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The Polish Gymnasium

  • In 1921 Macierz Szkolna (Alma Mater), a cultural association, was established.
  • On the initiative of the Macierz Szkolna association, a school for Polish youth was established. It was funded by the Polish society.
  • It was the only Polish gymnasium in the Free City of Gdańsk.
  • The school operated in the years 1922-1939.
  • Some students did not speak fluent Polish, therefore learning Polish was especially important.
  • Jan Augustyński became the school headmaster. A lot of the teachers were active in the field of journalism. Education at the Polish Gymnasium was offered at a high level.
  • Two painters, Bolesław Cybis and Jan Zamoyski, painted a fresco on the auditorium ceiling. It was entitled The Polish Sky. During the war, the Nazis destroyed the fresco and covered the ceiling with plaster.
  • After the war, the building accommodated various education institutions, including the first cinema in Gdańsk.
  • At present, the building is the property of the Marshal Office of the Pomorskie Province.
  • In the years 2017-2018, the fresco was reconstructed. The auditorium where it is possible to admire the fresco on the ceiling is open for visitors.

Memories and stories told by the inhabitants

  • The school offered a flat for its employees, where a Polish writer, Stanisława Przybyszewska, once used to live with her husband, who was a teacher of the Polish Gymnasium. After her husband’s death, Przybyszewska moved to a wooden shed located at the school courtyard. Despite a lot of effort, she did not get a job at school. To get some money, she had to pawn her possessions at a nearby pawnshop.
  • After the war, the building was converted into a cinema, where it was possible to watch such movies as Zakazane piosenki (Forbidden Songs). The boys from the neighbourhood used to sell cigarettes and chewing gum in front of the cinema.

Contemporary photographs

⯆ The building of the former Polish Gymnasium.

⯆ After the war there was a cinema here.

⯆ A stone commemorating Stanisława Przybyszewska, a Polish writer.

⯆ The Polish Sky fresco reconstructed on the ceiling of the auditorium at the former Polish Gymnasium.

⯆ A plaque commemorating the founders, teachers and students of the Polish Gymnasium.

Archive photographs

⯆ A post-war photograph of the former Polish Gymnasium.