Home > German Railway Engineer

German Railway Engineer

German Railway Engineer

Gustav Wessel, my father, was born in the train terminal building in Grambow, Randow County, Pommern, at the living quarters of the former Royal Prussian railroad assistant and station agent Ernst Wessel. Following the premature death of his brother, Curt, he grew up as only child in the parental home. He received his primary schooling at the elementary school in Züssow near Greifswald, a small town, where his father was transferred shortly before his birth. After another transferral to Angermünde in the province of Brandenburg, Gustav enrolled in the private secondary school for boys. Upon reaching his 12th year of life, his father sent him to secondary schools in Berlin and to a boarding school in Bernau. Gustav left the school before graduation deciding on a technical profession. For this it was necessary to continue and graduate from – if one decided to enter government service – a government-accredited technical college, whose entry required an apprenticeship in one of the building trades. When he was 17, he began his apprenticeship with the construction firm of the master builder Schleyer in Angermünde. He received his certificate of apprenticeship on 6 July 1895, after two summers’ of hard work in the building firm and attendance at the royal builders technical school in Deutsch Krone during the winter months. He left the school after graduation, two years later on 14 Sep 1897.

On 12 Nov of the same year, he received his assignment for service at the Royal Railroad Administration in Stettin. He was appointed as aspirant station agent on 1 Sep 1899. A little later he became assistant station agent and he made the exam as station agent on 21 Dec 1901. The requirements for the exam, according to the German Railway Administration, were as follows:

draw the ground plan and sketches of the cross section of a dwelling for two minor officials.

Make a situational sketch of the location of a switchman’s house, a train, sidewalk and street.

The crossing of an one-track main line shall be lengthened by 99 meters (=11 track lengths) at one end. The signals have to be placed accordingly, so that the end mast will be placed 50 m before the hand-operated switch and the first signal will be placed 400 m before the end mast. The base must be widened, and cones must be set where the signals will be placed. The method by which the task has to be accomplished must be described, everything needed for the construction must be briefly checked as well as the costs of the needed materials must be calculated and a sketch how the crossing shall be done must be drawn up.

Gustav wrote, regarding c): Before we begin with the main task, the best is to prepare the substructure of the crossing. What is needed first, is to get the soil for it. The company management will set up a schedule for a freight train and this schedule will be given to the branch office managers who in turn will hand it to their resp. staff. At this time the station agent will have already asked for the needed building materials from the company management, so that any interruptions of the work will be avoided. The soil has arrived in the mean time. The management will order the hauling of part of the gravel, which will be placed in a layer of 20 cm (about 8 inches). As the remaining building materials have been delivered, they will now be transported with a lorry to the various locations as needed. The station agent now begins with the laying and connecting of the tracks. He also constructs a piece of track, which is the length of the switch, so that it can be installed later.

As soon as the new track and the switch have been put together by the station agent, he will report it to the management, asking to close the track because of the construction of the new switch near the crossing. Then the report is sent to all stations on the route, that the tracks will be closed in both directions because of the construction of a switch. Or the station agent will send the information to the neighboring stations and stations where express trains are stopping. After this has been done, the route will be closed and the switch will be exchanged with the new one. Following this, the switch will be put on the straight track and secured with a lock. Then the signals will be put in place and notice will be given to all stations that the tracks are now open. The transport of the still needed gravel and the connecting of the second track can proceed unhindered, and the old track can be closed. When this has been accomplished, it will be reported again and the old track will be replaced with the new one mentioned above. This report must also include that the signals are out of service until further notice. When it is announced that the tracks are open, it is prudent to add that the signals are not yet in service, if this is the case. When the substructure, the superstructure and all other installations completed, then the laying of the cables can begin with the connection of the signals. Then station agent notifies the administration that the signals, switches and cables are functioning. As long as the cables are disconnected, the new switch must be operated by hand, by a certified laborer, who has to unlock the same during every crossing and then must lock it again afterwards. Sketch: Assignment c. and plan for the extension.

Then the calculation of the costs for building materials, etc., was done.

The examination took place under the direction of the Building Consultant Wiegand; the written test was done under supervision without source material during the time of 9:45 a.m. until 12:30 p.m.

Four years after successfully passing the exam, Gustav was promoted to Royal Prussian Station Agent on 1 Apr 1905.

He already had given the oath of office as Prussian civil servant on 1 Sep 1899 in Stargard, Pommern: “I, Gustav Albert Ulrich Wessel, swear by God, the Almighty and Omniscient, that I will be submissive, loyal and obedient to His Royal Majesty of Prussia, my most gracious Sovereign, and will fulfill all duties, incumbent to my office, to my best knowledge and belief, and also will conscientiously observe the Constitution, so help me God. Through Jesus Christ’s salvation. Amen. Gustav Wessel.”

His transfer to the building department of the railroad administration began one of his most interesting periods of life. The German railroad network was not fully complete at this time. More tracks and bridges were to be constructed throughout the country. One project followed another and he was assigned to various places. Before his promotion as station agent, he had already been in charge in places such as Fürstenberg in Mecklenburg, Swinemünde, Stargard in Pommern, Falkenberg, then again Stargard, followed by Belgard, Kolberg, Rixdorf (Berlin-Neukölln), Kaulsdorf, Berlin and Zehlendorf.

After Berlin he was stationed in Neubabelsberg for a time, and he often talked about its wonderful surroundings and the superabundant wildlife population, the charming landscape which he noted during his travels, and the frequent voyages of Emperor William II. The railway line from Stettin to the Baltic Sea was also completed during this time, which resulted in another assignment for him in Swinemünde. The Dievenow bridge near Wollin was a noteworthy achievement of German technology. It was an imposing view for the visitor standing on the pedestrian’s bridge, when the center section opened and turned 90 degrees to allow the vessels with their high masts pass through in two directions. Gustav was also involved with the construction of this bridge.

Across from Swinemünde, separated by the Swine river, is the small Baltic Sea spa of Osternothafen. (Note: “Swine” is not the equivalent of the English word “swine.”). Gustav lived here in the spa hotel “Sanssouci” during his Swinemünde assignment. Through his acquaintance with the proprietor of the hotel, a Mr Schnartendorf, he was invited as guest of the forthcoming marriage of his daughter, Liesbeth, to Ernst Kühl, the paymaster stationed in Swinemünde who hailed from Hagen near Wollin. The marriage took place on 18 Apr 1900. During the wedding, Gustav became acquainted with Kühl’s youngest sister, Helene Auguste Luise, whose youthful charms caught everyone’s attention. The wedding photo shows her as the first on the right, top row, Gustav as the first on the left, second row from top, beside his table partner. As Gustav reported later, his conquest on this evening was by no means easy, because Helene was heavily besieged by her table partner and other gentlemen.

This enchanted acquaintanceship led to a lifelong partnership. Following an engagement which lasted several years, the young couple were married at St. Georg’s Church in Wollin by Pastor Adebar on 27 June 1904. The wedding feast took place at the old Kühl house in Hagen. The festive dining table was set up in the large room and a dance band provided the entertainment. The attractively designed menus which had been preserved to this day, list a sumptuous wedding dinner: vegetable soup, filet in Madeira wine, pike and eel, asparagus with side dish, venison, “Fürst Pückler” ice cream, butter and cheese - dessert.

Witnesses to the marriage were Helene’s father, Friedrich Kühl, master blacksmith and farmer; and Gustav’s uncle, Gustav Paulenz of Stettin. Besides both parents of the couple, many relatives, friends and acquaintances were among the guests, as was the pastor, Rev. Adebar. His presence was for the Kühls, a strict religious Lutheran family, as natural as saying grace and going to church. Many telegrams and greeting cards reflected sincere happiness and heartfelt involvement. They were kept in a box for all of their life. The wedding rings were fashioned from Austrian ducats and were engraved with the dates and initials of: 12.4.02 GW 27.6.04 and HK with the same dates.

