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Gallery » Danzig Report 91 - April, May, June 1996 » How Gotenhafen Received Its Name


By early 1933, Gdynia surpassed Danzig in total harbor freight turnover. I)anzigers began to argue that if their free city had been created under the Treaty of Versailles to assure Poland’s access to the sea, and if this access were now safely afforded by Gdynia, then Danzig ought to return to Germany. This was the situation the National Socialist Party inherited when they became rulers of the Free City on June 20, 1933.

With Nazi Party rule in Danzig, many Polish import-export firms made their move to Gdynia. Whereas total tonnage passing through Gdynia was rising constantly, Danzig’s share of Poland’s sea-going trade was dropping.7 However, it was only on September 1, 1939. that the competition between the city with a thousand-year shipping history and the upstart just down the coast came to an end.

After the conquest of Poland, Adolf Hitler announced on October 8, 1939, the creation of the Reichsgau Danzig - West Prussia. The greater part of the Reichsgau. including the city of Gdynia, was formed by the Polish province of Pomorze. the northern segment of the Polish Corridor. The port of Gdynia was now jointly administered with Danzig’s harbor. although the reorganization had little practical significance during a war that brought commerc ial shipping virtually to a standstill.8

How Gotenhafen Received Its Name
Despite little real evidence to support the assertion, Adolf Hitler believed that Gdingen (Gdynia) had been an ancient hafen (haven) of the Goten (Goths). On September 19, 1939. probably as a result of a direct command by Hitler, Gdingen officially became known as Gotenhafen. It is reported that Hitler was shown a photograph by Gauleiter Albert Forster on that day at Gau headquarters in Danzig of an allegedly Germanic face on an urn discovered near Gdingen.

During Hitler’s visit to Gotenhafen on September 21st. the new name of the city was put on public display. The photograph at Figitre 4 is of the civil administration building and was taken on September 2 1st.9


Danzig Report Vol. 1 - Nr. 91 - April - May - June - 1996,  Page 5.

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