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Gallery » Danzig Report 82 - January, February, March 1994 » The Affair of the Polish Letterboxes

 

The same day, the Danzig Senate received a note from the Polish commissioner general, dated January 3, 1925, announcing the extension of the Polish postal services. That brought about an uproat.. an outburst of indignation from the citizens of Danzig and the next night the Polish eagle on the boxes.., for the moment a symbol of the dreaded polonization of the city... was daubed in red, white and black paint.., the old German imperial colors!!!

The fur began to fly,.. The Danzig Senate contested Poland’s right to expand its postal services, and the Polish Commissioner General demanded compensation and apologies for defacement of state property. He also notified the Senate that Poland reserved the right to take measures for the protection of Polish property if the Danzig police were unable to do the job. The Senate, which saw the vandalism as no more than minor damage to property, expressed its regrets and appealed to the public to keep the peace... Tempers were not calmed. The Polish press denounced the outrageous insult to Poland and attacked Danzig in no uncertain terms.

Diplomatic notes, fiery rhetoric, threats of reprisals of all sorts, economic, military and parliament ary, flew in all directions. There were appeals to the High Commissioner who was appointed by the League of Nations to help solve such problems. He decided that a Polish postal service outside the port was not proper and that the letterboxes would have to be removed. The Polish government appealed to the League in Geneva,

The League of Nations, through its appropriate council, overruled its high council for the only time in its history. It then asked the Permanent Court of International Justice at The Hague for an advisory opinion. The court decided that the postal services were to be confined to the port area... but a commission of experts who had been sent to Danzig to determine the limits of the port for the purposes of the postal service, decided that “the portis held to be that large area of Danzig in which all establishments having anything to do with sea tranportation and trade were concentrated”. Danzig’s viewpoint, that the port should be strictly the harbor area, was overruled. Poland had won!

 

Danzig Report Vol. 1 - Nr. 82 - January - February - March - 1994, Page 16.


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