Westerplatte Defenders Monument
Gdansk, Poland

The Westerplatte Defenders Monument in Gdansk, Poland. Erected at the site where a Polish garrison held off 3,500 German soldiers in the opening days of the Second World War. On September 1, 1939 the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein was anchored at the Free City of Danzig (now Gdansk), after the Luftwaffe had crossed the Polish frontier the battleship opened fire on the garrison and thousands of German troops poured out of the battleship, the Second World War had begun.

After shelling the garrison with 11" (280mm) shells and several frontal attacks, which the 180 man garrison repelled, the Germans continued to shell the Westerplatte with the battleship's guns, field artillery and air attacks, but the garrison held out. The garrison continued to fight until Sept. 7 and after using up their ammunition and supplies, Major Henryk Sucharski finally surrendered the garrison.

Overview of the Westerplatte Defenders Monument, this photo was taken from the spot where Schleswig-Holstein was moored when she fired the opening salvos of the war.

Close-up of the Westerplatte Defenders Monument.

Close-up of the top of the monument.

Close-up of the lower half of the monument.

Page published Sept. 21, 2010