Gdansk is blessed with a number of museums that are well worth a visit if you’re in the area and the World War 2 museum in Gdansk is one of the most popular attractions in the country.
It is located just a few kilometres across from Westerplatte (the location where the opening shots of World War II were fired) and within walking distance from the Old Town of Gdansk.
A tilted, red tiled tower stands out against the horizon as you approach the museum and this seems to be the hallmark of the architecture with sharp angles and a punchy red tiling. In front of the museum entrance you will see rubble used as building material held together in a steel mesh-very evocative !
The actual museum is underground and here the colour scheme becomes more monochrome. It is also here that you may realise how popular this museum actually is as there are usually large crowds queuing up for tickets. It is possible to book tickets in advance and this would be good advice if you don’t fancy queuing up.
It’s also highly recommended to hire the use of an audio guide. These are available at the ticket desks and provide excellent commentary on all of the exhibits utilising bluetooth technology which starts and stops commentary depending on which area of the museum you are exploring.
Once inside the actual museum part of the building it becomes easier to identify the structure and path of the exhibits. The museum is centred by a long central hallway with benches allowing visitors to take a rest and you will probably need it as there is plenty of walking.
The museum exhibits trace the history of the Second World War from its origins through to the end of the conflict and the post war settlement. Movie reels and films are used to explain different aspects of the war and are interspersed among the exhibition rooms.
These exhibition rooms all follow a particular theme whether that be Mussolini and fascism or Stalin’s communist Russia but perhaps the most poignant area of the museum is the area dedicated to the Holocaust and victims of the concentration camps. Sometimes the simplest object evokes the greatest emotion and seeing a single child’s leather shoe inside a glass display case speaks more than a thousand words.