On September 1, 1939, the greatest war humanity has ever suffered began, a war in which tens of millions of people died.
At 4:48 a.m. that day, the German battleship SMS Schleswig-Holstein, which was pretending to pay a visit to the Free City of Danzig, fired its cannons at the nearby Polish military position of Westerplatte. They were the first shots of World War II. The Germans thought that the Polish position would soon surrender, as it only had a garrison of 180 men and apparently consisted of only a few barracks. It was not so.
On September 7, 1939, exhausted, without ammunition or food, the Polish defenders raised a white flag. Major Henryk Sucharski handed over his saber to German General Friedrich-Georg Eberhardt, but the latter allowed him to keep it (although it was later confiscated), as a sign of recognition for the heroism he had shown that small polish garrison. Today only a few ruins of the Polish military positions remain on Westerplatte, a place that is revered in Poland as a byword for heroism. In 1966 a huge 25-meter-high monument dedicated to those heroes was erected, which still stands on the peninsula today, designed by Franciszek Duszeńko, Henryk Kitowski and Adam Haupt.
You can see here a video of the Museum of the World War II in Gdańsk that shows the places of the battle and how they were in 1939 (the video is in English, you can activate the subtitles in Spanish in the lower bar of the player):
Two months ago, the Polish channel El Turisto Urbex published this other video which shows us in more detail the remains of the Westerplatte fortifications (it is in Polish, and unfortunately does not offer an automatic translation):
You can see below some captures of this last video. Here we see the original entrance to the Westerplatte military compound , with the railway that ran into this place.
The ruins of one of the buildings of the military position that was attacked by the Germans in September 1939.
Plaques with the names of the soldiers who defended Westerplatte. The defenders had 15 dead and 40 wounded.
The Westerplatte Heroes Monument built in 1966.
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