NOTES ON THE POLISH POST OFFICE IN GDANSK
We have been derelict in our duty to present a balanced -view of-Danzig philately. The following is the first article that we have published on the Polish subject. Thanks to William Thorne of West Vancouver, Canada, for • permission to reprint his article that first appeared in the Journal of the Polish Philatelic Society of Canada in July 1977. More articles on the subject are requested for publication in subsequent Reports.)
In this report the Polish spelling “GDANSK” is mainly used, but it must be remembered that the English (and German) spelling “DANZIG” is more common in all the literature from British, American or Canadian sources. These ‘notes attempt to present facts of which many collectors may not be cognizant, rather than information readily available in catalogs or textbooks.
Most collectors when thinking about the Polish Post Office in Gdansk would simply check Scott’s catalog in the section “Polish Post Offices Abroad. Offices in Danzig”, which lists the overprinted and definitive issues from 1925 to 1939 (numbers 1K1-1K36). These issues, however, represent but a small, incomplete, and somewhat misleading part of the story of the Polish Post Office in Gdansk. Actually, there is a Polish Post Office functioning in the city from 1920, although it is only for sorting purposes and is not open to the public. In 1925, a Polish post Office in Gdansk open to the public starts operation.
1654, not 1925, should be our starting date in any discussion about the Polish Post Office in Gdansk. In this year, a Royal Polish Post Office is founded by charter from Polish king Jan Kasimir. Throughout its existence of 139 years, problems arose from mail to and from “East” or “West” Prussia and to “Prussia” proper.
In 1700, Poland and Prussia jointly choose the postmaster at Gdansk. Later, the Prussian king sells this right and others to the Polish crown. Records show that in 1765 a Polish Postmaster is in charge of the Gdansk Post Office.
By the first Partition of Poland, 1772, Prussia seizes Pomerania (the area bordering the seacoast west of Gdansk) but not Gdansk itself. However, the Prussian authorities open their own post office at Stolzenberg, a suburb of Gdansk. Much mail and lucrative revenue is thus drained from the Polish Post Office which, however, continues on.
In 1793 comes the second Partition of Poland. This time, the Polish king is too weak to prevent the Prussian annexation of Gdansk. In April, the Mayor and Council submit
Danzig Report Nr. 25 - Winter - 1979, Page 5.
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