Category:Danzig

From Stamps of the World

The Free City of Danzig (German: Freie Stadt Danzig; Polish: Wolne Miasto Gdańsk) was a semi-autonomous city-state that existed between 1920 and 1939, consisting of the Baltic Sea port of Danzig (today Gdańsk) and surrounding areas. It was created on 15 November 1920 in accordance with the terms of Article 100 (Section XI of Part III) of the 1919 Treaty of Versailles.

The Free City included the city of Danzig and over two hundred nearby towns, villages, and settlements. As the Treaty stated, the region was to remain separated from the nation of Germany and from the newly resurrected nation of Poland, but it was not an independent state; the Free City was under League of Nations protection and put into a binding customs union with Poland. Poland was also given full rights to develop and maintain transportation, communication, and port facilities in the city. The Free City was created in order to give Poland access to a well-sized seaport while respecting the fact that the city's population was roughly ninety-five percent German.

In 1933, the City's government was taken over by the local Nazi Party and the democratic opposition was suppressed. Due to anti-Semitic persecution and oppression, many Jews fled. After the German invasion of Poland in 1939, the Free City was abolished and incorporated into the newly formed Reichsgau of Danzig-West Prussia. Anti-Polish measures followed.

During the city's conquest by the Soviet Army in the early months of 1945, many citizens fled or were killed. After the war, a number of remaining ethnic Germans were expelled. The city was subsequently put under Polish administration by the Allied Potsdam Agreement, and Polish settlers were brought in to replace the German population.