Sztutowo is the name of a fisherman's village, located at the Fleche de Sable de Vistule, 34 kilometers northeast of Gdansk (Danzig) and 3 kilometers from the Baltic coast. With the German invasion of Poland, Sztutowo became Stutthof and entered the halls of history as the wartime site of one of the most strict and primitive of the official concentration camps. It was the first camp established on Polish territory and the last camp in occupied Europe to be liberated. The first prisoners arrived on the morning of September 2, 1939. The last prisoners were not freed until the day after the official ending of the war, May 10, 1945.
The Baltic Sea coast is the major resort area of Eastern Europe. We were told throughout Eastern Europe that if one had a choice, a vacationer would pick either the Baltic Sea coast or Lake Balaton in Hungary. In the spring, summer, and autumn tourists fill the wide sandy beaches. On any highway leading toward Gdansk, the modern tourist buses with their Baltic Sea patrons from every Iron Curtain country far outnumber the automobiles.
Gdansk has always attracted Europeans: for industrial, shipping, vacation, and maritime reasons. It is an old town, rich in history, with deep cultural roots and traditions. North of the city lie the beautiful beaches of the Baltic Sea. No signs along the narrow roads mention that traveling to the coastal area includes a journey through the vicinity of the infamous concentration camp. Every Pole over age forty knows of Stutthof, for it was the concentration camp for Polish prisoners. The Poles had good reason to avoid it.
The drive along the coast from Gdansk to Sztutowo into Stetna Port is one of the loveliest in Europe. The road winds through small villages onto a ferry, across the Vistula, past miles of brightly colored tent cities and cabanas. The country roads, filled with cars, horses, and wagons, seem almost taken over by bathers walking to the beaches. Driving down the narrow roads to the beach, one passes inns, camping grounds, eating booths. Tourists stand in line for every variety of food imaginable -- Belgian waffles, steaming fish freshly caught in the morning, sausages, potato pancakes.
Then to the beach where fishermen have pulled up their beautifully