The young couple had only spent a few months in their new home in Berlin-Zehlendorf, when a transferral to Bad Polzin in Pommern was ordered. Their only child, Eckhard Heinz Ulrich was born there on 11 Apr 1906. Another transferral, to Treptow on the Rega river, came during the same year, but lasted only a few weeks; followed by transferral to Lubow near Neustettin in Pommern.

There the family lived in a company apartment, in a red brick house, in the unassuming style of Prussian railroad tenements, not far from the railroad station. Four giant bing cherry trees in front of the house provided some shade. Across from the entrance door was a magnificent large garden with rose beds and hazel bushes, and behind the house was a spacious yard with stables.

Gustav and Helene lived in Lubow for the next five years. This was a pleasant time for them and their son. Helene, who had a farming background, could run the place to her heart’s content. The raising of pigs and chickens was very successful, there were 50 white Wyandottes; and the garden produced an ample supply of fruits and vegetables. It was an ideal place to live for a young couple, and frequent visits by relatives brought a welcome diversion. The upper floor of the houses had guest rooms, while the first floor had the office, dining room, living room, bedroom and kitchen.

Gustav’s work in this small town was neither strenuous nor overburdened; a welcome change from Polzin, where he had a difficult time because of the accelerated reconstruction of large sections of railroad tracks. At that time he was often at the construction site with the work crew by day or night, without sleep and during storms and rainy weather. His profession was fulfilling for him, and he worked with joy and dedication. He made his inspection trips with a 4-wheel rail vehicle or a motorized draisine, an open automobile running on tracks. He often went on foot, especially at night or in the early morning before sunrise. He entertained himself with his favorite songs and came home with a bouquet of wild flowers almost every time.

Since an assistant was sent to him in Lubow, he could now follow his private affairs. He was a passionate hunter like his father and he leased a hunting area together with the district administrator Arndt. He often came home late in the night and Emmi Boeck, our maidservant, had to keep company with my anxious mother. Firearms were used often; Gustav owned several shotguns and Helene had a handgun. I, who wasn’t required to go to school yet, got a “Tesching”, which is a small-caliber rifle. We often had target practice in the garden, and Helene was an excellent marksman. Occasionally Gustav brought home top prizes from target shooting competitions. The Lubow lake offered opportunities for fishing and boat trips.

The circle of friends in Lubow was small and would remain so. Reciprocal visits were made with the landowner-family Klatt near here and the architect-family Heinze in Neustettin. Breakfast in Lubow played a special role in the daily routine. It consisted of ham, fried eggs and Hungarian wine. Gustav ordered the wine in barrels, then bottled it and sealed the cork with red wax, which was liquefied in a pan and then put in the bottle opening.

The year of 1912 brought an end to rural living when he was assigned to Greifenhagen on the Oder river. This small city of 8,000 residents in Pommern was situated at the east arm of the Oder river, which was also called the Reglitz. The metropolis of Stettin could be reached in half an hour by train or in 1½ hours by steamship. Greifenhagen, which was situated in the Oder valley and on the Pommern land ridge, had marvelous surroundings with extensive Oder river meadows, through which a 2-mile embankment led to the excursion point of Mescherin or farther on to the “Garzer Schrey”, a wooded mountain ridge with innumerable mosquitoes. Here, parallel with the Reglitz river, and of the same width, flowed the West Oder. The best view over the town and the Oder valley could be had from “Galgenberg” (Gallows Hill), which was part of the mountain ridge.

A company apartment was not available in Greifenhagen. Therefore the family rented an apartment in house number 123 on Wieck street, which had seven rooms and two balconies, and also included Gustav’s office rooms. This apartment originally consisted of two apartments, which the landlord combined into one by tearing down a wall. The balconies were surrounded by brick-red pelargoniums, a genus of the geranium family.

Officially, Greifenhagen meant a fundamental change for Gustav, insofar, that here ran a two-track main rail line, which served the transit from the north to Silesia, and which had been equipped with the newest technological facilities and was used to maximum capacity by the trains. All train stations and signal boxes had just been equipped with the most modern safety devices. Breakdowns and blocking of the railways occurred often and Gustav had to be in readiness at every hour day and night. Often there was the familiar red telegram in the mail box, when the family returned from a Sunday stroll, and Gustav had to leave his family immediately for long hours. It was mostly a problem with the complicated mechanism of the blocking facilities, which the officials currently on duty could not handle themselves and were unable to allow a train free passage. The seal had to be removed and the blockage eliminated.

In regard to blocking facilities of the Reichsbahn (State Railway System), the following article is from the work, “Hundred Years of German Railroads” and “Signal Box and Blocking Facilities”, published in 1938 by the State Transportation Ministry (Society of Scientific Teaching Materials for the Transportation System, Leipzig):

Stationary signals or special security facilities were not necessary 100 years ago. There was only one “Adler” (name of train) with only one railway coach and the passage between Nürnberg and Fürth was always open. A crash of two trains was not possible, because there was only one. Only after a second locomotive and a second coach were put in service, was it necessary to be more careful: the second train could only move when it was assumed that the first train had traveled a distance that was sufficient enough so that the second could not catch up with the former. The trains followed each other, distanced by time. Since the locomotives broke down on occasion or a wagon jumped the tracks, so that the train had to stop in the middle of the rail line which created danger that the second train could crash into the first, in spite of the gained time. When a stretch was straight and the train ran at a slower speed, the engineer could stop his train if he saw the other train in time, but when there was blind, winding terrain and higher speeds involved, the danger of crashes increased. Then it was decided to change from lapsed time to actual distance and the route was divided into sections. Only one train at a time could be in such a section. With a less concentrated succession of trains it appeared to be sufficient to choose train stations as the bounds of such sections; in other words, the trains would follow by “train station distance.” But with very close distances between trains it was necessary to subdivide the distance between two train stations, and these subdivided sections (block routes) were controlled by “block points”. The train which would be in a block route, would be “shielded” by a main signal (“Block signal”) from an approaching train. Should a train actually become disabled on a route, then the main signal at the beginning of this block route would be activated to signal a stop. The signal would only change to “green”, when the first train had left the block route controlled by this signal.

Thus the so-called “block system” was developed in Germany, patterned after the British model; under the “block system” the facilities of a route are determined with certain devices, called “Block works” or mechanisms, which will be reported on below.

To regulate the distances between trains – in either time or distance – an exchange of reports, information and commands is needed. The checkpoints responsible for the regulation and safety of the train movements must be able to notify each other, as well as, the moving trains. The signals were installed for this purpose. Earlier, flag signals were given by hand, lanterns were also used and a system of hand signals and symbols was developed, similar to the storm balls in seaports - to communicate warnings and announcements to greater distances by sight. The steam whistle of locomotives was added later, as well as, bell signals. With the increasing use of trains and their traffic, it was necessary to develop new concepts and invent special devices.

The railroad safety system’s purpose is to protect moving trains and other vehicles from industrial accidents and collisions with mechanical and electric facilities. This resulted in combining the control devices for the tracks and signals in the signal boxes. There, the levers for the tracks and signals are arranged side by side and made dependent on each other so that the correct track setting is an absolute prerequisite for safe train movements. The block system installations can be connected to electrical facilities for regulating train movements.

The operation of the track and signal levers outside of the track and signal boxes is transferred from mechanical signal boxes through wire pulleys, and from the powered signal boxes through electricity, compressed air or gas.

The station blocking is for the security of the trains within the train stations, and the route blocking is for the safety of the trains on the various routes.

Only one official, the railway traffic inspector, is responsible for the movement of trains within terminals. Only with his authorization can the main signals be regulated by other railroad officials. The device for this is the terminal block. It contains block fields for the various tasks required. Command fields serve to regulate entry and exit signals. The railroad traffic inspector issuing the commands is in contact with the command field which receives the commands. The railway traffic inspector cannot always oversee whether all of the preconditions for the authorization of a train departure have been fulfilled. Then the permission to depart has to be given from another suitable checkpoint. This is done through activation of a block field, which issues permission. The railway traffic inspector or the signal operations point receives the block field message. A signal for the passage, as mentioned previously, can only be given when all track levers are positioned in a way to allow a train to proceed. Because of the importance of this inter-relationship, the routing lever is closed in its position in a block field, which controls the direction of the train. This block field, in many instances, has a field of alternating current, which lifts the blockade of the resp. route. Direct current (DC) fields are also in use. They are blocked by simply pressing a button and opened by a moving train or a railroad official who operates a releasing device.

