The remnants of this building belong to the “new” Barracks and are part of a Polish military depot and garrison established on the Westerplatte peninsula between WW1 and WW2. The depot lay on the North side of the harbor canal of the former city of Danzig, now Gdansk, and is one of the first military targets to be attacked by Nazi Germany during the Invasion of Poland. This battle that started on the 1st of September 1939 is known as the Battle of Westerplatte.
The Battle of Westerplatte
While the German Army High Command expected to overrun the garrison in a matter of hours, with Battleship Schleswig Holstein bombarding the peninsula of Westerplatte from the harbor canal and ground troops heavily outnumbering it, the defending Polish soldiers managed to keep the German invaders occupied for seven days before they finally had to surrender.
Westerplatte thus became the symbol of Polish resistance and the phrase “Westerplatte broni się jeszcze” or in English “Westerplatte fights on” became the inspiration for many Poles to fight the Nazi (and Russian) aggression.
The New Barracks
Guardhouse No. 6 or “The New Barracks” were constructed on Westerplatte between 1934 and 1935 to provide the garrison with better housing. It was a very modern building, constructed of reinforced concrete with central heating, washing facilities, an infirmary and radio communications. The basement was set up as a bunker with light- and heavy machine gun embrasures on different positions for defense.
During the Battle of Westerplatte the barracks played an important role in holding out against overwhelming odds. Although the building suffered a lot of damage during the fighting, at the end of the battle it’s condition was still far better than it is at present.
Most of the damage you see today has actually been the work of the Soviet Army, when they flattened the city during their attacks in 1945.
You can visit the ruins of Guardhouse No. 6 and The New Barracks on Westerplatte in the harbor of Gdansk, Poland.