Place:Gdynia, Pomorze, Poland

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NameGdynia
TypeCity
Coordinates54.517°N 18.5°E
Located inPomorze, Poland     (500 - )
Also located inGdańsk, Poland    
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Gdynia (1939-1945 Gotenhafen; ) is a city in the Pomeranian Voivodeship of Poland and a seaport of Gdańsk Bay on the south coast of the Baltic Sea. Located in Kashubia in Eastern Pomerania, Gdynia has a population of 246,232 making it the twelfth-largest city in Poland and the second-largest in the voivodeship after Gdańsk. It is part of a conurbation with the spa town of Sopot, the city of Gdańsk and suburban communities, which together form a metropolitan area called the Tricity (Trójmiasto), with a population of over a million people.

For centuries, Gdynia remained a small farming and fishing village on the Baltic coast. At the beginning of the 20th-century Gdynia became a seaside resort town and experienced an inflow of tourists. This triggered an increase in local population. After Poland regained its independence in 1918, a decision was made to construct a Polish seaport in Gdynia, between the Free City of Danzig (a semi-autonomous city-state under joint League of Nations and Polish administration) and German Pomerania, making Gdynia the primary economic hub of the Polish Corridor. It was then that the town was given a more cosmopolitan character with modernism being the dominant architectural style and emerged as a city in 1926.

The rapid development of Gdynia was interrupted by the outbreak of World War II. The German troops refrained from deliberate bombing. The newly built port and shipyard were completely destroyed during the war. The population of the city suffered much heavier losses as most of the inhabitants were evicted and expelled. The locals were either displaced to other regions of occupied Poland or sent to Nazi concentration camps throughout Europe. After the war, Gdynia was settled with the former inhabitants of Warsaw and lost cities such as Lviv and Vilnius in the Eastern Borderlands. The city was gradually regenerating itself with its shipyard being rebuilt and expanded. In December 1970 the shipyard workers protest against the increase of prices was bloodily repressed. This greatly contributed to the rise of the Solidarity movement in Gdańsk.

Today the port of Gdynia is a regular stopover on the itinerary of luxurious passenger ships and a new ferry terminal with a civil airport are under realisation. The city won numerous awards in relation to safety, infrastructure, quality of life and a rich variety of tourist attractions. In 2013 Gdynia was ranked as Poland's best city to live in and topped the rankings in the overarching category of general quality of life. Gdynia is also highly noted for its access to education. There are prestigious universities such as the Polish Naval Academy nearby.

Gdynia hosts the Gdynia Film Festival, the main Polish film festival, and was the venue for the International Random Film Festival in 2014.

Contents

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

The area of the later city of Gdynia shared its history with Pomerelia (Eastern Pomerania); in prehistoric times it was the center of Oksywie culture; it was later populated by Slavs with some Baltic Prussian influences.

  • Late 10th century: Pomerelia was united with Poland.
  • During the reign of Mieszko II Pomerelia seceded from Poland and became independent.
  • 1116/1121: Bolesław III reunited Pomerelia with Poland.
  • 1209: First mention of Oxhöft (now known as Oksywie, which is now a part of Gdynia).
  • 1227: Pomerelia again became an independent Duchy.
  • 1253: First known mention of the name "Gdynia", as a Pomeranian (Kashubian) fishing village. The first church on this part of the Baltic Sea coast was built there.
  • 1294: Pomerelia was inherited by the future Polish king Przemysł II, and remained as part of Poland until –
  • 1309–1310; The Teutonic Order conquered Pomerelia and added it to Prussia.
  • 1380: The owner of the village which became Gdynia, Peter from Rusocin, gave the village to the Cistercian Order.
  • 1382: Gdynia became property of the Cistercian abbey in Oliva, now Oliwa.
  • 1454: Thirteen Years' War started.
  • 1466: Thirteen Years' War ended. Pomerelia became part of Royal Prussia, a newly established province of the Kingdom of Poland, and later of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth.
  • 1772: In the First Partition of Poland, Royal Prussia (including Gdynia) was annexed into the Kingdom of Prussia. Gdynia became known in German as Gdingen, and was expropriated from the Cistercian Order.
  • 1789: There were only 21 houses in Gdynia. Around that time Gdynia (Gdingen) was so small that it was not marked on many maps of the period: it was about halfway from Oxhöft to Kleine Katz.
  • 1870:
    • The Kingdom of Prussia became part of the German Empire.
    • The village of Gdingen had some 1,200 inhabitants. At the time it was not a poor fishing village as it is sometimes described; it had become a popular tourist spot with several guest houses, restaurants, cafés, several brick houses and a small harbour with a pier for small trading ships. The first Kashubian mayor of Gdingen was Jan Radtke. Map of Danzig and around in 1899, showing Gdingen
  • 1905: Gdingen shown on a big map, on the coast between Oxhöft and Zoppot.
  • 1919: Treaty of Versailles and the start of the dismemberment of eastern Germany.
  • 1920: Gdingen (now named Gdynia), along with other parts of former West Prussia, became a part of the new Republic of Poland; simultaneously, the city of Danzig and surrounding area was declared a free city and put under the League of Nations, though Poland was given economic liberties and requisitioned for matters of foreign representation.

Construction of the seaport

The decision to build a major seaport at Gdynia village was made by the Polish government in winter 1920, in the midst of the Polish–Soviet War (1919–1920). The authorities and seaport workers of the Free City of Danzig felt Poland's economic rights in the city were being misappropriated to help fight the war. German dockworkers went on strike, refusing to unload shipments of military supplies sent from the West to aid the Polish army,[1] and Poland realized the need for a port city it was in complete control of, economically and politically.