Special equipment is needed if the train is to effect the security devices, i.e. to release a route barrier. Considered in the first instance will be track bending contacts and wheel sensors, which are categorized as “track current blockers”. In connection with these as well as alone, isolated tracks are used, whose circuits (track circuits) effect the vehicle’s axles because of their electric conductivity.

For instance, out of the necessity, the wheel sensor, part of the mechanical trigger devices, has been developed to create axle counting apparatus. The requirement for the axle counting apparatus is that every single wheel generates an electric impulse independent of the rate of speed and only the wheel sensors provide these conditions. Through contact with the railroad track the wheel pushes down a sensor spring and which effects the electric impulse. The wheel sensors always contain a substantial number of contact springs and are therefore called group wheel sensors. The springs are so close together that a single impulse is created, which prolongs the duration of contact.

The purpose of the electric route blocking is to protect trains between stations from following trains and from trains moving in the opposite direction on one-track rails. For this purpose route sections are set up (block routes) and main signals are situated at the starting point of each section. The basic idea of the route blocking is for the signal at the beginning of a block route at the rear of a train which has entered this block route to be blocked by an alternate current block field until the train has left that block route and the signal at the beginning of the next block route has been secured through an alternate current blocking field in the halt position. Opposite movements on one-track routes will also be closed by alternate current blocking fields.

Established train stations mainly are the natural boundaries for the route blocking sections. This limitation has the effect that the trains can only follow each other in accordance with the travel time between the train stations. Where the need exists for trains to move in closer succession, special points – the block stations – will be activated. Every endpoint of a train station forms a self-contained area together with the endpoint of the neighboring train station and the block stations in-between, which generally ends at the exit signal of the other train station. The points where the route blocking begins are called the block end points.

The impetus for developing the electrical route blocking was the Law for the Railroad System of Germany, ratified in 1871, which stated trains were allowed to follow each other only with a distance from station to station. The engineering firm Siemens & Halske then began designing a “block system” to control the distance between trains following each other. A symbol was invented by a Mr Frischen, through which the train stations and the signal points could communicate with each other. A connection was not existing between this device and the signaling, but after several failed attempts it was found in the alternate current block. This still remains the essential part of the hand-operated route blocking with various improvements. It now is the common method of construction for the German Railway System on two track routes in the so-called quadri-field form.

For each travel direction there is a block field at the block terminal, namely the beginning field for departing trains and the end field for arriving trains. The block points have a beginning and an end field for each direction, a total of four fields. Both fields in each direction are connected with common push-button controls. All of the block fields have white color panels in their basic setting. The beginning fields are open while the end fields are closed.

The path of train travel in connection with the signal and block operation can be shown in the sketch below. The train movement on the upper track from right to left would proceed as follows: The train has left the railroad station, the signal behind the train is set on ”Halt” (row 2) and closed through blocking of the first phase. The blocking disk of the first phase is set to “Red.” The connected last phase of the following block point set in forward position is open and its blocking disk is set from “White” to “Red”; indicating that a train has entered the block route at the rear. This train has free passage. After the train is past the block signal, it changes to “Halt”, row 3, and the signal is activated through the common pushbutton control. At the same time, the position of the block fields at the block operation point has changed the rear and front positions for the resp. trains. The end field is changed at the block point, its signal is changed from “Red” to “White”. The beginning field there is blocked and so the signal is closed and has changed to “Red.” For the railroad station to the rear, the beginning field is set to open and thus the position of the signal is changed and set to “White” again. The end field at the forward point of the train is open, the signal is set on “red” and the entry of the pre-blocking is visible. The signal for the expected train is set to “Free”. After the train has arrived (row 5), the signal is changed to “Halt”, the end field is blocked, the beginning field of the block point is open, so that a second train can follow.

Therefore, every time when a train has entered a block route, the signal at the beginning of the route will be set to “Halt”, and this position will be locked through a force field of alternate current. This locking position will only be released, when the train has left the block point and the signal at its end – the block signal, or entry signal – is closed in its “Halt” position through a force field of alternate current. (End).

The area for which Gustav was responsible, extended from Greifenhagen to Königsberg, Neumark. The route went through the Pomeranian landscape with its forests and fields. I often accompanied my father on his inspections of the railroad tracks. This was always interesting and I learned a lot about the construction and operation of trains and their safety installations, as well as about hunting, forests and flowers.

The conditions within the city soon provided a welcome circle of acquaintances, prominent among them were the names of Richter, Reske and Warnke. The Richters owned a representitive white villa at the foot of the “Gallows Hill”, with a entrance hall supported by pillars and a priceless interior design. Helene became very popular during all the festivities and social events through her winning ways and her kind disposition. She played the piano and accompanied it with song. Her superior culinary art became quickly known. Gustav enjoyed good wines; one of which was the “Mosel Erdener Treppchen”, a Moselle wine, which was always stored in his wine cabinet. He also enjoyed a red Burgundy. One of his specialties was called the ”Knickebein”. It was served in special glasses from a tapered chalice which was placed in a bowl. The chalice was filled with rose liquor; with an egg yolk floating in maraschino. It was served to every guest, some dranking it for the first time.

Summer vacations were spent in the mountains or at the beaches. Vacations always ended with a visit to Helene’s parents in Hagen near Wollin, where mountains of fried flounders or eel were waiting for the guests. While there, they also visited the cemetery and made excursions to the Haff (a lagoon) and Swinemünde or Misdroy.

The family spent their vacation in July of the fateful year 1914 in the Riesengebirge, a mountain range in Silesia. They started in the town of Brückenberg with a visit to Wang Church, followed after some rainy days with a hike through the mountains for several days. Gustav took along a picture postcard from every “Baude” (Czech word for single houses in the forest) which had been seen, as well as the “Schneekoppe”, the highest mountain of the Silesian mountains. The tour ended with a few days rest in the village of Oberschreiberhau. The remaining vacation days, as usual, were spent in Hagen, where the family learned of the outbreak of World War I. After a few days uncertainty, a news bulletin from the “Usedom-Wollin Dampfboot” newspaper announced the declaration of war. Gustav had already been called back via telegraph. Mother and son also began their trip home. Military detachments patrolled the railroad bridges in Stettin. Upon arrival in Greifenhagen, the father had already received a “declaration of indispensability”, which exempted him from military service, and was a welcome relief for the family during those fateful days.

Also during this time in Greifenhagen, a patent was registered: Gustav had invented a security device, which prevented the loosening of nuts from the bolts of shock connections on railroad tracks. The entry into the patent register was made at the royal patent office on 16 May 1914. Representatives from many countries around the world contacted Gustav in writing or personally, but all negotiations were canceled during the month of August, when the war began. The security device was used on a trial basis on the Stettin-Altdamm route, after the patent had not been renewed in the post war years.

The great war continued. Glorious victories were achieved, the streets were decorated with German, Austrian and Hungarian flags for days. Hardly anyone took notice of the recurring declarations of war – of which there were about 28 – and the German people were enthralled with an overwhelming patriotism. Mourning for a son or father entered into some homes. Months and years went by and more and more places of work became vacant. Excessive demands for greater work efforts were made on those who remained behind, and Gustav also had to do his share. He was reluctant to stay at home and his exemplary patriotism compelled him twice to volunteer for military service at the front – the last time in 1917 – but he was turned down both times.

As the war dragged on, more heavy demands on the German people were made. Food became more scarce and was available on ration cards only. Gold was exchanged with iron. The memory of the national uprising in 1813 was revived. War loans were made. My parents also gave their gold watches and necklaces. Gustav subscribed a large part of his wealth for a war loan. But the sturdy belief in victory gradually began to wane and doubts set in.

Gustav was transferred during a severe winter from Greifenhagen to Schwedt on the Oder River at the beginning of the year 1917. This meant a loss of two school years for the 11-year-old son as a consequence resulting from leaving a Realschule (junior high school) to a humanistic Gymnasium (secondary school).

