A Historic Date – TUESDAY, 19th Septemeber, 1939
It is 19 SEPTEMBER, 1939, and Forster appears at his office window in anticipation of the big event. Both the Artushof and the Danzig NSDAP headquarters building (on its right) are decorated for Hitler’s visit on that day. (Left Photo from propaganda post card sent in by Malcolm Stewart.)
would somehow rescue the surrounded city. At the last moment, Forster left his capital by submarine. In his final broadcast, he exhorted Danzig’s defenders to hold on until the end: “Danzig remains German,.”the banners screamed.
On 30 March, the city was taken by the Russians, and the Polish flag was hoisted. According to the Red army high command, 10,000 German soldiers were taken prisoner; 39,000 defenders were dead. Prolonged air and artillery bombardment had reduced the Hanseatic queen of the Baltic to a pile of rubble, brooded over by the gaunt skeleton of the Marienkirche. The remaining civilian population shared the usual lot of Germans who fell into Russian hands.
Forster escaped to western Germany. He was interned and then extradited to Poland. He stood trial in 1948 and was executed. His old rival, Arthur Greiser, was captured in his Gaucapital of Poznan when it fell in 1945 and was executed, after his trial in 1946. A recent study notes that Greiser was convicted of “waging aggressive war,” among other things, and to him goes the dubious honor of being the first person ever convicted oii such a charge.” (Photo on right from Blaine Taylor’s book, “Mercedes-Benz Parade and Staff Cars of the Third Reich.”)
Blaine reminds us of one of Hitler’s idiosyncrasies, about his mania for a blanket of secrec y over any travel plans, time schedules, or possible itinerary. Otto Dietrich (1897-1952), who developed strong propaganda theories that caught Hitler’s attention, so that he rose to the top level of Nazi politics, said that, for security reasons, Hitler never announced beforehand, time of departure from Berchtesgaden, even in peace time. It always took place suddenly, a wild flurry of activity, and things seemed to suddenly break loose, for no more than two hours. Hitler was a serious student of history, maybe borrowing this strateciy from Napoleon, who once missed being bombed in his coach by only a minute or so. All Hitler’s jourieys were kept rigidly secret, and it was forbidden to announce them in advance. Ultimately. this fear would translate itself into Imitat ions for both chauffers and cars (as confirmed by Peter Hoffman in “Hitler’s Personal Security.”
PARTIAL TRANSLATION of LETTER ON PAGE 15
Mr. Reichsleader Philipp Bouhler
Dear Party Member Bouhler!
On the occasion of the reunification between Danzig and the empire, the Fuhrer, at my request, awarded a golden badge of honor from the NSDAP (National Socialist German Worker’s Party) to the party members mentioned in the attached List. The original list which is in my possesion, was signed by the Fuhrer.
I would be grateful if you could engrave “19. September 1939” on these fifteen badges of honor. The next time when I come to Berlin I will pick up the badges and take them back with me to Danzig. The entry of the Fuhrer into Danzig was a fantastic occasion. He was amazed by the beauty of Danzig. Our new house also appealed to him. We are all happy that the Fuhrer was here to visit with us...
Danzig Report Nr. 159 - 1st Quarter 2013, Page 14.
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