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In quotes: Poland WWII anniversary

European leaders lay candles at the Cemetery of Defenders of Westerplatte outside Gdansk, Poland
The leaders of European nations gathered in Poland to mark the 70th anniversary of the outbreak of war

As Europe marks the outbreak of World War II, world leaders have spoken about the events of the past and issues faced in the future. Below are some of their comments.

GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL

I remember the 6 million Jews and all others who suffered, who died a terrible death in German concentration and extermination camps.

I remember the many millions of people who had to lose their lives in their fight and in the resistance against Germany.

I remember all those, those innocents who suffered, who died from hunger, cold and disease, from the violence of war and its consequences; I remember the 60 million people who lost their lives through this war that Germany started.

There are no words to adequately describe the suffering of this war and the Holocaust.

I bow to the victims.

RUSSIAN PRIME MINISTER VLADIMIR PUTIN

The victory in the fight against Nazism was gained at an immense price, with truly irretrievable losses.

For the liberation of Gdansk alone, more than 53,000 Red Army soldiers and officers gave their lives.

There are 600,000 of my compatriots lying in the Polish soil, who brought the victory over Nazism nearer. Six-hundred thousand!

Altogether, of [those] killed in World War II, more than half - more than half - were citizens of the USSR.

POLISH PRIME MINISTER DONALD TUSK

We meet here to remember who started the war, who the culprit was, who the executioner in the war was and who was the victim of this aggression.

We meet here to remember this, because we Poles know that without this memory - honest memory about the truth - about the sources of World War II, Poland, Europe and the world will not be safe.

US PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA

The first day of September 1939 was a black day in history, and the events it ignited brought years of tyranny and despair to Poland and other European countries.

On behalf of the American people, I wish to join the voices commemorating this anniversary today, and express admiration and gratitude to those who stood on the side of freedom and hope, giving an example of spiritual superiority over tyranny.

Today, we live in a different era in which the United States and Poland are close allies, partners in meeting global challenges to our security and prosperity, in supporting fundamental human rights around the world.

BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY DAVID MILIBAND

We have a duty to remember the sacrifices, including of Poles fighting in and alongside British forces, and to learn the right lessons - about confronting racism and xenophobia, about standing up against tyranny, and about building international co-operation.

In that context, Poland's entry into the EU in 2004, alongside other countries from the former eastern bloc of Europe, represents a huge step towards the final closing of of a terrible set of chapters of European history.



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