Gustav’s field of activity here was less demanding. He was in charge of a single-track railroad, which was not heavily traveled. The line did not continue in the other direction; past Schwedt. Earlier plans were to provide Schwedt with a connection to Stettin’s main route on the other side of the Oder river. Narrow-minded city fathers were not willing to grant the necessary finances for the extension. Perhaps the Schwedt-Stettin Steamship Company, who feared a serious competitor, worked behind the scenes. Therefore the good citizens of Schwedt continued to use the steamer to Stettin, which took four hours instead of one hour by train. The railroad track ended at a buffer stop on the embankment by Prince Heinrich Street. Occasionally a railroad car somehow got disconnected and rolled over the buffer stop down the embankment and fell on the street.

Gustav’s predecessor in Schwedt was a gardener’s son, so the office beside the train terminal was surrounded by a splendid flower garden and many dwarf fruit trees, on all sides with genuine wine tendrils.

The family again lived in a private 5-room apartment on the first floor of house number 37 on Prince-Heinrich Street, which also had a fairly large orchard and vegetable garden. A third garden, also established by Gustav’s predecessor, at the embankment between the train terminal and Prince-Heinrich street had gorgeous peach, apricot and quince trees, and was also part of the residence. Across from the house on Prince-Heinrich street was a wide, open area of meadowland, which reached to the Oder river and northward to Stettin. It afforded a wonderful view to the Pommern range of hills, beyond the east arm of the Oder River. After a two-kilometer stroll through the meadows, which formed a yellow carpet of flowers during the spring, followed by a mauve and white one during the summer and finally a red one, the white beach of the river was reached. The meadows were flooded during the winter and had mirror-like ice sheet. Gustav and Helene were good skaters and could often be seen on the ice. Whenever there was pleasant weather, a band played on the ice and the sports enthusiasts of Schwedt could be seen on the ice as far as the eye could see.

The road led past the residence to the small forest “Heinrichslust”, a 10-minute stroll, past the barracks buildings of the 2nd Dragoon Regiment. After the small forest one crossed the bridge over the Welse River and came to extensive sandy pine forests, the area which the playwright [Theodor] Fontane called the “Streusandüchse” (dredger) of the Mark.

The garrison, the old margrave’s castle with its summer residence “Mon Plaisier”, the gymnasium of the Hohenzollern, and last but not least, the city itself with the impressive “Schloßfreiheit”, the old buildings and the pleasant surrounding were an excursion destination for many Berliners. It was called the “Potsdam of the Uckermark.” This small city stood out from many others through its lively social life with private and public events. Gustav belonged to the German Colonial Society, the Overseas Germanism Club and the Rower Club of Schwedt. Bowling took place every Friday evening. The ladies held their coffee klatsch at the same time, taking turns hosting it. The gentlemen picked them up after their sports activities.

Gustav could dedicate some of his time to hunting in Schwedt, as he had precious little time while in Greifenhagen. The area had extensive forests and many hunting grounds, and Gustav was invited to numerous hunting events, so leasing was unnecessary. Among closer acquaintances were the Müllers and Staaks, who were executives of the Dieterle tobacco firm; Müller had lived for many years in the Philippines before the outbreak of World War I. Also there was the family of the customs official Köhler and the general agent Hessler. Not to be left out was the Kettlitz family, who lived in the same house. He was department head of the Schwedt Indemnity Insurance Company. His father owned a stately villa on Prince-Heinrich street, kiddy-corner from us. He was one of those old dragoons, who were positioned close to Paris during the 1870–71 war. He retired as second lieutenant and was decorated with many medals and the Iron Cross first class. This was a great honor for a soldier who came up from the ranks in this regiment, whose officers all belonged to the nobility.

The food supply was insufficient during the first years after the war. Many children became ill with rickets because of the lack of cod liver oil, and many adults came down with lung tuberculosis. Helene did not feel well for quite some time and lost weight. The family doctor, health commissioner Dr Lobeck, ordered a checkup at the medicinal clinic of the Charite (the University Clinic of Berlin), where a double-sided tuberculosis in the lower lung lobes was diagnosed. The illness was cured during a stay at the sanatorium in Hohenlychen, with the ozone-rich air of the pine forest surrounding it. Shortly before this, Gustav contracted a serious infection. After a fall which injured his elbow, a deep infection of the connective tissues on his lower arm developed. The family doctor treated it with an operative procedure. Following this, Gustav became ill with a carbuncle on his neck, followed by a stubborn furunculosis, which also required several operative procedures. The treatment continued for several months; chemotherapy or antibiotics were not yet known.

The Red menace (Communist activities), rooted in underground preparations, flared up everywhere in the country. Nothing was going on in the small town of the Mark which would resemble a revolution, but the Communists felt that the time was ripe to make their presence felt in public. No matter how clumsy and foolish, they often became dangerous. Gustav, who always had a heart for his workers, now found he was reviled and things were stolen from him. Red labor delegations appeared in his office, pounded their fists on the desk and demanded more pay for less work. What nonsense – as if Gustav would be able to improve their lot. He often got herrings and beer for them at his own expense, when they had worked hard. Now this was their thanks.

The economy and daily life suffered greatly from the effects of the inflation; all the wealth dissipated because of it. If the monthly salary was not immediately spent, it lost a part of its value daily, and sometimes by the hour. It would take billions of German Marks to mail a letter and trillions to buy food. People got used to thinking in astronomical figures.

In 1924, Gustav was appointed as railroad engineer.

In 1927, Eckhard left the parental home after he passed his exam and took up the study of medicine.

In 1929, Gustav was recalled to Greifenhagen; reluctantly they left the small, picturesque and lively city with its old landmarks, the castle, the tobacco silos and its large tobacco plantations. While the move took place, Helene was in the surgical department of the University Clinic in Berlin, where she underwent surgery performed by Professor Martin, who substituted for the privy councilor Bier at the time. Her right upper arm bone, including the base of the joint were removed because of a tumor which had metastasized, and the bone of the left calf was implanted. It was temporarily impossible to find the primary tumor. The post-operative and otherwise well developing healing process was disturbed by a lung embolism, which also healed well.

This time they moved into a company apartment on the first floor of the railroad building. Gustav resumed his former tasks, which were more stressful in his advancing years than in earlier times. In addition there were the worries about his wife’s health, who withdrew more and more from friends and acquaintances. The success of the operation was very good, which enabled her to do her housework. She crocheted a large white woolen scarf among other items, but again swellings developed from time to time.

The transfer to Bad Schönfliess, a health resort in the Neumark in 1932 was not an unwelcome opportunity for both of them. Gustav found easier working conditions, and Helene could live more in seclusion. She especially enjoyed her daily strolls along the lakeshore or the nearby surroundings, which brought her joy and diversion. The song of birds or a beautiful plant gave her equanimity from the loss of societal diversions, which she was forced to forego because of her ailment. Increased pain in her right arm and the kidney area brought her difficult hours. A metastasis on her thyroid gland was treated with radiation; another mediastinal metastasis was resistant to radiation. The kidney tumor in her left kidney could only diagnosed by x-rays and surgery was ruled out.

On 2 Sep 1932, Gustav was appointed as railway overseer. Eckhard passed the State Medical Exam in February 1933 and the Doctorate of Medicine was bestowed upon him during the same year.

Gustav’s office building in Schönfliess was directly beside the railway station. He could often be seen in his office, bent over his drawing board designing new concepts. Regrettably, all of his drawings and sketches, collected in a sturdy leather-bound portfolio during his early years, displaying technical prowess and beautiful drawings, ready to be printed, drawings of office buildings, dwellings with blueprints, bridges, etc., were lost because of an unfortunate incident. When Gustav was absent a long time at a bridge construction near Hammerstein in West Prussia, and Helene was in the hospital, the otherwise efficient maid servant used all of his drawings as wrapping paper. She found them in the attic, where Gustav stored them because of lack of space in his desk.

