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The Museum of the Second World War was launched in November 2008 and is located in Gdańsk. The museum is situated 200 metres from the historic Polish Post Office and 3 kilometres across the water from Westerplatte Peninsula. The German attack on these places marked the beginning of the Second World War in September 1939.
Gdańsk, the city where the war broke out, was selected to be the seat of the Museum of the Second World War. The Museum was built on a lot at Wałowa Street near the city centre and is located in a symbolic architectural space, 200 metres from the historic Polish Post Office in Gdańsk and 3 kilometres across the water from Westerplatte Peninsula, both of which were attacked in September 1939.
The Museum’s mission is to be a modern institution that narrates the story of the Second World War, the greatest catastrophe of the 20th century. One of its main goals is to show the wartime experiences of Poland and the other countries of East-Central Europe. These were often different from what the people of Western Europe and of countries outside Europe lived through, and tend to be little known in the West.
The permanent exhibition covers 5.000 square metres. This makes it one of the largest exhibitions in the world presented by a history museum. It is divided into three narrative blocs. The first, The road to war, covers the roots of the Second World War. The second thematic bloc, The horrors of war, shows the experiences of ordinary people, lives of soldiers, prisoners of war, camp inmates. The third section of the exhibition, The war’s long shadow, serves as a bridge between the end of the war and its repercussions: the downfall of the Third Reich, the liberation of Europe, the border changes and the post-war division of the continent. Furthermore, the museum serves as a centre of education, culture and research.
The Museum of the Second World War was launched in November 2008 and is located in Gdańsk. The museum is situated 200 metres from the historic Polish Post Office and 3 kilometres across the water from Westerplatte Peninsula. The German
Captain Franciszek Dąbrowski was major Sucharski right-hand man during the defence of the Military Depot at Westerplatte. After the war Dabrowski made a great effort commemorating the fallen of Westerplatte. He also wrote two books about the events at Westerplatte peninsula in September 1939.
During the German assault on the Westerplatte, Mieczysław Słaby was responsible for treating the wounded. In spite of the desperate conditions he managed to keep all injured men alive until the moment of surrender. After the war Słaby became a victim of the communist persecutions, and died in prison.
Stella Czajkowska is one of the relatively few Jews who survived the war, despite the ghetto, the gas chambers in Auschwitz, hunger and disease in Stutthof and a gruesome death march. Her story is symbolic of the horror in which the victims of Nazi regime had landed.
For the people of Gdańsk the end of the Second World War was not necessarily a liberation. The arrival of the Soviet Army meant first defeat and then factually a new occupation. The Poles who settled in Gdańsk after the war were not in favor of the Soviet domination. For many Poles the political consequences of the war lasted until 1989 when Poland became an independent and democratic state again.
On 1 September 1939 the Germans attacked the Westerplatte peninsula in the port of Gdańsk. This assault marks the beginning of the Second World War. A small Polish garrison held out for seven days, bolstering the morale of the Polish people. After the war Westerplatte became a symbol of Polish resistance against the German invasion.