(JTA) — European leaders marked the 70th anniversary of the start of World War II.
Poland’s president and prime minister paid tribute to the war’s victims, including the 6 million Jews killed in the Holocaust, during a pre-dawn ceremony at Westerplatte, the site where the Germans invaded Poland on Sept. 1, 1939.
They were joined later by the leaders of about 20 countries, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, for a wreath-laying ceremony and commemoration speeches.
The European Jewish Congress is “Remembering both the evil and tyranny of the Nazis and their collaborators and the bravery and fortitude of the Allies that fought and defeated them,” Moshe Kantor, the group’s president, said in a statement released Tuesday.
“Seventy years later we are witnessing a similar specter of tyranny over parts of the world as the Iranian regime exports its fanaticism and culture of death around the world. This while oppressing its own people and most importantly building a nuclear weapons program that can threaten its neighbors, parts of Europe and moving its range menacingly further and further,” he said.
The EJC statement called on European governments "to act now to prevent a repeat of the mistakes of the past and thwart a catastrophe in the making."