The company residence was located on the other side of the railroad station. Gustav completely renovated it upon his arrival in Schönfliess. He ordered the construction of a summer house vis-a-vis from the house gable, so that Helene, when her health condition did not permit a stroll, could enjoy the garden, fresh air and the sun.

After the stupendous upheaval in 1933, which Gustav noted only from the sidelines, he gave the oath of office to Adolf Hitler on 27 Aug 1934, as required by law. He neither got involved in politics nor did he associate with the party. For this reason he never joined the NSDAP (National Socialist German Workers Party), but he was a co-founder of the National Socialist Aviators Corps in Schönfliess.

On 30 Jan 1935, Gustav fell ill with serious influenza, from which he did not recover. Eckhard accompanied him during the spring of the same year on his last official inspection of his railroad route, and they combined that with a stroll through the beautiful landscape of the Mark. He had already complained about his general physical weakness and his lack of appetite. As time went by, pain developed in his upper-right stomach area and ulcerations were found on his lower leg, which forced him to give up his work. He underwent a thorough checkup during the middle of June 1935, at the 2nd Medicinal Clinic of the Charite, which then was headed by Professor von Bergmann. The diagnosis was liver or pancreas carcinoma, but a liver cirrhosis could not be ruled out. Either way, it was a hopeless case with a foreboding prognosis. The condition worsened rapidly after Gustav returned home. He soon became totally bedridden from the accelerating cachexia (generally weakened and emaciated condition), brought on by jaundice and an accumulation of fluid and blood in the peritoneal cavity of the abdomen (sanguinolent ascites). On 12 Aug 1935, at 1:30 in the afternoon, Gustav succumbed from his serious ailment at the age of 59 years.

He had every reason to be proud of his professional achievements, and often was rewarded with special financial grants by the German Railroad. Nevertheless he was possessed with an almost exaggerated modesty. His wife and son were at his side when he uttered his last words: “You, Eckhard, never forget to thank your mother what you have achieved . . . children, I am not afraid to die.” This happened during noontime on a hot and oppressive summer day. The solemn stillness was only interrupted when a farm vehicle passed by. Straight and upright as the gait of this slender and tall man was, so was also his inner attitude of honest sincerity. He loved his wife and his son with all his heart. He was an ardent Christian, although he seldom found his way to church, because, he said, the women wanted only to show off their newest dresses. His place of devotion and prayer was the solitude – and he really prayed.

A poem was found in his briefcase after his death, which he dedicated to his long-suffering wife, for whom was no more hope:

You were a German housewife,

In all your duties exact,

You were a German mother,

The model of a wife!

With toiling and caring you have

Labored year-out and year-in:

You had the industriousness of bees,

Which never grow weary.

You had the well-being of your loved ones

At all times on your mind;

And if it was required to make a sacrifice,

You gladly were willing to oblige.

How your heart was filled with kindness

So immeasurably rich,

Understanding and devoted,

With virtues unparalleled!

You noble one, there was no title,

No exalted rank that would make you happy,

There was no royal crown

Which adorned your venerable head.

But if the rose of virtue

Would be in our German land

Earned by someone – it would have been you

You, not a forgotten wife.

After a funeral service at home, the body was taken to Berlin, where it was interred at the Southwest Cemetery in Berlin-Stahnsdorf.

Helene dissolved the household in Schönfliess after Gustav’s death and moved to Berlin, so that she could be near her son. She and her maid lived in a 2½-room apartment on Prenzlauer Allee (street) in Berlin-Weißensee. Her condition began to worsen considerably. She spent the last months of her life in the stillness of her apartment under excruciating pain. She enjoyed the visits of Eckhard or other relatives very much, when they spent a few hours with her. She didn’t let anybody know about the seriousness of her illness and the excruciating pain until close to the end. She refused any pain-killing medicine. She believed, because of her great religious devotion, and by reading her Bible and hymn book daily, that her sufferings are God’s will. She had a nurse with her during her last weeks. She suffered a sudden feeling of faintness toward noon on the last day of her life, which she still spent outside of her bed, and collapsed. The nurse put her in her bed and notified Eckhard, who remained at her bedside during her last hours. She was fully conscious and said to him, like always: “It is 4 o’clock, you have to get back to the clinic.” A contented smile was on her lips. Then she fell quietly asleep and said nothing more. The heart stopped in the evening around 9 o’clock. The day was 19 Aug 1936, one year after the death of her husband. She found her last resting place beside Gustav’s at the Southwest cemetery in Berlin-Stahnsdorf.

There is a travertine gravestone in a wonderful place amidst high pine trees, with the names of the couple, divided with a simple bronze cross. Red pelargoniums, which they both loved, decorate the bronze bowl on the marker and the moss-covered graves. The gravestone was made according to my design. I often sat under the rustling of the tall pine trees on the small bench beside them and thought about their lives together. I’m denied visiting this beloved place today. Stahnsdorf is located in the part of Berlin which is controlled by Communist Russia. The gravestone was damaged through combat and the bronze bowl was stolen.

The following map of the parental homestead site and land reveals the following:

Helene Kühl came from an old farm family, whose ancestors can be traced through many lines to the middle of the 16th century. They lived on farms near the Baltic Sea in the area between Wollin and Cammin. Localities such as Scharchow, Jassow, Büssentin, Polchow and Laatzig were repeatedly mentioned. Numerous are the village mayors and church wardens; with honorary positions which were inherited by many generations. But there were also “Instmänner” (mediaeval designation of farm workers) among the ancestors. Those field workers had only a scant income from their strenuous labor. Count Ottfried Finckenstein composed the following poem, dedicated to them, which was published in a SS-publication in 1938 before the war:

The Farm Worker

A deadly vapor is floating from the sky

Over the open fields.

It forces the leaves of the last bushes

Into the grimy trails of the farm wagons.

Crows are sounding their plaintive cries

And flutter with their black, twitching wings

To welcome the looming winter’s approach.

But the expanse knows no pity,

It hides in the foggy monotony.

Woe! Woe!

Did you see the deer

With quivering flanks and shaggy hair

In turbulent flight?

Do you feel the nothingness,

Which gave birth to fear

And is now searching for you?

The lonely man, with his yoked team

There on the endless field of beets

Appears forgotten between day and night.

So gray is his attire, gray as the sorrow

And the shaggy manes of the horses.

Even the earth has lost its motherly warmth.

She cries.

Cold tears well from her pores

And combined they flow into the bleak puddles,

Which sparkle without brilliance in the twilight.

The horses are neighing and want to move along

But the man forces them to stop.

Silently he bends his back with a heavy load.

His hands are grasping

And swing back without haste,

They seem to touch the low firmament.

Why oh why?

Who gave him the strength,

Without fervor to tarry in the icy death

Which threatens him round about?

Who drove the old stubborn fool

Into the cold and damp death?

It was duty

And that was all.

But hard is the day’s work,

And small were the wages

For the stern monotony of the hours.

And if the father dies, then the son

Will be found to do the same work.

Thus they go through the course of time,

Quiet men with quiet contentment.

One falls and the other gets up,

They plant, they hoe, they plow,

They slave away and they give:

Eternal, holy life!

Helene remained the youngest of 12 children, after the last born son, a weakly infant, died soon after birth.

The city of Wollin was always the center of the life for the ancestors of the Kühl family. Here, shopping was done, fairs were held, the relatives from the countryside met, and here was the cemetery for the residents of Hagen. The way from Hagen to Wollin led past several bridges and through the lush “Plagewiesen” (meadows), which are between Hagen and Wollin as two islands in the Dievenow River. A wooden drawbridge crossed the river in Wollin, was later replaced with a concrete bridge. A beautiful view toward Wollin is afforded from the riverbank in Hagen. The two churches with their red roofs, on the other side of the river, take a commanding view over the town. Many small and large fishing trawlers make their way from its shores to the Baltic Sea. Often one could see artists at their easels in the narrow picturesque streets.

After the Second World War, our erstwhile western adversaries awarded this authentic German jewel to the Poles, although Poles had never lived there.

