Duda, Steinmeier likely to meet on anniversary of outbreak of WW II

Polish President Andrzej Duda and his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, will likely meet on September 1 in Wieluń, the first Polish city to be bombed on September 1, 1939, when WWII started, Duda's aide Wojciech Kolarski has said.

Speaking to private television channel wPolsce.pl, Kolarski said the meeting in the central-western Polish city will be part of the ceremonies marking the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II.

"There are a few such anniversaries (to be observed in 2019 - PAP), but this among the most important ones not only due to its significance in Polish history, but also world history," Kolarski told the TV station.

Before the war, Wieluń had around 16,000 residents and was situated only 21 kilometres away from the German border. On September 1, 1939, Nazi Germany dropped 380 bombs on the city. The Luftwaffe bombings, which started at 4:40 a.m. - five minutes before the shelling of Westerplatte - killed close to 1,200 civilians in the city.

According to historians, when the Luftwaffe attacked, no Polish military troops were deployed in or around the city. The city also lacked anti-aircraft defences. Thus, the bombing is considered an act of terrorism, as it targeted the civilian population.