Places related to World War 2 in Poland
World War II was one of the most despicable conflicts in the history of mankind. It brought devastating destruction and killed millions of people, most of which were civilians. This nefarioius period in history has been commemorated in countless monuments and museums. Some of the most significant and poignant memorials can be found in Poland.
In this article, you will be able to read about some of the most famous and significant Polish places associated with World War II.
Westerplatte is a peninsula formed between 1845 and 1847 and the symbol of the outbreak of World War II. During the interwar period, Westerplatte was the location of the Military Transit Depot.
On August 25th 1939, a German armored ship called „Schleswig-Holstein” came to Gdansk, which brought the Kriegsmarine assault company below the deck. Between September 1st and September 7th 1939, the peninsula was defended under the leadership of major Henryk Sucharski.
In March of 1940, Westerplatte became the location of the subcamp of the concentration camp in Stutthof.
Bzura is a river located in the Central Poland Lowlands. It was the location of the famous Battle of Bzura, which took place between September 9th and September 22nd 1939.
This battle was a bit different than other battles of World War II, because during the Battle of Bzura Poland was on the attacking side.
The German army didn’t notice that, that on the back of the armoured divisions of Wehrmacht there were plenty of soldiers of the Polish Army. The enemy wanted to surround the Polish army, but they ignored the most western army called „Poznan”. When they saw the threat, they began to retreat and eventually they encountered the „Pomorze” army lead by general Wladyslaw Bortnowski.
The World War II Museum in Gdansk
Apart from memorials of crucial battles from World War II, other Polish places associated with this period in history include museums. One of them is the World War II Museum in Gdansk, which is a national cultural institution, appointed on September 1st 2008 and officially opened on March 23rd 2017.
On November 26th 2008, Bogdan Zdrojewski, who was the minister of culture and national heritage at that time, changed the name of the Westerplatte Museum to the World War II Museum in Gdansk.
Since being established, the purpose of the World War II Museum was to collect and prserve artefacts associated with this ruthless miltary conflict.
Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp
Auschwitz-Birkenau is one of the most significant symbols of cruelty on humankind. It is a complex of German Nazi concentration camps, which operated between 1940 and 1945. It is the symbol of the extermination of the Jews, sometimes called the „death factory”. It was the only German concentration camp to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The idea of creating this concentration camp first appeared in Wroclaw. In late 1939, Arpad Wigand, who was functioning as the inspector of the German police, suggested that the camp should be established in Oswiecim.
The Warsaw Uprising Museum
The Warsaw Uprising Museum is a historical museum appointed in 1983 and officially opened on July 31st 2004, one day before the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Warsaw Uprising.
The purpose of the museum is to document the history of the Warsaw Uprising and organize research works dedicated to the events of the uprising, as well as gather documents asssociated with the activity of the Polish Underground State.
The exhibit of the museum showcases the fight and daily events during the occupation, as well as the postwar communist terror and the fates of the members of the Warsaw Uprising in Communist Poland.
Wolf’s Lair – headquarters of Adolf Hitler
Wolf’s Lair is the former headquarters of Adolf Hitler, located to the east of the village of Gierloz.
It was created in early September of 1939, and its was supposed to serve as a command center during the war. It didn’t have its permanent location. Depending on the frontline situation, the headquarters was moved to various locations. During the entire war, Hitler had 8 location of his headquarters all over Europe, not including Berlin and Obersalzberg. The staff of the main headquarters included some of the most important military men and politics, including Wilhelm Keitel, who was the chief of the command of the armed forces, Martin Bormann, who was the manager of the NSDAP office and numerous adjutants and secretaries.
The „Majdanek” Concentration Camp
„Majdanek” was a German Nazi concentration camp located in Lublin, which was functioning between 1941 and 1944.
The history of this camp is inseparably associated with the history of the lands between the Vistula and Bug rivers during World War II.
In the beginning, there were plans to create the first small fragment of a camp that would be able to hold 5000-6000 prisoners. However, in the autumn of 1941, an order came to immediately construct a captive camp that could hold 50.000 prisoners. The construction works were carried out by Jews, who were the captives of the German army from 1939.
The Treblinka death camp
The Treblinka death camp was a German Nazi concentration camp, which was operating from July of 1942 to November 1943, not far from the village of Treblinka, after which the camp was named.
In the late summer of 1941, the German occupation authorities organized a labor camp for Polish and Jewish people.
The concept of the „ultimate solution of the matter of Jews” began to crystallize most likely in the autumn of 1941. The urgent extermination of the Jews was especially expected by the occupation authorities of the General Government, who thought that this is the only way to eliminate their problems of economic and sanitary nature.
Visit Treblinka Death Camp in One Day Tour from Warsaw
The National Army Museum
The National Army Museum is the only institution of its type in Poland. Its main purpose is to popularize the knowledge about the Polish Underground State and its armed forces, mostly about the National Army.
In the late 1980s and early 1990, the members of the National Army Soldiera Association made an attempt to create a museum dedicated to the history of the National Army. In 2000, the National Army Museum was appointed as a joint venture of the Krakow Community and the Lesser Poland region. Its activity was officially inaugurated on September 27th 2000.
The purpose of the museum is to gather, restore and share the unique collections associated with the National Army.