The splendor of the once fabulously wealthy Vineta is still over this small city, where children once played with their marbles of gold. God did not shed his approval over this abundance and buried this city under water.

There was not a single Pommern schoolbook which did not contain a story about Vineta, and every child knew the waltz “Vineta Bells” by Lindsay-Theimer.

The last veil which covers Vineta has not yet been lifted. It is still not certain today, if Vineta was indeed located below or around the city of Wollin or if it was farther to the west at the open Baltic seacoast on the island of Usedom. It is also not quite certain if it had sunk into the sea as a prosperous city or if it had already been destroyed and abandoned when it disappeared.

Before me is an old original Mercator map from the year of 1554, where Vineta was shown to be on a small island, located near the coast of Usedom: “Vineta emporium destructum anno 1030 a Conrado rege Danie”, was added by the author.

First let’s see what the brothers Hermann and Georg Schreiber had to report in their book, “Submerged Cities”, published by Paul Neff Verlag, Stuttgart, 1955:

“Roughly a millennium after the high tides caused by storms over the Atlantic, which, also caused the Celtic city of Ys to sink into the floods, as well as the disappearance of smaller harbors, severe flood catastrophes struck northern Germany. The exact dates when they occurred are known: The flood on All Saints day (Nov. 1) in the year of 1304 ravaged wide areas of coastline at the mouth of the Oder River, tore the strip of land, called the “Ruden” from the isle of Rügen and submerged the northwest portion of the isle of Usedom at the mouth of the Peene River, The other, so-called Marcellus flood on 16 Jan 1352 remained for centuries as the most severe flood caused by the North Sea, created such deep inroads into the north Frisian coastline that a later flood on 11 Oct 1634 ripped the isle of Nordstrand into four parts.

Large and small settlements, fishing villages and harbors fell victim to all of these flood catastrophes. If one researches the documents and affirmations from that time, he will learn to appreciate the classic clarity of a Strabon (Greek geographer, born about 63 B.C.), a Philon of Alexandria (Jewish-Hellenistic philosopher, born about 10 B.C.), or Pomponius Mela (Roman philosopher), who provide us with more reliable information of the past than the diverse chronicles from the German middle ages. The uncertainty begins with the names of the cities. There was a Wendish city at the Baltic Sea, called Jumne, a name which does not give us any clue and which does not lead us to think of sunken bells or treasures at the bottom of the sea. An early chronicler formulated the Latin word Jumneta from this and spelled it IVMNETA, and another perceived these letters as VIMNETA, which finally resulted in the famous legendary Vineta and its far too colorful and sonorous storybook name. Since this name eclipsed all other cities swallowed up by the sea, particularly within the German speaking area, and even was given to other cities (like a “Vineta of the Mediterranean”, etc.), we must briefly discuss this city. It was probably occupied only by stray dogs and hordes of rats rather than by rich merchants, when it was swallowed up by the sea.

The centuries-old uncertainty about the location of Vineta (which remains the name of this city) was settled by Professor Richard Henning in insightful examinations and drawn-out discussions with local researchers, whose intricacies we don’t need to pursue here. The convincing argument was provided by geographical trade routes, which connected a flourishing commercial center to the sea as well as to the interior, on a heavily traveled road. This favors the hypothesis that Vineta was located at the northwest end of the isle of Usedom, across from Rügen, which the cartographer Jansonius included on a map in 1649, with the remark, “Vineta emporium olim celeber aquar. aestu absorptum”, which roughly means, “ The Vineta trading center at that time was submerged by the waters of the sea.”

The legend purports that the small, storm-tossed Breton coast town of Ys had great riches and even a king, was proved correct to a degree, because researchers came to the conclusion that it was a rich trade center, even a metropolis for the pre-Hanseatic Baltic Sea trade. It was a city of Wends which still remained much aloof toward Christianity and traded with infidels, namely Arabs, which is evidenced by hundreds of thousand of Arabian coins, that were found in the southern and central areas of the Baltic Sea. Here was reason enough for punishment, insofar that the German seaports of Kiel and Lübeck and the German tradesmen in Wisby wanted to have this trade for themselves. At this time the main opponents of the East-West trade, which brought prosperity to Vineta, were the presently peaceful Danes, and they didn’t wait for the “divine punishment”. The city, although favorably located but unprotected, was captured and looted by the Danes in 1098, or perhaps 20 years later, and was never restored again. The Holstein historian Helmold, who described the conversion of the Slavs to Christianity in his “Chronica Slavorum”, mentioned the ruins of the city in 1168. These ruins with the surrounding area were covered by the largest, historically-known flood of the Baltic Sea 150 years later.

Incidentally, it soon became obvious that the Danes inflicted damage upon themselves during their premature campaign of plunder. Following the elimination of Vineta, the city of Lübeck increasingly rose to dominance and concluded a treaty with the Wendish cities, resulting with the downfall of Denmark as sea power in 1361. This was accelerated with the blockade of the Danish coasts by the Hanse, a mediaeval league of free towns in northern Germany and adjoining countries.

Actually, the story of Vineta would have found its place in another chapter of this book as one of the cities destroyed through the war. Since it became a legendary prototype for sunken cities for the German readers, especially through Wilhelm Müller’s beautiful ballad, we want to try in a few sentences to conjure up a picture of this interesting city as well as its harbor.

More often than not these almost fantastic sounding stories of old chroniclers and later travelers give the most important indications. The peculiarities are easier to be localized by the historian than the ordinary people. Thus it is stated in the Jomsviking legend (which we quote according to Henning): “…afterwards Palnatoki hurriedly ordered the building of a large fortress, which was later called Jomsburg. He also had a large harbor constructed, where about 250 long barges could find room and all of them were protected by the fortress.” Apparently this was a kind of protective castle for ships; a facility, which, in view of the numerous assaults by pirates in the murky Baltic Sea, could have been of special importance during that time. At the same time the mystery which hung over Jomsburg and Jumne (as IVMNETA was actually called) for a long time was solved. Nobody could imagine how city and fortress were situated, either together or side by side. It was certainly a bold idea to have the harbor within the fortress area, and was perhaps advantageous traffic-wise, and for pirates an even more tempting situation. Let’s continue and see how this “Gibraltar of the Baltic Sea” was able to protect its trading port: “Everything in this harbor was arranged with great skillfulness and there was also a gate-like lock. A large stone arch was over the strait. Strong iron latches were at the front of the gates and were locked with iron spikes from the inside. On top of the iron arch was a large outwork, where many slingshots were kept. A portion of the fortress extended out into the sea . . . and the harbor was therefore located within the Jomsburg” (fortress).

This was around 980 A.D. About the same time, Ibrahim Ibn Jakub, a much-traveled Arabian merchant of the 10th century, reported about a Slavic tribe, which resided at the coast to the west of the Poles: “They have an important city close to the surrounding sea, with twelve gates and a harbor. They have excellent harbor regulations there.” That probably pertains to the harbor gates and entry ways for ships. We can understand that such a harbor made an impression on the widely-traveled Arab.

Another special feature set Vineta apart: the city had, if we’re not mistaken, the first signal fire of the Baltic Sea, located for many years in front of Travemünde. That indicated this town already had an important harbor at the time. Adamus Bremensis, who came from upper Saxony in spite of his Latin name was a school superintendent and chronicler of the Nordic Mission. He wrote in his “Descriptio insularis Aquilonis”, (description of a northern island): “there was a “olla vulcani”, the top of a volcano, “which the residents call Byzantine fire, as it was also called by Solinus”. The signal fires of the Roman empire had almost been forgotten during the 10th century; only Alexandria and a few harbors of the Byzantine empire lighted the way for the seafarers in this manner.

The people of the wealthy Vineta escaped when the Danes ravaged their beautiful city. It was only the ferocious sea which forced its way toward Rügen and the mouth of the Oder river during the night of All Saints day in 1304, and burying the bare ground and abandoned houses.”

