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Gallery » Danzig Report 76 - July, August, September 1992 » A Thousand Years of History

A Thousand Years of History

Ernie Solit (Cape Cod Ernie) has sent another batch of Danzig material from his far-flung access to cards and related books. This excerpt is from an out-of-print University of Chicago publication by Hans L. Leonhardt entitled Nazi Conquest of Danzig. Even though it was from 1942, the narrative is surprisingly neutral in its approach. The introduction contains what Ernie calls the best concise history of Danzig I’ve seen yet, and we agree that it is important enough to print this again, fifty years later. Now you will be able to place Ladislaw the Short and Ulrich von Jungingen within the perspective of Danzig history. Here’s the introduction:

DANZIG is rich in mementos of a historic past. The visitor who goes into the narrow alleys of the old town steps, as it were, into another era — a colorful era of towers, turrets, and Medieval gables. The Marienkirche, a magnificent specimen of thirteenth—century Gothic, towers over the entire district and seems to protect the surrounding gabled houses with their Beischlge, or characteristic Danzig porches. Here and there the somber and proud limestone Gothic is relieved by brighter creations of the Renaissance and by rococo buildings in both of which Flemish and Italian influence can be recognized. There are few towns in present—day Europe where historic monuments have so well withstood the strain of time. “La belle vile seduisante!” as a French visitor recently described her.

But these old buildings are the relics, the silent witnesses, of the millenium-long struggle of German and Pole for the mouth of Vistula, the river which drains the great Polish plain and to which Danzig is the key. Thus the story of Danzig is inextricably bound up with the story of the struggle — sometimes national, sometimes religious, often economic — between German and Poje in the whole German—Polish borderland. Without emphasizing too greatly the national aspects of this historic rivalry, it is at least safe to say that it has often affected historians, both German and Polish. The following resume, therefore, will try to concern itself only with the undisputed facts.


Little light has been shed on the history of the Vistula Delta in the early centuries of the Christian period. The


Danzig Report  Nr. 76 - 3rd Quarter 1992, Page 4.

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