Last Polish Soldier of WWII Opening Battle Dies

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

WARSAW, Poland (AP) - Maj. Ignacy Skowron, the last known survivor of World War II's Battle of Westerplatte, has died. He was 97.

Family friend Zofia Nowak said Skowron died of old age Sunday at his grandson's home in Kielce, in southern Poland.

Skowron was one of 200 Polish troops guarding a military depot at Westerplatte, near Gdansk, on the Baltic Coast on Sept. 1, 1939 when it came under fire from a German warship in what is believed to be the opening battle of World War II.

The Poles held out for seven days in the face of attack from land, sea and air, but were eventually taken prisoner.

Skowron was released in 1940, and worked for Polish railways until his 1975 retirement.

His funeral will be held Wednesday in Brzeziny, near Kielce.

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