In contrast to the comments by the Schreibers is a report published in the press during the last war, only fragments of which have been preserved. The paper it was published in and the author are not known to me any more:

Almost all historians who have dealt with the Vineta “question” agree that everything that old sources reported about Jumne and the Jomsburg (castle), is concentrated at the location where the former Julin-Wolllin was located. Prof. Hofmeister of Greifswald, whose descriptions are the most important in this regard, writes as follows about it: “The Vineta question is, as it is ordinarily formulated, not a ‘question.’ The stories of the old historiographers of ‘Vineta’ in their genuine, original form, is well known to us. It is important to me to bring to light again the old truth, which had been clearly stated in the contemporary Danish and Icelandic historical recordings. It was precisely and convincingly shown almost 100 years ago by Robert Klempin, a Pomeranian historian, a truth known 700-800 years ago, when the ‘Vineta’ legend had not yet obscured the real Jumne-Julin location.”

Through comparable critique of the old texts, he reached this conclusion: The word “Vineta” which has become generally accepted, is nothing more than a misreading by a copyist of an earlier, but not original record. This error can be attributed to the old writing of the letter U, which was written as a V: IVMNETA (derived from Jumne) and was erroneously read as Vineta. However, that Jumne was located where Wollin is today, has been clearly proven.

Excavations in and around Wollin began prior to the Second World War. They revealed that there once had been one of the largest cities of the antiquity here, a Pomeranian-Viking metropolis. Several thousand people already lived here many centuries ago. This Pomeranian-Viking settlement was a safe location. It was sealed off by swamps toward the island’s interior. The entrance at Dievenow is hard to find from the Haff (lagoon), because it is concealed by the peninsula of Roof. Protection was provided from the north by the walls of the Polchow castle, and by the Dievenow River south of the isle of Gistrow. The Swine river could be blocked from the wall of Lebbin Castle, where incidentally another castle was later built. This triangular fortification was an ideal defense installation, because there was a clear view to a wall north of Wollin from Lebbin as well as from Polchow. Therefore signals could be given whenever enemies approached.

It was found that there were several strata of settlements. A firm layer of sediment was found at a depth of 8 meters, and all of the layers contained remnants of timber or other items from former settlements. As a spade dug into the sediment, unexpectedly there was more timber. There must have been a very early settlement here, which was flooded by a high tide.

In the “cities below the city” there were wooden toy horses, spindles with spools, knitting needles, knives and spoons with nordic ornaments.

The archeological site, closest to the “Haff” (lagoon) is located at the south end of the highest Galgenberg (Gallows Hill), which is a stone-age find from about 2000 B.C. Another archeological site from the stone age was found on the Silberberg. A large time span lies separates this stone age settlement and the second oldest site. This second site is a grave of a member of a Germanic tribe, located at the northernmost foothills of the Galgen mountains, at the outskirts of today’s town, where a skeleton of a warrior and a completely preserved beautiful vessel were found. The other numerous sites are scattered over the entire area from the east side of the Galgenberg to the Silberberg, which includes the area where Wollin is located today. They prove that this large area had been inhabited fairly evenly for a long time. This applies for the middle and late Wendish era, as well as for the Wendish/Viking era.

The large cemetery at the west side of the Galgen mountains also belongs chronologically to this era. There are about 100 grave mounds, still clearly visible today. In large measure, the people of this era chose for the last resting place of their dead, one of the nicest places in their settlement.

The silvery expanse of the Haff lies before us; on the right are the wooded hilltops of the interior of the isle, of which the highest of them are the Lebbiner mountains at the mouth of the Swine River. Terrific storms blow around these hills during the colder months, and they are so strong that they can blow people off their feet.

Many strata of settlements were discovered at the east side of the mountain, which abuts the Swine River, and shards of pottery are scattered by the thousands over the sand. A side of the slope was exposed and shows several strata; the soil is colored dark from rotted wood, ashes and other materials, with a fine grey to deep black.

The terrain north of the city in front of and around Silberberg is perhaps the most interesting of all. Silberberg derives its name from 12 “Hacksilver” funds during the 16th and 17th centuries. (Hacksilver is jewelry of Nordic, Viking and Oriental origin, chopped up by the Wends and used as currency, and some of them were discovered undamaged, which enabled us to determine the origins of their manufacture). Unfortunately, Silberberg has been eroded to a large degree through a huge sand pit, which shifted into its center. The walls of the pit clearly show the dark fireplaces of the shacks which had once stood there. There also are several visible layers. The Silberberg drops off sharply toward the north; Chronicles tell about a ”Castle Wall” at the north side of the city, and is possible that future excavations could someday reveal some wooden structures.

The shards found here are more richly ornamentated than all the others. The style of these ornamentations is closely related to pure Nordic finds. In any case, this settlement at Silberberg must have been inhabited by wealthier people than other parts of the city. No foundations or wood structures were found here or in the south; wood was not resistant to rot in the dry sand, and other materials also decayed.

Between the city and the settlement at the Silberberg lie a number of gardens and a large peat bog, which is partly filled with water. The water level of this peat bog and the Dievenow River are the same. A flat swampland is between both bodies of water. A few old-timers of Wollin claim that an old boat was found sometime ago in the soil of the garden around the peat bog.

The ancient [city of] Jumne once had an interior harbor, so the legend goes. Could the peat bog in Wollin be Palnatoki’s harbor? It remains to be seen what could be discovered in later years during excavations in the piece of land between Silberberg and Dievenow.”

In this regard, the oldest documented publication about Vineta will be quoted, which was written by Bishop Adalbert von Bremen in 1074 A.D.:

“Beyond the Leutizier, also named, Wilzen, begins the Oder, the largest river of the land of the Slavs. At its mouth, where it skirts the Scythian swamps (Baltic Sea), the very important city of Jumne presents itself as a much frequented central stop-over for the Barbarians and Greeks from the surrounding area. Since there are great and barely believable things being said in praise of the city, I find it appropriate to add some items worth mentioning. It is indeed the largest of all the cities, including all the cities of Europe, and is inhabited by Slavs and others, Greeks and Barbarians. Arriving Saxons also receive the same right to live there, provided they don’t profess to be Christians while living there, because they are still encumbered with the heresy of heathenish idolatry. Otherwise no people can be found who are more honorable or good-hearted in regard to morality and hospitality. This city is filled with the products of all Nordic countries and possesses all pleasantries and rarities. There is also a “Volcano’s Pot” (signal fire for the sea travel), which the natives call “Greek Fire”, and is also mentioned by Solinus (Greek philosopher). There, Neptun shows himself in three ways: the island is surrounded by three seas, one has a green appearance, the second has a white one, and the third sea rages in angry agitation with constant storms. One can row from this city on a short ride in one direction to the city of Demmin, which is located at the mouth of the Peene River, where also the Runen (residents of the isle of Rügen) live; in the other direction it leads to the province of Samland, which is occupied by the Prussians. The route is such that one can reach the city of Jumne over land from Hamburg and the Elbe River in seven days; but if one wants to go across the sea, he has to board a ship either in Schleswig or in Aldenburg.”

Although Schreibers and chroniclers put the destruction of their Vineta by the Danes in the year of 1098 or later, according to the topographical description by Adalbert von Bremen, this could only have been today’s Wollin. This was, according to the “Grosse Brockhaus” lexicon of 1957, destroyed at least ten times between the years of 900 to 1200 A.D.

The excavation the Wollin project shares the fate of its subject matter. The work had to be halted during the Second World War without being completed. Dr Wilde, the local project chairman, has been missing in action since the last days of the war. The collections and documents, protocols, preliminary sketches, maps and photographs were destroyed with a large part the city of Wollin in 1945. Remaining are a few partial publications and research reports.

Ballad by Wilhelm Müller:


From the sea’s deep, deep bottom

Evening bells are ringing muffled and dull,

Make known to us the wonderful story

Of the beautiful old miraculous city.

Sunken into the deep sea

Its ruins remain below.

Its pinnacles send golden sparks

Reappearing on the sea’s surface.

And the skipper who saw the wondrous glimmer

once in the brightness of the sunset,

Always sails to the same spot

Even if the reefs are threatening around it.

And the poem by Bartz-Catschow:


Oh, the thunderous roar of the sea!

Golden dream of summer!

