This year's WWII outbreak ceremonies to be organised by Polish Army - MoD

Paweł Supernak/PAP

Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak announced on Friday that this year's observances of the outbreak of WWll will be organised by the Polish Army on September 1 at Westerplatte, northern Poland.

The Westerplatte Peninsula in Gdansk was the site of the first clash between German and Polish forces during World War II. A small Polish garrison stationed on Westerplatte fought off fierce German attacks from land, sea and the air until September 7. World War II began in Poland on September 1, 1939, with Nazi Germany's attack on a Polish military depot on Westerplatte and a simultaneous attack on the small Polish town of Wielun.

Blaszczak stated that he wanted the observances to have a state nature, and not to be politically exploited.

"This year, for the first time, and I hope this will continue for good, the Polish Army will organise the observances of September 1 at Westerplatte," he said.

"This was a German attack on Poland. This anniversary is, above all, meant to honour the courage and sacrifice of the Polish Army," the minister underlined.

Minister Blaszczak stated that the Westerplatte site "had been neglected for years." "From now on, the site will be supervised by the State Treasury," he said, stating that a Westerplatte Museum will be built there in the future.

Repeating that he wants the observances to have a state nature, and not to be politically exploited, the minister admitted that, unfortunately, this had happened for years when the authorities of Gdansk, northern Poland, "either planned not to invite the Polish Army, or invited politicians, like, for instance, Frans Timmermans (EC Vice-president), who delivered controversial speeches at Westerplatte."

Blaszczak declared that invitations to the observances will be extended to, among other persons, war veterans and scouts, as well as, to local authorities.