Anybody vaguely acquainted with history, or indeed heavy metal, will be familiar with the name of Danzig. What you may not know is that Danzig and Gdańsk are one and the same. The Polish name, Gdańsk is actually the real McCoy, meaning ‘town located on the Gdania river’. The name Danzig came into usage during the 1300s after the city fell under the influence of the Germanic Teutonic Knights. Danzig came firmly under German control in 1871 as part of the Prussian Empire and would remain so until the end of WWI.
After the war the majority of the towns inhabitants remained German, though the city fell under the jurisdiction of the League of Nations who baptized it ‘The Free City of Danzig’. This quasi state functioned until Hitler decided to seize it in the named of the fatherland, thus triggering WWII. The aftermath of the war saw much of the German population exiled westwards, and the city repopulated with Poles, themselves shifted west following the expansion of the Soviet Union. The city was renamed Gdańsk, and a program of heavy propaganda in the 1950s and 60s all but eradicated what remained of the towns German heritage. Today Gdańsk is a popular holiday spot with Germans keen to trace their roots, and you can still spot signs with German lettering in areas like Biskupia Góra.