WARSAW/GDANSK, Poland (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence are set to join leaders on Sunday who are commemorating 80 years since the start of World War Two in Poland, where the conflict is still a live political issue.

Few places saw death and destruction on the scale of Poland. It lost about a fifth of its population, including the vast majority of its 3 million Jewish citizens.

After the war, its shattered capital of Warsaw had to rise again from ruins and Poland remained under Soviet domination until 1989.

Ceremonies began at 4.30 a.m. (0230 GMT) in the small town of Wielun, site of one of the first bombings of the war on Sept. 1, 1939, with speeches by Polish President Andrzej Duda and his German counterpart, Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

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