Gdańsk, 1946

The downtown of Danzig/Gdańsk was destroyed in 90 percent during the war, partly by air raids and bombardment, partly as a result of demolitions carried out by the Red Army after capturing the city. Chrząszczowa photographed the ruins of the city’s prominent sites and historical buildings: the Wharf Crane, the Granary Island, St. Mary’s Church, the town hall, and the Long Market. She was taking her pictures at a time of a heated debate over the reconstruction of Gdańsk’s downtown: a disavowal of the German architectural tradition and attempts to introduce Polish elements instead. In an atmosphere of powerful pro-Polish propaganda, German signs and signboards were being replaced by Polish ones. Chrząszczowa captured the moment and its mood in a photo showing the painted sign of the Restaurant zum Grünen Gewölbe with an added inscription, ‘Taken over by a Polish repatriate’.
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