In 2016 I visited Gdansk twice and photographed WW II traces of war in Westerplatte, Gdansk and Stutthof.
There were three key moments on September 1, 1939 that led to the start of World War Two. In the early morning there was an attack on a bridge in the town of Tczew, followed by the infamous German attack on the peninsula at Westerplatte. On the same morning, German Nazi troops also stormed the Polish Post Office in Gdańsk, killing innocent workers.
Stutthof is 34 km from Danzig and was the first concentration camp created by the Nazis outside of the country of Germany (September 2nd. 1939). It is also the last camp liberated by the Allies (May 10th 1945)
The Chełm-Gdansk Cemetery is a 2.3 hectare Jewish cemetery in Gdańsk (Danzig), with graves of the Jewish community of Danzig dating from the 1860s. The cemetery survived the Holocaust times in good condition. It was closed in 1956 and seriously devastated in the following years. It currently remains in dilapidated condition. The land has been reclaimed by the Jewish community, which has roots in the community going back to at least 1694.
During 1938 and 1939 it is estimated that the lives of some 10,000 Jewish children were saved thanks to the organisers of what would come to be known as ‘Kindertransports’. These evacuations of children from Poland, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Austria and the Free City of Danzig to the United Kingdom saw children carried away from the Nazis by bus, train and ferry to new families in Britain. Four kindertransports managed to leave Gdańsk/Danzig in the spring and summer of 1939 carrying a total of 124 children to safety. Sculptor Frank Meisler was one of them, and on May 6, 2009 his memorial to this exodus, entitled ‘The Departure’ was unveiled outside Gdańsk Główny train station.