The Armoured Cruiser "Aurora" in Swinemünde


After World War I, at the time of the Weimar Republic, Swinemünde became a naval station, fleet base and navy training centre. Visitors from abroad soon began to arrive again. As a naval port, Swinemünde repeatedly hosted visits from Swedish, Danish and Spanish naval delegations.
The visit of the Soviet Russian cruisers "Aurora" and "Profintern" from the naval port Kronstadt near Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), which moored in Swinemünde from 18th to 20th August 1929, was of particular importance. It was the first Russian visit after the World War I and the October Revolution. Although the vessels arrived with a few hours delay, they received great attention (not only from the official side) and a very warm welcome.
Communists from Swinemünde are said to have gone out to meet the vessels at sea. However, the Soviet seamen allegedly did not see them. The guests demonstrated especially strict discipline and watchfulness. At the request of the Soviet Embassy, both vessels moored at the pier, far away from the town, which made a visit by the inhabitants of Swinemünde practically impossible. In contrast to the times of the Tsar, the crew was strictly forbidden to visit the local hostelries but it was reported that the Russians took the opportunity to go shopping. When the municipality invited the crew to the Spa Gardens, more guests that expected turned up. Nevertheless, 'on-the-spot' supervisors reported that the sailors had been on their best behaviour! At a trumpet signal, officers and crew members marched off again.
The guests returned the favour by staging a sports meeting on Eichstaden island. A farewell party, which the Russians arranged at the "Walfisch" pub, also went off amidst great enthusiasm. The Russians assured the Germans of their friendship, which they had already expressed in the town's visitors' book, and issued invitations for a return visit. When photos were taken at the terrace, the Russians embraced the German officers so warmly that the plates were kept under lock and key at the headquarter and no prints were made.
The mayor of Swinemünde was even invited to the embassy in Berlin, but no return visit took place. Soviet navy vessels did not return to Swinemünde for their next "visit" until May 1945; this one lasted until Christmas 1992.
Dr.J.Pl.