Today we mark Victory in Europe Day. 75 years ago today, Nazi Germany surrendered after having unleashed over 5 years of murderous destruction that remains unmatched in human history.

Poland was Nazi Germany’s first victim, and under Nazi German occupation it became the site of the Holocaust and the worst atrocities of the War. Poland lost over 6 million of its citizens during the war, with over half of those having been murdered in the extermination camps of Auschwitz-Bikrenau, Belzec, Chelmno, Majdanek, and Sobibor.

Although most of Europe celebrated victory on May 8, 1945, the Polish people faced another brutal occupation under the Soviet Union, and true freedom would not be achieved until 1989.

Please find below a statement from the Embassy of Poland in Ottawa marking this occasion: