The History of the Town after 1945

- On 5th May 1945, the Soviet army occupied the town.
- In autumn 1945, a Polish administration was inaugurated. At this time, approximately 30,000 Germans lived in S. and on the island of Wollin.
- In the early 1950s, there were 500 to 600 Germans. They mainly worked as specialists at the Soviet military base in S., some were employed in the town administration and the port authority. However, they had a hard time with the immigrated Polish inhabitants. From 1950, only Germans who could prove their Polish descent were allowed to stay in their native country.
- But the years after the war were a hard time for the Polish inhabitants, too. Many factors affected the reconstruction and the development of the town. The vicinity to the border, the continuous presence of a large Soviet and a Polish garrison meant restricted mobility for the inhabitants. The harbour installations as well as the spa quarter at the beach were reserved for exclusive use by Soviet troops for a long time.
- In 1948, the Polish administration started the construction of an offshore fishery base on the eastern bank of the Swina river. Production halls, cold stores and warehouses were built. Later, the "Odra" fish factory was established. At its peak, this factory had more than 6,000 employees and processed 30 percent of the total catch of the Polish offshore fleet.
- This investment accelerated the reconstruction of the town, which was intensified after 1958. The abolition of restrictions in connection with the border zone was another favourable factor. New residential areas were built on the ruins of the town.
- The extension of the sea port in the following years was also very important. The port complex Szczecin – Swinoujscie was established. The investments made up to 1970 (Swina harbours I to IV) led to an increase in turnover to more than six millions tons per year.
- Reconstruction or modernization of production facilities also included the repair shipyard, the iron foundry and a factory for synthetic materials. New shops, restaurants and hotels were built..
-  After the Soviet armed forces left the spa quarter in 1958, thousands of holiday-makers, spa-patients and tourists began to arrive and this brought prosperity to the town and its inhabitants. Świnoujście /Swinemünde was now - beside Kołobrzeg/Kolberg and Sopot/Zoppot - again one of the most popular Baltic spas of the region.
- Cultural and intellectual life again took off. The number of schools increased: primary and secondary schools, a medical college and a complex of vocational schools were built, in addition to libraries, the municipal House of Culture, a Youth Centre, the fishery museum, the Museum of Regional History and several clubs. In addition, special festivals and cultural revues were initiated (such as FAMA, a festival of academic youth, and the revue "Windmill" featuring shanties).
- In the course of sixty years, a town of a new character has developed at the mouth of the Swina river. Świnoujście with its young, educated and ambitious inhabitants attained economic and cultural importance in Poland.
- The last units of the Red Army left in December 1992. The housing shortage was reduced by using the barracks and military facilities.
- The restructuring of the Polish economy, which began in 1989 and is often accompanied by hard times, is also reflected in the appearance of the town. Many companies have been liquidated (for instance, the "Odra" fish factory), others are still searching for solutions for the future development. 20 percent of the almost 45,000 inhabitants of Swinemünde are presently unemployed - a painful fact. The new challenges of the market economy cannot be coped with over night.
- Today, after Poland entered the EU, the town has to make new decisions of enormous importance for the future. What are chances and perspectives for town development - will it be tourism, trade, intensive port operation, environmental protection or something else?
- One thing is certain: The town profits from its vicinity to the border. Millions of German tourists stimulate the economy in S. and contribute with their money to the growing prosperity of the inhabitants.
- This writer appreciates the fact that the past of this area is no longer the subject of political manipulation. Nowadays, almost none of the inhabitants ignores the German history of the town. Thus, mutual understanding and sympathy can be the basis to re-establish the relationship with the German former inhabitants. Maybe this will prove to be the key for Swinemünde: a town at the periphery of Poland but in the centre of Europe.
Dr. Józef Pluciński, Świnoujście /Swinemünde