salvadoran leader who oversaw crimes
- What Howard Zinn taught the students of Spelman College