Town History - from the foundation of the town until 1945

After the Thirty Years' War, which caused immense destruction and complete devastation in Germany, Pomerania was divided into a Prussian and a Swedish part according to the the Peace Treaty of Osnabrück concluded in 1650. Western Pomerania including Stettin, Usedom and Wollin islands as well as other territories went to Sweden. Prussia had to be content with the major part of East Pomerania. A new centre of conflict arose.
Later, in the Stockholm Peace Treaty of 1720, it was stipulated that Sweden had to cede Stettin and the islands of Usedom and Wollin to Prussia. The other territories of Western Pomerania, including, amongst others, the towns of Wolgast, Greifswald and Stralsund as well as Rügen island, remained Swedish as before. Therefore, Prussia was forced by economic, political and strategic circumstances to create an access to the Baltic Sea. After thorough analyses and preparations, the mouth of the Swina river was selected to provide this access to the Baltic Sea. Harbour construction started in the vicinity of the small village of Westswine in 1740. In this village, six to eight farmers, so-called Kossäts, carried on fishing and very subsistence agriculture. In addition, they cooperated in running the Swina ferry as leaseholders to improve their earnings. A small wooden church was also there. However, it belonged to the Caseburg parish.
The completely new location at Swinemünde, which was developing step by step along with with the construction and operation of the harbour, already had 121 houses with more than 150 families in 1765. In the same year, Swinemünde was declared an intermediate town.
Lighters transferred the goods from the ships lying in the roads or in the harbour and transported them upstream, if the destination was Stettin. On their way back from Stettin, the lighters took goods for the ships lying in Swinemünde. Shipping, transport of goods, trade, craft and industry reached their first peak. The dunes located in the town or in the vicinity, were also an advantage. Their sand was used as ballast for sailing ships. The removal of dunes, on the other hand, provided construction space for new buildings, streets and squares. In 1790, the harbour was extended. At that time, Swinemünde already had 2000 inhabitants. However, the young town suffered a setback during the Napoleonic Wars due to occupation, the Continental System and other restrictions. The construction of the mole which was completed in 1823, also aided this development. Therefore, the attraction of the Baltic Sea for bathing, which came into fashion at the turn of the century, came just at the right time. The first official spa season was opened in Swinemünde in July 1824. A new business branch with far-reaching consequences for the development of the town was born. Right from the beginning, half of the visitors came from Berlin. Even the German Kaiser paid several visits. Whilst 626 spa visitors came in 1826, their number had increased to 40,247 by 1913. Although World War I and inflation caused considerable losses, Swinemünde was again able to welcome 43,040 spa visitors in 1928.
Over the years, the number of inhabitants also increased. There were 4,719 inhabitants in 1850, in 1910, the number had already trebled to 13,916, and in 1931, 19,798 inhabitants were registered.
The general development of the town is illustrated by the data and events listed below.
1792: Construction of the first church in Swinemünde
1793: S. was granted higher jurisdiction
1794 -1805: 26 larger ships were laid down in S.
1805: Start of mole construction and deepening of the navigation channel to Stettin
1819: S. became county town
1822: Foundation of the bathing association in S.
1825: Foundation of the seaside bathing pools of Swinemünde
1826: Constitution of the first county council in S.
1827: Already more than 1200 spa visitors in S.
1846: Execution of the Mohr murderers
1846: Already more than 5000 spa visitors in S.
1847: Number of ships heading for the harbour exceeded 3000
1848 to 1852: Construction of the road to the Golm hill. There had only been track to get from S. to Wolgast.
1852: S. became garrison town
1855: S. Theatre built
1857-59: Construction of the lighthouse
1857: Steamship service to east Prussia, Bornholm and Copenhagen
1859: The synagogue was opened
1862: The water depth between the moles reached 18.83 m
1872-74: Construction of the road to Heringsdorf
1874-76: Construction of the Swinemünde - Ducherow railway providing a direct link to Berlin.
1874-80: Construction of the Kaiserfahrt navigation channel. Ships could now use a shorter route to Stettin and had no longer to follow the course of the old Swina.
1881: The church tower was built giving the building its present character.
1885: Introduction of electric lighting
1888: Foundation of the Swinemünde spa quarter with a splendid, exclusive residential area.
1894: Construction of the railway section Swinemünde - Heringsdorf; introduction of telephone system
1902: Westswine incorporated into S.
1904: Swinemünde became the most important Baltic spa in Germany (26,000 visitors)
1905-06: Construction of the Lutherkirche church
1910: Construction of the Kurhaus (spa) with park
1910: Sewers and water system in S.
1911: Construction of the railway section up to the Wolgaster Fähre
1911: The Swinemünde radio station began operation for coastal shipping. The first mast of the radio station (30 m high) was replaced by three new 70 m masts, located in the grassland of the "Gutsbezirk Hafengrund" area. The Swinemünde radio station became obsolete when the Rügen-Radio station started operation on 15th October 1931.
1912: Construction of the barracks in the Färberstraße street.
1920: Foundation of the East Prussia sealink company with Swinemünde as main port (to Zoppot, Pillau, Memel).
1924: Broadcasting established
1931: S. had 19,798 inhabitants.
1940: S. had 54,000 visitors with 295,000 overnight stays.
12th March 1945: Swinemünde bombed by more than 600 American planes. 23,000 people killed; most of them civilians.
October 1945: In the Potsdam Agreement, Swinemünde went to Poland. The Germans still living there had to leave their homes (the last ones left in 1950). Churchill is said to have had the idea for this kind of "cleansing".
Photo: In the new graveyard at the former Kaseburger Chaussee in Swinemünde, a group of several dozen gravestones from the former German Neuer Friedhof cemetery was re-established a few years ago. This action was initiated by Dr. Józef Pluciski, the retired director of the museum in S., who was able to gain Polish sponsors for this project.
E.R.