Construction of Gdynia seaport started in 1921[1] but, because of financial difficulties, it was conducted slowly and with interruptions. It was accelerated after the Sejm (Polish parliament) passed the Gdynia Seaport Construction Act on 23 September 1922. By 1923 a 550-metre pier, of a wooden tide breaker, and a small harbour had been constructed. Ceremonial inauguration of Gdynia as a temporary military port and fishers' shelter took place on 23 April 1923. The first major seagoing ship arrived on 13 August 1923.


To speed up the construction works, the Polish government in November 1924 signed a contract with the French-Polish Consortium for Gdynia Seaport Construction. By the end of 1925, they had built a small seven-metre-deep harbour, the south pier, part of the north pier, a railway, and had ordered the trans-shipment equipment. The works were going more slowly than expected, however. They accelerated only after May 1926, because of an increase in Polish exports by sea, economic prosperity, the outbreak of the German–Polish trade war which reverted most Polish international trade to sea routes, and thanks to the personal engagement of Eugeniusz Kwiatkowski, Polish Minister of Industry and Trade (also responsible for construction of Centralny Okręg Przemysłowy). By the end of 1930 docks, piers, breakwaters, and many auxiliary and industrial installations were constructed (such as depots, trans-shipment equipment, and a rice processing factory) or started (such as a large cold store).

Trans-shipments rose from 10,000 tons (1924) to 2,923,000 tons (1929). At this time Gdynia was the only transit and special seaport designed for coal exports.

In the years 1931–1939 Gdynia harbour was further extended to become a universal seaport. In 1938 Gdynia was the largest and most modern seaport on the Baltic Sea, as well as the tenth biggest in Europe. The trans-shipments rose to 8.7 million tons, which was 46% of Polish foreign trade. In 1938 the Gdynia shipyard started to build its first full-sea ship, the Olza.

Construction of the city

The city was constructed later than the seaport. In 1925 a special committee was inaugurated to build the city; city expansion plans were designed and city rights were granted in 1926, and tax privileges were granted for investors in 1927. The city started to grow significantly after 1928.

A new railway station and the Post Office were completed. The State railways extended their lines, built bridges and also constructed a group of houses for their employees. Within a few years houses were built along some of road leading northward from the Free City of Danzig to Gdynia and beyond. Public institutions and private employers helped their staffs to build houses.
In 1933 a plan of development providing for a population of 250,000 was worked out by a special commission appointed by a government committee, in collaboration with the municipal authorities. By 1939 the population had grown to over 120,000.

Gdynia during World War II (1939–1945)

The city and seaport were occupied in September 1939 by German troops and renamed Gotenhafen after the Goths, an ancient Germanic tribe, who had lived in the area. Some 50,000 Polish citizens, who after 1920 had been brought into the area by the Polish government after the decision to enlarge the harbour was made, were expelled to the General Government. Kashubians who were suspected to support the Polish cause, particularly those with higher education, were arrested and executed. The main place of execution was Piaśnica (Groß Plaßnitz), where about 12,000 were executed. The German gauleiter Albert Forster considered Kashubians of "low value" and did not support any attempts to create a Kashubian nationality. Some Kashubians organized anti-Nazi resistance groups, "Gryf Kaszubski" (later "Gryf Pomorski"), and the exiled "Zwiazek Pomorski" in Great Britain.

The harbour was transformed into a German naval base. The shipyard was expanded in 1940 and became a branch of the Kiel shipyard (Deutsche Werke Kiel A.G.). Gotenhafen became an important base, due to its being relatively distant from the war theater, and many German large ships—battleships and heavy cruisers—were anchored there. During 1942, Dr Joseph Goebbels authorized relocation of to Gotenhafen Harbour as a stand-in for during filming of the German-produced movie Titanic, directed by Herbert Selpin.

The city was also the location for the Nazi concentration camp Gotenhafen, a subcamp of the Stutthof concentration camp near Gdańsk.

The seaport and the shipyard both witnessed several air raids by the Allies from 1943 onwards, but suffered little damage. Gotenhafen was used during winter 1944–45 to evacuate German troops and refugees trapped by the Red Army. Some of the ships were hit by torpedoes from Soviet submarines in the Baltic Sea on the route west. The ship sank, taking about 9,400 people with her – the worst loss of life in a single sinking in maritime history. The seaport area was largely destroyed by withdrawing German troops and millions of encircled refugees in 1945 being bombarded by the Soviet military (90% of the buildings and equipment were destroyed) and the harbour entrance was blocked by the German battleship that had been brought to Gotenhafen for major repairs.

After World War II

On March 28, 1945, Gotenhafen was captured by the Soviets and assigned to Polish Gdańsk Voivodeship, who again renamed it Gdynia.[2]

In the Polish 1970 protests, worker demonstrations took place at Gdynia Shipyard. Workers were fired upon by the police. The fallen (e.g. Brunon Drywa) became symbolized by a fictitious worker Janek Wiśniewski, commemorated in a song by Mieczysław Cholewa, Pieśń o Janku z Gdyni. One of Gdynia's important streets is named after Janek Wiśniewski. The same person was portrayed by Andrzej Wajda in his movie Man of Iron as Mateusz Birkut.

On December 4, 1999, a storm destroyed a huge crane in a shipyard, which was able to lift 900 tons.

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