Monday, May 8, marks 78 years since VE Day, or Victory in Europe Day, when the Allies celebrated Nazi Germany’s surrender of its armed forces and the end of World War II in 1945.
During a ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in central Warsaw, Jan Józef Kasprzyk, head of Poland's Office for War Veterans and Victims of Oppression, said that Polish troops contributed significantly to the defeat of Nazi Germany in the 1940s.
He noted that Poland remained under Soviet control for decades after the war as a result of decisions made at the 1945 Yalta Conference, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported.
"In 1945, the free world did not muster the courage to ... deal with Soviet Russia, which was the other aggressor responsible for the outbreak of World War II," Kasprzyk said, as quoted by Polish state news agency PAP.
Poland's foreign ministry said in a tweet that May 8, 1945 marked the end of World War II in Europe, "during which - through dark days of adversity - millions fought bravely for the dignity, solidarity and territorial integrity."
"Today, we honour the heroes, who paid the ultimate price while protecting our freedom," it added.
Nearly 6 million Polish citizens were killed during World War II, which broke out when Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939.
Source: IAR, PAP