Gdansk

Skagerrakstein Monument

  ul. Klonowicza, Gdańsk ,   Wrzeszcz         25 Apr 2019
Hidden away in the depths of the Wrzeszcz district is this remarkable monument which played an interesting role in history yet today stands forlornly looking like nothing more than an abandoned stone. Unveiled on June 25, 1939, the stone is a memorial to German sailors who lost their lives in the Battle of Jutland in 1916. It stood on what was once Skagerrak Square (Skagerrak is the German name for the battle) named to celebrate what the Germans considered had been a victory for their navy. On August 26, 1939 a ceremony was held to remember the sailors who lost their lives aboard the SMS Magdeburg which was sunk at the very start of WWI and whose captured code books proved key to the British navy at Jutland. The ceremony was attended by an official Nazi delegation who had arrived aboard the German WWI warship Schleswig Holstein to mark the anniversary of the sinking. The aged Schleswig Holstein, permitted to sail into the demilitarised Free City of Danzig on the pretext of this ceremonial visit, was now docked opposite the Polish garrison on Westerplatte and its upgraded guns were in place to fire the opening salvoes of World War II less than a week later. Today the stone, bereft of its accompanying anchors and its memorial plaque, has been moved from where it stood in the grounds of a children’s nursery into the adjacent park on what was once called Skagerrak Square - now named after Free City Bishop Edmund O’Rourke.

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