Since then, except the occupation years, the day has been celebrated throughout Poland.
Poland commemorates 77th anniversary of WWII outbreak 01.09.2016 08:30 Polish leaders attended a ceremony at dawn on Thursday marking the 77th anniversary of the outbreak of World War II on the Westerplatte peninsula in the northern city of Gdańsk.
President Andrzej Duda, Prime Minister Beata Szydło and Gdańsk Mayor Paweł Adamowicz took part in the ceremony.
The commemoration traditionally started at 4:45 am, the time on 1 September 1939 that the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein began shelling a Polish military depot on Westerplatte in the first battle between Polish and German soldiers of WWII.
The week-long defence of the Poles against overwhelmingly larger German forces became a symbol of the heroism of Polish soldiers.
"Thanks to them, thanks to the message spread all over Poland that Westerplatte is still fighting, the morale of Polish soldiers was boosted," said President Duda.
"Their memory will forever remain in our history, and above all forever remain in our hearts." (mol/pk)