President Andrzej Duda attended a commemorative event at the Westerplatte peninsula in the north of the country, state news agency PAP reported.
Westerplatte was the site of a legendary battle as Polish forces fought their Nazi German invaders in what is regarded as the first battle of World War II.
The president told his audience that 83 years ago “Germany, fueled by Hitler's Nazi ideology, in coordination with its ally at the time, the Soviet Union, fueled by communist ideology, started the Second World War by invading Poland without any warning, without declaring war.”
“This was definitely one of the most terrible tragedies in our history,” he said.
Duda went on to say: “We the Polish people and our guests … are meeting to remember, to commemorate, to pay tribute to those killed and fallen, and once again to warn the world so that the worst cataclysm of the 20th century does not happen ever again.”
Paying tribute to the heroic defenders of Westerplatte, the president said that “today, we have well-trained, heroic soldiers, too.”
He added that the country must ensure that "the Polish soldiers of today have the proper armaments to defend the homeland safely and capably.”
“Long live the free, sovereign and independent Poland,” Duda said.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki visited the central city of Wieluń, which was battered by Nazi German bombers on September 1, 1939.
Morawiecki said that more than 5 million Poles were killed in the carnage of World War II.
He added that “the whole German crime machine participated in the annihilation of Poland.”
Morawiecki told the gathering: “Today we must remember, we must look after the truth, we must think and look after the atonement, and these should be our primary considerations when we think about and remember World War II today.”
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Mariusz Błaszczak told the crowd in Westerplatte that “sadly another terrible war is raging in Ukraine today.”
He added: “Russia is killing thousands of people in a barbaric way, devastating towns and villages."
The defence minister warned: “Today the imperial evil has been reborn, history is repeating itself and yet part of Europe is still not learning the lessons of the tragedy of war.”
Referring to Poland’s security policy, Błaszczak said: “Poland is secure thanks to the strength of its army and the strength of the alliances of which we are a part.”
Source: PAP, prezydent.pl
Click on the audio player above to listen to a report by Radio Poland's Agnieszka Bielawska.