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Founded in 997. The oldest harbour in Poland. 1466 capital of the Pomeranian Voivodeship (East Pomerania, called Pommerellen).

Gdańsk  (German: Danzig; Kashubian: Gduńsk) is one of the oldest cities in Poland. Founded by the Polish ruler Mieszko I in the 10th century, the city was for a long time part of Piast state either directly or as a fief. In 1308 the city became part of the Monastic State of the Teutonic Knights until 1454. Thereafter it became part of Poland again, although with increasing autonomy. A vital naval city for Polishd grain trade it attracted people from all over the European continent.

In 1793, when Poland was partitioned for the second time, the previously fairly autonomous city of Danzig came to Prussia, but became a “Free City” again through the Peace of Tilsit in 1807. and subsequently lost its importance as a trading port. Briefly becoming a free city during Napoleonic wars, it was again Prussian after Napoleon's defeat, and later became part of the newly created German Empire. Prussia got the city back in 1814.

After the First World War 1914-18 the Free City of Danzig was created, and was separated from the German Empire and in 1920 the League of Nations declared it a Free City again, which remained until it was incorporated into the Empire in 1939.

The German attack on the Polish military depot at Westerplatte marks the start of World War II and the city was annexed by Nazi Germany in 1939. Local Jews were systematically murdered in the Holocaust while Poles and Kashubians also faced persecution. After World War II the city became part of Poland and the city's German inhabitants, that had constituted the majority of the city's mixed population before the war, either fled or were expelled to Germany. Voivodeship capital since 1945 During post-1945 era, the city was rebuilt from war damage, and vast shipyards were constructed.


Coat of arms: originally in red, two silver crosses moline one above the other. When the city became the center of outrage against the Teutonic Order in 1454, it received the privilege of adding a golden crown to the coat of arms from Kazimir, King of Poland. So the form of the coat of arms was final.



1299 ca. Great Seal: Cog ensigned of two crosses moline

L.: sigillum burgensium in dantsike.


1299 0 ca. Secret seal cog ensigned of two crosses moline. L.: secretum civitatis dantzike.


1300 ca. Coin with Cog ensigned as before

L.: Monet civita dan.


Original seal, 1299

Æ 85 mm



1414    Banner: Red, two crosses moline:

L.: Banderium comendarie et civitatis Gdanensis quod ducebat ex propriis et mercenariis gentibus magister civium Gdanensis . (&c) Banderia Prutenorum fol 34 v°.


1454 Adding of the crown

When the city became the center of outrage against the Teutonic Order in 1454, it received the privilege of adding a golden crown to the coat of arms from Kazimir, King of Poland. So the shape of the coat of arms was final

1454+ Eight coins minted during the rule of King Kasimir IV (1447-’92):. R°: two crosses patée:Argent and a crown Or;   V°: Gules, an eagle Argent (Poland)


St. Mary’s Gate, Danzig first mentioned 1484


Danzig owes the crown to the favor of King Casimir IV from 1454 In addition the two lions, which in heraldry embody strength and royal power

Danzig, Seal  1534-1616

From: Zeitschrift des Westpreussischen Geschichtvereins, P 111, Taf. III, 4 [1]

Arms: Danzig

Supporters: Two lions guardant




1547 Gold ducat

Lions for supporters


1550 ca. Seal of the viscount of Danzig

Arms: 1|2 Poleand and Danzig.

Caption.: sigillvm bvrgravius regiae civitatis gedanensis (Gumowski n° 98).


1581 Martin Schrot


1587 + Medal of King Sigismund III Wasa (1587-1632). On the reverse the achievement supported by two lions guardant and crested of a seraphine.

Caption: EX AVRO SOLIDO REGIA CIVITATIS GEDANENSIS F: F:. (Ashmole, E. Mdclxxii/1971)



Achievement of Lithuania

On the vault of a church, probably from the last years of the rule of Sigismund II Augustus 1548-1572



Arms: Gules, a Vytis proper, on his shield the arms of Danzig (ancient) [2]

Supporters: Two naked men armed with clubs


From: Dantiscanorum insignia, by Jan Hasentödter, 1569


1602 -1605 The Armoury, Tkacka str., Gdańsk



The coat of arms of Gdánsk in front of the entrance to the Artus Court

 (17th cent)



a crest added


Arms: Danzig

Crest: A sword per pale and  a palm-leaf and a branch of olive in saltire  surrounded by a crown of laurel

Supporters: Two lions guardant


1687 Colored version


The coat of arms and crest of Gdánsk above the entrance to the Main Town Hall 1768


Freie Stadt Danzig / République de Dantzig



The Free City of Danzig sometimes referred to as the Republic of Danzig (République de Dantzig), was established by Napoleon on 9 September 1807, during the time of the Napoleonic Wars following the capture of the city in the siege of Danzig in May. After the Congress of Vienna of 1814–1815, Danzig was re-incorporated into the Kingdom of Prussia.


Arms of François Joseph Lefevre, (1755-1820). Duke of Danzig 1807


Party: 1, Azure, to the right hand armed Argent, holding a sword upright of the same, garnished Or; 2, Or, a fess Vert, charged with two married couples Argent, accompanied in chief of a flight Sable and in base of a cross pattée of the same;  the chief of the Dukes of the Empire.


