The term ‘massacre in Piaśnica’ is used for describing a number of mass executions carried out by German occupying forces in the first months of World War II in the forests near Piaśnica Wielka, in the vicinity of Wejherowo. Representatives of Polish political, business and cultural elites from Gdańsk Pomerania were murdered in Piaśnica Wielka. Also people transported by rail from the Third Reich died there, including mentally disabled individuals, opponents to the Nazi ideology, as well as Poles and Czechs who had lived in Germany before the war.
Thousands of people died as a consequence of the extermination activities. It is very difficult to estimate the number of victims, as in 1944 Germans carried out an operation aimed at removal of any evidence of the crime. The Investigation Department of the IPN Branch Office in Gdańsk has been investigating the case since 2011. New data concerning the number of victims are expected to be revealed as a result of the inquiry.
The massacre in Piaśnica was one of the first Nazi crimes perpetrated on such a huge scale during World War II. The Germans used the experience gained in its course to carry out their extermination plans. Piaśnica is the largest, after the Stutthof concentration camp, place of torment of Polish people in the Pomerania region. In the historical consciousness of the inhabitants of Gdańsk Pomerania, and particularly of the Kashubians, it is a symbol of the Pomeranian people’s martyrdom.