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Monday, February 27, 2006

Shabbos in Gdansk

Flag of GdańskCoat of Arms of Gdańsk
(Flag)(Coat of Arms)

Gdańsk (pronounced Gdansk, Danzig in German, Kashubian: Gduńsk, Latin:Gedania; ) is the sixth-largest city in Poland, its principal seaport,and the capital of the Pomeranian Voivodship.
The city lies on the southern coast of the Gdansk bay (of the Baltic Sea), in a conurbation with the spa town of Sopot, the city of Gdynia and suburban communities, which together form a metropolitan area called the greater Gdańsk or the Tricity (Trójmiasto) with a population of over a million people. Gdańsk is, with a population of 460,524 (mid 2004), the largest city in the historical province of Eastern Pomerania.
we didn’t have a camera with us so there aren’t really pictures from this Shabbos but next time i go back we will take the pictures i guess.
well Thursday night ended up being a bit busy and before we knew it it was pass midnight it got to be like 1 am very fast and we realize if we go to sleep we wont wake up for the train at 5:50 so we decided were gonna stay up and take the 4:50 train. and that what we did, we got to the train station at 4:25. we got t Gdansk at 9:30. We got off at a station too early so we had to take a taxi when we go into the taxi the driver told us 35 Zloty well we told him that impossible and we are not paying that, we want to go by the meter so finally he turned it on. on the way he asked in his broken English if we are tourist or businessman so we said businessman well i guess either answer is wrong because tourist have money to spend or they don’t know how much it supposed to cost, businessman know the city but they have money. well we got to the hotel and the meter said 26 Zloty. so he said give me 35 zloty, we said no its 26 zloty, he’s like my friend business please give me my friends well were like this guy is not getting a cent more then 26 zloty he said ill call police were like go call them well at the end he gave up but he was very upset that he couldn’t rip us off.
Well Friday went by pretty quickly we went to the Sklep (grocery store) to buy some gum, Mentos beer seltzer water and Coke and Cherry Coke for shabbos. Friday night we didn’t have a minyan of Jews but we had a group of about 20 people men and woman like 5 student from a university that had a project on Judaism so they stayed for the meal. we Davened Marriv sang songs. Yisorel gave a speech and one of the women that knew English very well (since she is a book translator). one of our contacts in Gdansk Mr. Yoel we called him before shabbnos to come to services so he showed up. We went back to our hotel *** (which btw happened to be pretty nice 3 Star hotel) Friday morning services were at 10:00. i started Tehilim at 9:30. we had exactly 10 people. We went to our room after Shachris we had our meal and then went to sleep. Motzohai Shabbos we went to the Shul we st at had a talk with the the Rabbi Michal Samet for about and hour he showed us pictures of the bochurim that came on Merksos Shlichus 2 summers ago. Then we invited him to our hotel room for the Havdalah. after Havdalah we gave him a present a bottle of sweet Kosher red wine. We went to the mall which pretty much had nothing that I wanted. we went back to our hotel room i went to the computer room for 10 minutes. and then we went to the sauna which we reserved for 10:00 p.m. for an hour. after that we went to our room and retired for the night after we ate a meal of bread and tuna fish. Sunday morning we woke up Davened and check out after eating about 11:00 p.m. we left our luggage at the reception desk. we went to the old city which is basically one long street hence the name of the street is "The Long Street". After that we took a taxi to Westerplatte which the taxi meter went really fast and it ended up costing 35 Zloty.
Well you might not know what Westerplatte is so here you go:
Westerplatte is a peninsula in Gdansk, Poland, at an estuary of the Dead Vistula (one of the Vistula delta estuaries), in the Gdańsk harbour channel. From 1926 - 1939 a Polish Military Transit Depot was located there, on a territory of the Free City of Gdańsk.

Battle of Westerplatte

Westerplatte in flames
Westerplatte in flames

Westerplatte in flames

At the end of August 1939 the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein came to Danzig (Gdańsk) under the pretext of a courtesy visit and anchored in the channel, near Westerplatte. On September 1 1939, at 4:45 A.M. local time, as Germany began its invasion of Poland, the pre-Dreadnought battleship Schleswig-Holstein started to shell the Polish garrison with its 280mm and 150mm main guns. This was followed by an attack by German naval infantry (marines) who were hoping for an easy victory, but were repelled with Polish small arms and machine gun fire. Another two assaults that day were repelled as well, and the Germans suffered losses. The only Polish 75mm gun was destroyed after firing 28 shells at German positions across the channel. Over the coming days, the Germans repeatedly bombarded Westerplatte with naval and heavy field artillery (including 210 mm howitzers) along with dive-bombing raids by Junkers Ju 87 Stukas. Repeated attacks by German marines, SS Heimwehr Danzig (Danzig homeland protection) and combat engineers were all repelled by the Poles. Finally, the Westerplatte garrison, who were now exhausted - with many severely wounded - as well as being short of food, water, ammunition and medical supplies, surrendered on 7 September.

The exact number of German losses remains unknown or undisclosed; it is estimated that around 300 (out of roughly 2600) German soldiers were killed and many more wounded. Polish casualties were much lower - 14 killed and 53 wounded out of 205 soldiers defending the post. An additional victim, Sergeant Kazimierz Rasiński, the radio-telephone operator, was shot after the capitulation for refusal to give in the radio codes to the Germans.

The ruins of the island's barracks and blockhouses are still there. One of the barracks has been converted into a museum - two shells from the Schleswig-Holstein prop up its entrance.

the way back we decided were gonna take the city bus because we had enough of sponsoring the Gdansk cab drivers. we took the bus back to the main train station and got off we went to the mall there wasn’t much there accept one nice store called Lettfield they had a few nice suits and beautiful ties but the ties where like 50 dollars each and i really wanted like 10 of them you gota of seen them to know why they are nice. we took a taxi back to the hotel we called Yoel Because we wanted to put Tefilin on him before we left to make a long story short he got delayed with trains and trams and buses and out train was leaving at 5:25 we called him up and told him just get to the train station he got to train station at 5:15 we told him okay you gotta put Tefilin on he was like where in middle of the train station? And we were like yes well found a little corner and to put Tefilin on and we said you gota do it for the Rebbe if you knew him you would understand. Well in front of the train station with 5 minutes left for our train to leave we put Tefilin on this Jew in Poland and a literally 2 minutes before sunset that last permitted time. Our train came on time we just made it he was very happy. We left and to our luck half way into our trip our train hit an electrical wire so we were force to stop since we could go any further. it took hour and half till they fixed the problem. We got back a little bit after 11 P.M. till we got a taxi etc. we got to the center close to 12:00. Well that’s Shabbos for you. Gdansk from Warsaw is 334 Kilometers.


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