Napoleon made him a Marshal of the Empire in 1804. Lefebvre commanded a division of the Old Guard in the German campaign of 1805. At the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt, on 14 October 1806, Lefebvre commanded the infantry of the Imperial Guard. In command of the X Corps he besieged and took Danzig in 1807, which won him the title of Duc de Danzig (Duke of Danzig).

In 1808 Lefebvre took part in the Peninsula War. In 1809 he commanded the Bavarian Army at the battles of Eckmühl and Wagram. Defeated by the Tyrolean patriot Andreas Hofer in the same year, he was replaced. He commanded the Old Guard in the French invasion of Russia, Battle of Borodino (1812), and in the German (1813) and French campaigns (1814) of the War of the Sixth Coalition.

He voted for the Emperor's deposition at the Senate and during the First Restoration he was made Peer of France by Louis XVIII (4 June 1814), but rallied to Napoleon during the Hundred Days. (Wikipedia)


Stadt Danzig



Achievement 1893

The sword removed, a motto added: Neither rashly nor timidly'


Prussian eagle



Prussian Eagle




Town Hall, 1913


Freie Stadt Danzig



The Free City was founded by the victorious powers of the First World War in protest of a large part of the population of Danzig, as this measure was not preceded by a referendum. Through the League of Nations and the Versailles Treaty (VV) of 1920, Danzig (Article 100-108 Section XI, Part III VV) were removed from the German state association and Poland restored as a sovereign state (cf. Republic of Danzig 1807-1814)





Free City Seal 1920-1939

Arms: Danzig

Supporters: Two lions



Banner 1920-1939





Reichsgau Danzig-Westpreußen was created on 8 October 1939 from annexed territory of the Free City of Danzig, the Greater Pomeranian Voivodship (Polish Corridor), and the Regierungsbezirk West Prussia or Gau East Prussia.

Nr. 4

Gau: Danzig-Westpreußen, bis 1939 Gau Danzig

Verwaltungssitz: Danzig

Fläche(km²): 26.057

Einwohner(1941): 2.287.394

Gauleiter (exkl. Stellvertreter): Hans Albert Hohnfeldt von 1926 bis 1928, danach von 1928 bis

1930 Maas, danach ab 15. Oktober 1930 Albert Forster



SS Heimwehr "Danzig”,  Flag


The SS Heimwehr "Danzig" also known as Heimwehr Danzig (Danzig Home Defense), was officially established on 20 June 1939, when the Danzig senate under Albert Forster decided to set up its own armed force; a cadre of this new unit primarily formed the Danzig SS Wachsturmbann "Eimann".

It fought with the German Army against the Polish Army during the invasion of Poland, and some of its members committed a massacre of Polish civilians. After this it became part of the 3rd SS Totenkopf Division and ceased to exist as an independent unit



1945- present


City of Danzig Official Seal

Æ 62 mm




The Free City of Danzig Police (Polizei der Freien Stadt Danzig) or Schutzpolizei, as it was known locally, was a state constabulary and the official law enforcement agency within the Free City of Danzig, primarily from 1921 to 1939.

The League of Nations allowed for the Free City of Danzig to maintain a regular police force of several hundred men, which was bolstered by a poorly trained and ill-equipped citizens' militia with approximately 3,000 members. The constabulary reported to the Danzig Senate's Department of Internal Affairs


With the creation of the Free City in the aftermath of World War I a security police force was created on 19 August 1919. On 9 April 1920, a military style marching band, the Musikkorps, was formed. Led by composer Ernst Stieberitz, the police band became well known in the city and abroad. In 1921, Danzig's government reformed the entire institution and established the Schutzpolizei, or protection police.

Helmut Froböss became President of the Police (i. e. Chief) on 1 April 1921. He served in this capacity until the German annexation of the city. The police initially operated from 12 precincts and 7 registration points. In 1926 the number of precincts was reduced to 7. After the Nazi takeover of the Senate, the police were increasingly used to suppress free speech and political dissent. In 1933, Froböss ordered the left-wing newspapers Danziger Volksstimme and Danziger Landeszeitung to suspend publications for 2 months and 8 days respectively.[

By 1939, Polish-German relations had worsened and war seemed a likely possibility. The police began making plans to seize Polish installations within the city, in the event of conflict. Ultimately the Danzig police participated in the September Campaign, fighting alongside the local SS and the German Army at the city's Polish post office and at Westerplatte.


Helmet badge: Achievement with motto

NEC TEMERE NEC TIMIDE (Neither rashly nor timidly)


Smaller seal (after 1923)


Police and customs pennant


Helmet with arms

The Rarest Helmets of WWII

After Poland’s surrender, Danzig was once again reincorporated into the German Empire The Danzig Police were no longer needed as a Paramilitary organization, and returned to their regular police duties. The unique Totenkopf helmets rarely appear in photos taken after the surrender of Poland. It may be that with the victory against Poland and their combat role concluded, steel helmets were seen as unnecessary.

Whatever happened to them, these Danzig helmets oday are almost totally absent from the collector market. Most of those that are sold today are clever forgeries. Original examples do exist though. [3]


Belt Buckle with arms


Danzig police officers in uniforms with police hat and shako



Freie Stadt Danzig police shako

Coll. War Museum Danzig



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© Hubert de Vries 2021-03-15





[1] https://dlibra.bibliotekaelblaska.pl/Content/49812/Heft47.pdf

[2] The crown was added by king Kasimir in 1454

[3] https://alexanderandsonsrestorations.com/helmet-grinning-skull-short-history-danzig-police-helmet/

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