advertisement

World War II began here. On September 1, 1939, the German gunboat Schleswig-Holstein first fired on a small garrison of about 180 Polish troops on the wind-swept Westerplatte Peninsula. The Poles lead by Major Henryk Sucharski, though severely outnumbered, held out valiantly, repelling 3,000 German soldiers for 7 days. The badly damaged guardhouse and barracks are left pretty much as they were after the battle. The Guard House No. 1 Museum (Wartownia Nr. 1) outlines the events of those first few days of the war and includes a model of Schleswig-Holstein and photos of the capitulation. In the southwest of the peninsula, the 23m (75-ft.) Statue to the Defenders of Westerplatte is the focal point for World War II commemoration ceremonies.