I travel through the eyes of another, with glimpses of Gdańsk like these:
They are my reward for arming my husband with this before he left for Poland:
Gdańsk crib sheet
German name: Danzig
Airport: Gdańsk Lech Walęsa airport
- Founded in the 10th century.
- Stronghold of the Teutonic Knights.
- Member of the Hanseatic League (there were 186 other cities).
- World War II began here with a German strike on Westerplatte on 1 September 1939.
- 90% of the city was destroyed during the war, but it was painstakingly rebuilt over the course of the following decades. Today the Old Town (Stare Miasto) bears the same beautiful colours as before.
- Gdańsk became a major shipbuilding city under communist rule. The trade union Solidarnosc (Solidarity) was born here – its co-founder and leader, Lech Walesa, went on to become the first freely elected president of Poland in 1990.
Thank you in Polish: Dziękuję’ (jen-koo-yea)
Snapshots are shared sporadically without much of a commentary (my husband is work-focused), so I try to discover more for myself.
But it’s the new Museum of the Second World War which elicits more images and words than anything else.
Powerful and moving, with personal stories documenting everything from the small details of how to source wedding dress fabric to the overwhelming horror of war and a sister’s hopeless grief, the visit clearly affects my husband, and some of the pictures he sends bring tears to my eyes.
The museum is built in three parts: the basement represents the past, the square on which the building sits represents the present, and the slanting glass tower stands for the future. Cleverly, a small amount of natural light illuminates the past in the basement – there must always be hope.
My husband is now home and talking of another work jaunt – this time to Budapest.
I’ve told him he can hold tight for now. His photos are great, and give me an intriguing glimpse into a place I might otherwise know no more about than is on a crib sheet.
But it’s my turn next.
More on the Museum of the Second World War here and its design here.
Ryanair and Wizz Air both fly to Gdańsk from the UK.
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