Germany asks forgiveness for Nazi “tyranny” 80 years on from the start of World War Two. This was stated on Sunday by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeierand during the ceremony in Polish city of Wielun, where the first German bombs fell.
German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and other world leaders are in Poland to commemorate the outbreak of the conflict. Mr Steinmeier condemned the “desire to annihilate” that led to the attack.
“I bow my head before the Polish victims of Germany’s tyranny. And I ask forgiveness,” Mr Steinmeier said, speaking in German and Polish.
Mr Steinmeier spoke alongside his Polish counterpart, Andrzej Duda, who denounced Nazi Germany’s attack on Poland as “an act of barbarity”.
At the ceremony, which began shortly after 04:00 local time (02:00 GMT), a minute’s silence was observed in memory of the victims.
“Wielun was to show what kind of war it would be, that it would be a total war, a war without rules, a destructive war,” Mr Duda said.
Later on Sunday, other world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and US Vice-President Mike Pence, will gather for a ceremony in the Polish capital, Warsaw.