Region: Germany / Poland Area
Group: Occupations in World War 2
Classification: Military Occupations (Germany)
Prior Regime: Danzig Free State
1933, May – Election of the National Socialist (Nazi) government in Danzig
1 Sept, 1939 – Germany invades Poland
2 Sept, 1939 – Germany annexes the Free City of Danzig
Jan-Mar – Most Germans evacuated Danzig
30 Mar 1945 – Soviets Occupy Danzig
30 Mar 1945 – Polish adminstration set up in Danzig
Following Regime: Republic of Poland
Scott Catalogue: (Danzig) #341-354
Pick Catalogue: none
Following the annexation of Austria and the Sudetenland (Czechslovakia) to Germany in October 1938, the German régime began urging Danzig’s cession to Germany. On 1 Sept, 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland, initiating World War II. The very next day, Germany officially annexed the Free City. The Nazi regime in Danzig murdered the Polish postmen defending the Polish Post Office: this was one of the first war crimes of World War 2. Polish soldiers in the Free State defending the Westerplatte stronghold, but surrendered after seven days of fighting. Danzig, for the duration of the war, remained under German control.
The Polish and the Jewish population of Danzig were persecuted during the time of the German annexation. A concentration camp was established in Stutthof, a nearby town and many Jews and Poles were sent there. For much of the war, Danzig was out of range of Allied bombers thus, during most of war, damage to its buildings was limited. Most of the men were forced into military service; while the city had an increasing refugee population from others fleeing Allied bombings. In late 1944 and 1945, Danzig herself became a target of air raids; and many of the ethic Germans fled from an advancing Russian Army.
In March, 1945, the city rejected a Soviet demand for surrender, causing the Russian Army to fight their way in. On 30 Mar, 1945, Danzig was taken by the Russians and most of the old city was destroyed. Almost immediately, the Soviets handed the city administration over to Poland. A large majority of the ethnically German population of Danzig was forced to leave while thousands of displaced Poles moved in. The city became a part of the new Poland, the remaining Germans were forbidden to speak German and the city was renamed Gdansk.
Following the annexation by Germany in 1939, Stamps of Danzig were overprinted “Deutfches Reich” in black, and the currency was changed to RPF or Reichpfenning and Reichmarks using the denomination already on the stamp. Two stamps were surchaged to a new value. These issues were the only stamps officially valid in Danzig until 1 Jan, 1940 in order to celebrate the annexation of Danzig into greater Germany. Afterwards, all German stamps could be used in Danzig.
While the Danzig overprints are specially made for Danzig, they are valid in the rest of Germany from beginning 22 Oct, 1939.
Germany banknotes replaced of Danzig soon after annexation.