>> THE POLISH POST IN THE FREE CITY OF GDAŃSK 1920 - 1939
The "Free City of Danzig" (as it was then called) owed its existence to the fact that US President Thomas Woodrow Wilson had laid down as a fundamental aim that the new Polish Republic, after WW1, should have "free and secure access to the sea", but English Prime Minister Lloyd George objected on the grounds that incorporating Danzig into Poland would conflict with another important principle of Wilson's: that of national self-determination — due to the then overwhelming majority of German inhabitants. As a compromise, therefore, Danzig and its surrounding area was made a "Free City" under the supervision of the League of Nations. Poland was indeed granted access to the sea through the so-called "Corridor", but without an appropriate harbour of her own there. Poland was, therefore, given several special rights in the Free City. Various agreements were made between Poland and the Free City to lay down the exact extent of those rights, one of which was to establish in the harbour area a Polish postal service, alongside that of the Free City. In January 1920 a Polish Postal and Telegraphic Management Office was opened in Gdańsk, as was the ancient Polish name for the city.
Over a period of time three Polish Post Offices were opened: one in the harbour handling overseas mail, the second at the main railway station transferring mail to and from Poland and the third office in the city of Gdańsk, which was open for the public. In addition, two Polish Telegraph Offices were brought into operation.
The exhibit shows the specific activities of each of the Polish Post and Telegraph Offices which operated in the Free City from 1920 until the German attack on the main Polish Post Office and the ammunition depot on Westerplatte on 1 September 1939 on the outbreak of World War II.
2 The Postał and Telegraphic Management Office
2.1 The Postal and Telegraphic Management Office
2.2 The Office for Undeliverable Mail
3 The Harbour Post Office
3.1 The exchange of mail with overseas countries
3.2 The transit of mail from other countries
3.3 Official mail
4 The Polish Hughes Telegraph Station
5 The Railway Station Post Office
5.1 The transport of mailbags from, to and via Gdańsk
5.2 Gdańsk Railway Travelling Post Offices (TPOs)
5.3 The handling of normal mail
6 Heveliusplatz: the main Post Office
6.1 Domestic mail
6.1.1 The use of postage stamps, postal stationery, prepaid meter stamps and cash payment marks
6.1.2 Normal mail & Airmail
6.1.3 Official mail
6.2 Foreign mail
6.3 Mail within the Free City
7 Heveliusplatz: the Telegraph Office
Poczta Polska w W.M. Gdańsku (Warszawa 1931)
Aleksander Śnieżko: Poczta Polska w Wolnym Mieście Gdańsku (Wrocław 1964)
Research for own publications in documents from:
Archiwum Państwowe w Gdańsku
Archiwum Akt Nowych w Warszawie
Politisches Archiv des Austwktigen Amts Bonn
The Polish Post in the Free City of Gdańsk 1920 - 1939, Page 2b.
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