German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Sunday asked Poland’s forgiveness for history’s bloodiest conflict during a ceremony in the Polish city of Wielun, where the first World War II bombs fell 80 years ago.
“I bow my head before the victims of the attack on Wielun. I bow my head before the Polish victims of Germany’s tyranny. And I ask forgiveness,” Steinmeier said in both German and Polish.
The observances started at 4:40 a.m., the exact hour that, according to survivors, the war’s first bombs fell, killing civilians.
The presidents, local officials, and residents, among them survivors of the bombings, observed a minute of silence in memory of an estimated 2,000 victims.
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