Legend of Transatlantic Liners

The legend of Polish transatlantic liners was written for 58 years. The first of them raised the white-and-red flag in 1930. The last voyage was recorded in 1988. Gdynia was the home port for all of them.
Passenger ships are the aristocracy of the oceans. They are most perfect technically, often described and photographed and with a prominent place in the history of sailing. The fleet of Polish transatlantic liners was created initially to serve the Polish emigration traffic along the traditional North-Atlantic line. It was also the means of communication, a special bridge connecting the Polish community in the States with the old country. The Polish transatlantic liners played a similar role after the 2nd World War. In addition to line sailing, they served as cruisers.

Pioneer Trio - steamers bearing names that were close to every Pole on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, "Polonia", "Kościuszko" and "Pułaski", were typical liners designed to serve emigration traffic.
Celebrity Twins - "Sobieski" and "Chrobry" motor ships constructed for the traditional South-American emigration route of Polish peasants.
Post-war episode - "Jagiełło" was received as a part of war reparations; it sailed in 1947- 1949 from the Mediterranean Sea ports to the South America.
Last king - "Stefan Batory" was popular among the Polish community abroad and liked by tourist; it sailed for 20 years from Gdynia to Montreal and carried passengers also on cruises. It came out of service in 1988.

Out of the fleet of seven transatlantic liners, two of them continued to serve after the war. "Piłsudski", the first modern motor ship with outfitting designed by the most outstanding Polish artists, was among the first victims of the war. "Chrobry", which went to war straight from its virgin race, was bombed in 1940 and burnt in a Norwegian fiord. The three first steamers, "Polonia", "Pułaski", and "Kościuszko", never came back to serve under the Polish flag.

"Batory" survived the war. It carried Allied troops in ocean convoys and evacuated the gold of the Bank of England and the treasures of the Polish culture to Canada. Its deck served British children going to Australia and Polish war veterans coming back to Poland. After the war, it crossed the Atlantic Ocean diligently in both ways almost for a quarter century, being an enclave of luxury in the plebeian communist reality. After the years of military service, "Sobieski" came back to Poland. It was sold to the USSR in 1950 and finished its service 25 years later as "Georgia".

The crews of Polish transatlantic liners were the elite of seamen. They were the best captains, legendary today. They were press favourites and enjoyed the life of celebrities in their times. They lived in the rich décor of the voyages, uniforms and the attractive sea ceremonies. The legend of the Polish transatlantic ships remains among the most picturesque pages in the history of Polish sailing.

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