Danzig Nazi HQ

In late May 1933, the Nazis won a crushing election victory in the free city of Danzig (now Gdansk). The supreme Nazi leader of the Danzig, Albert Forster, thus obtained a power base from which he could infiltrate the rule of the free city. Danzig had been a free city since 1920, with a form of shared rule between Germany and Poland under the auspices of the League of Nations. The city remained a strong Nazi stronghold and a catalyst for the outbreak of the Second World War in September, 1939.

Hitler demanded that Danzig and the corridor that cut Germany off from East Prussia be returned to the German empire. Hitler had in October 1930 appointed Forster as Gauleiter (highest Nazi political leader) in the free city of Danzig. As Gauleiter, Forster was only responsible to Hitler, which gave him a great influence and political advantage over potential competitors, including Arthur Greiser who was outmaneuvered in the fall 1939. Greiser later became Gauleiter in Wartheland.

In October 1939, the free city was dissolved and became part of the district of Danzig-Western Prussia. The district was incorporated into the German empire and Hitler appointed Forster as Governor and Gauleiter. Forster was thus Hitler’s extended arm with the task of ensuring that Nazi politics and ideology were introduced with every means required. Forster became directly responsible for the crimes the Nazis committed in the district between 1939 and 1945. For instance, the massacres carried out on Polish citizens and the deportations of both jews and poles to other areas or camps.

Within the district was also Stutthof concentration camp where about 100,000 people were imprisoned between 1939 and 1945. Although the camp was under SS control and Forster thus had no direct responsibility over the camp, as Gauleiter he was involved in its establishment. Forster’s office was located in a large fashionable villa just outside the city center. At the end of the war Forster fled westward but was captured by the English. He was extradited to Poland, where he was tried and sentenced to death. He was hanged at the Mokotow prison in Warsaw in 1952.

Current status: Partly preserved/demolished (2021).

Location: 54°21' 51.00" N 18°38' 06.58" E

Get there: Car.

My comment:

When I visited the villa in 2021 it was dilapidated, empty and surrounded by a high fence to keep people out. It’s future is uncertain.

Follow up in books: Miller, Michael D: Gauleiter: The Regional Leaders of the Nazi Party and their Deputies, 1925-1945 (2012).