I’ve mentioned several times how I was a big fan of the free walking tours in Poland when I visited in 2015 and the walking tour in Gdansk was equally as exceptional. I actually didn’t know a whole lot about Gdansk before I planned my trip to Poland. I knew Westerplatte was nearby, and that was where World War II started, but I didn’t know much else. I planned to go there primarily because one of my yoga teachers was from Gdansk (Sopot, specifically) and told me I just had to go there if I went to Poland.
It was on the walking tour that I learned about the Polish Post Office and the heroes who lost their lives there at the beginning of World War II.
When the Polish Post Office was originally established it was located in the Free City of Danzig, which wasn’t part of Poland officially and was created after World War I. According to an article I found, it was originally established in 1920 as a German military hospital but in 1930 one of the buildings became the official post office of Poland where about 100 people were employed, including several people who were members of a self-defense and security organization. Over time the Polish Post Office because an important center for Polish intelligence organizations.
On September 1st, when Germany invaded Poland at Westerplatte, there were 57 people working and with their small cache of weaponry, they held off the German troops for 15 hours. It has gone down in history as a sort of Polish “David and Goliath” story.
All but four of the Polish defenders who escaped were sentenced to death. Those who didn’t escape and surrendered that day were lined up against a wall outside the post office and shot. There’s a memorial marking this act as well outside the post office.
L-R: The wall with the fingerprints; a mosaic memorial; the Monument to the Defenders of the Polish Post Office.
If you’re in Gdansk, I would encourage you to learn about these events and the brave Polish fighters who tried to defend their countries against one of the most evil regimes in history.