Komorowski recalls Poland's Pyrrhic victory in WWII
PR dla Zagranicy
Seventy years after victory was declared by the Allies in Europe, President Bronisław Komorowski has stated that Poland's place on the winning side bore bitter fruit.
President Bronisław Komorowski (R) with President of the Ukraine Petro Poroshenko (C) and President of the EU Council Donald Tusk, Thursday night, Gdańsk. Photo: PAP/Piotr Wittman
“For Poles, the experience of World War II was not only the experience of dramatic losses, but also of being deprived of the possibility of taking full advantage of the victory, which militarily we played a significant role in,” Komorowski said on Thursday evening in Gdańsk.
The president noted that in spite of the end of the Nazi German occupation, Poland ended up “on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain.”
Komorowski's comments were made while he moderated a panel discussion at the European Solidarity Centre as part of Poland's official tributes marking the surrender of Nazi Germany on 7 and 8 May 1945.
Fellow panellists included former President of Germany Horst Koehler and French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, as well as the presidents of Lithuania, Ukraine, Estonia, Romania, Croatia and the Czech Republic.
Although World War II began in Gdańsk, with the Nazi German Navy's attack on the Westerplatte peninsula, Komorowski stressed the city's positive associations for European integration as the birthplace of the Solidarity trade union in 1980.
“For us, Gdańsk and the tradition of Polish Solidarity marked the beginning of the Polish road to freedom,” he said.
Shortly before midnight, the president and guests are due to pay tribute at the Westerplatte Monument.
Poland's decision to host a major international ceremonies on 7 and 8 May was interpreted by many observers as a snub to Russia's 70th anniversary tributes in Moscow on 9 May.
However, Komorowski claimed earlier this week that the Gdańsk event “is not a test to see who is our friend.” (nh)