”Dawn will broke in Wieluń soon. We are waiting for the first rays of sunlight. Let this hope grow in our hearts and give us independent and just Poland – the Poland, our homeland and hope, that our ancestors dreamed of,” added the Prime Minister.
Outbreak of World War II – a brutal assault on a sleeping town
1 September 1939 saw the beginning of the largest armed conflict in history. For Poles, it meant years of fear, tears, and blood shed to save the homeland.
The brutal invasion of our country started at dawn. At 4:40 a.m., the first German bombs were dropped on a small town of Wieluń located approx. 20 km from the border with the Third Reich. At the time of the attack, Wieluń was a defenceless town. When the bombing started, the residents of Wieluń were either asleep or waking up. There were no Polish troops in Wieluń either. ”1 September 1939 was the last day of many innocent people’s lives. My mother would come here on holiday with her mother. In 1938, she was 9 years old – she would play and have fun until the fear of death brought it to an end. It was a totalitarian war started by criminal and genocidal regimes,” stressed Prime Minister Morawiecki, who participated in an event commemorating the 81st anniversary of the outbreak of World War II in Wieluń.
Heroic defence of Westerplatte
Five minutes after the Wieluń attack – at 4:45 a.m. – the first shots were fired by the Schleswig-Holstein battleship in Westerplatte. The heroic defence of Westerplatte lasted seven days. Then the decision to surrender was made by Major Henryk Sucharski due to the utter exhaustion of the Polish soldiers and lack of ammunition.
”How many mothers would have been able to feed their children if those murders had not been committed? How many professors would have been awarded a Nobel Prize? How many entrepreneurs would have contributed to the development of this land? These questions should be asked in Poland and in German cities because the perpetrators came from there,” said the Prime Minister. The head of government added that today, in Wieluń, we are obliged to say: ”No more Nazism and communism. No more war. It is our duty to remember this and remember our past generations. This must pave the way for the future”.
Commemoration of World War II victims
The Prime Minister honoured the victims of World War II by laying flowers at the Monument to Victims of 1 September 1939 and the Monument to Victims of the 1939 Wieluń Bombing as well as lighting grave candles at the Synagogue Monument.
For Wieluń, these are places of great significance. They commemorate nearly 1,200 residents who died under the rubble of the hospital and houses that were bombed, Jewish residents murdered during the war and under occupation, and the destruction of a nearly 100-year-old synagogue.
The head of government also visited the Andrzej Przewoźnik Hall of Memory of September 1939 and Subsequent Years at Janusz Korczak Secondary School No. 2. The exhibition shows the tragic history of Poland in the first days of the war and in subsequent years, honouring the victims of the bombing on 1 September 1939 and the people who survived it. It also presents the lives of Siberian exiles – both those who never came back and those who did, i.e. the so-called Witnesses to the Hell in the East.