The wave foam dissipates at my feet:

Monotonous splash the fisherman’s oars

Day by day I dream in the sand dunes.

Vineta’s towers rise proudly upward;

the sound of the bells reach my dreaming ear.

The golden pinnacles glow in the sunset.

The heavily laden boat sails toward the harbor.

The sea is calm, its level smooth as glass;

The merchant’s city lies in deep sleep.

The night is black. Eerie roars the tide;

It rises up; it churns with great fury.

The sea thrashes on steep slopes,

It claws at tower and gate with its fangs.

Do you hear the scream,

The curse from human mouths?

Vineta sank to the bottom of the sea!

All is lost: Lust and clamor of the world!

Far removed is life’s noisy field of labor.

The wave foam fades away in the sand

Oh, the thunderous roar of the sea!

Golden dream of summer!

Shortly before the Second World War, the pastor of the church in Jassow, Mr Bahr, laboriously compiled the following pedigree of Helene Kühl from the parish registers available to him. He had the good fortune that not all parish registers of this area fell victim to the 30-Years War. In appreciation, I paid him a visit in Lauenburg on the Elbe, where he is in charge of the first pastorate. The largest portion of the parish registers in the Soviet Zone of Germany, if not all of them, have most likely been destroyed.

Pedigree of

Helene Auguste Luise Kühl

1. Kühl, Helene Auguste Luise, born in Hagen near Wollin, Pommern, on 22 Nov 1882, died in Berlin on 19 Aug 1936, married in Wollin, St. Georg Church on 27 Jun 1904 to railway engineer Gustav Albert Ulrich Wessel, born in Grambow, Randow, Pommern, on 14 Apr 1876, died in Bad Schönfliess (Neumark) on 12 Aug 1935.

2. Kühl, Johann Friedrich Wilhelm, master blacksmith, born in Hagen near Wollin, Pommern, on 14 May 1839, died in Hagen on 7 Jun 1911. married in Nemitz on 22 Jan 1869.

3. Müller, Erika Auguste Luise Rosaline, born in Schnatow on 18 Jan 1843, died in Hagen on 1 Sep 1919.

4. Kühl, Michael Friedrich, farmer, born in Coeselitz on 7 Mar 1779, died in Hagen on 26 May 1842, married in Laatzig on 20 Dec 1831.

5. Wurow, Benengel, born in Laatzig on 30 July 1799, died in Hagen on 3 Feb 1843.

6. Müller, Johann Gottfried, farmer, born in Plastichow, Cammin, Pommern, on 27 Nov 1807, died in Hagen on 22 Jan 1894, married in Jassow on 13 Dec 1836.

7. Helm, Luise, born in Scharchow on 5 Jul 1807, died in Schnatow on 27 Dec 1862.

8. Kühl, Michael Friedrich, farmer and granary worker, born in Coeselitz on 26 Feb 1747, married in Coeselitz on 20 Nov 1772.

9. Lettow, Sophia, born in Batzlaff on 15 Nov 1740.

10. Wurow, Michael, farmer, born in Laatzig on 29 Apr 1755, died in Laatzig on 15 Feb 1820, married in Laatzig on 2 Nov 1798.

11. Wille, Anna Catharina, born in Laatzig on 6 Mar 1766, died in Laatzig on 27 Jul 1833.

12. Müller, Joachim, farmer, born in Jassow on 31 Dec 1776, married at the Görke church, 3 Dec 1806.

13. Harder, Maria Dorothea, born in Gaulitz on 29 Feb 1776.

14. Helm, Johann, farmer and church warden, born in Scharchow on 11 Oct 1762, died in Scharchow on 10 Apr 1837, married in Jassow on 6 Oct1785.

15. Retzlaff, Sophia, born in Scharchow on 1 Mar 1767, died in Scharchow on 20 Jul 1820.

16. Kühl, Daniel Christian, farmer, married in Coeselitz on 14 Sep 1739.

17. Wisskow, Anne Maria, born in Wietstock on 2 Apr 1718.

18. Lettow, Gottfried, village mayor and church warden in Batzlaff.

20. Wohrow, Jochim, farmer, baptized in Laatzig on 25 Oct 1716, died in Laatzig on 10 Aug 1795, married in Laatzig on 11 Nov 1739.

21. Barckhahnen, Elisabeth, baptized in Laatzig on 9 Mar 1721, died in Laatzig on 10 Jan 1797.

22. Wille, Christian Friedrich, farm worker, born 1727, died in Laatzig on 24 Apr 1802, married in Laatzig on 29 Oct 1762.

23. Behn (Berndt), Elisabeth, born Laatzig 19 Oct 1738, died Laatzig 24 Jul 1813.

24. Müller, Christian, farmer, died in Jassow.

25. Chinno, Maria.

26. Harder, Erdmann, farmer, born 1724, died in Staeven on 30 Dec 1810, married in Wollin at St. Georg’s church on 8 Nov 1771.

27. Radloff, Regina, born in Staeven on 18 Sep 1746.

28. Helm, Hans, farmer, born in Scharchow on 21 Jan 1720, died in Scharchow on 29 Dec 1797, married in Cammin at St. Nicolai on 9 Nov 1746.

29. Gruel, Catharina, born in Polchow on 27 Nov 1729, died in Scharchow on 29 Apr 1807.

30. Retzlaff, Christian, farmer, village mayor and church warden, born in Scharchowon 26 Nov 1732, died in Scharchow on 7 Dec 1807, married in Jassow on 18 Nov 1761.

31. Langnef, Maria, born in Scharchow, died in Scharchow on 6 Jan 1820.

34. Wisskow, Michael, residing in Wietstock.

40. Wohron, Erthmann, farmer, born in in 1681, died in Laatzig on 21 Feb 1761.

41. Grubenhagen, Catharina, born in 1695, died in Laatzig on 19 Apr 1770.

42. Barckhahnen, Caspar.

43. Freisen, Catharin.

46. Behn, Martin, farmer, baptized in Laatzig on 5 Jan 1707, died in Laatzig on 10 Apr 1748, married in Laatzig on 2 Nov 1735.

47. Barckhahnen, Maria, baptized in Laatzig on 10 Jan 1712, died in Laatzig on 3 Feb 1787.

54. Radloff, Gottfried, farmer, born in 1703, died in Staeven on 6 Jul 1758.

55. Unknown name, born in 1703, died in Staeven on 2 Mar 1749.

56. Helm, Hans, farmer and administrator of the parish, born in Scharchow on 28 Jan 1691, died in Scharchow on 9 Oct 1757, married in Jassow on 18 Oct 1712.

57. Krüger, Sophia, born in Scharchow on 26 May 1688, died in Scharchow on 28 Mar 1776.

58. Gruel, Marten, baptized in Polchow on 29 Oct 1703, died in Polchow on 21 Oct 1746, married in Cammin on 18 Oct 1728.

59. Leuthen, Maria, baptized in Polchow on 4 Apr 1707.

60. Retzlaff, Peter, farmer and village mayor, born in Scharchow on 23 Mar 1707, died in Scharchow on 31 Jan 1749, married in Jassow on 5 Nov 1731.

61. Götcke, Sophia, born in Scharchow on 18 Mar 1710.

62. Langnef, Michael, farmer, born in Büssentin on 6 Jun 1721, died in Scharchow on 7 Apr 1758, married in Jassow on 8 Jan 1741.

63. Abraham, Sophia, born in Scharchow on 25 Jan 1715, died in Scharchow on 24 Feb 1758.

92. Behn, Hanns, farmer, died in Laatzig in 1737.

93. Heuers, Catharina, born in 1684, died in Laatzig on 2 Jan 1746.

94. Barckhahnen, Hans, farmer, born in 1679, died in Laatzig on 27 Jan 1760, married in Laatzig on 27 Oct 1706.

95. Gramcken, Benigna, born in 1684, died in Laatzig on 17 Dec 1758.

112. Helm, farmer and parish administrator, born in Scharchow on 1 Feb 1643, died in Scharchow on 28 Nov 1704, married in Jassow on 13 Oct 1673.

113. Köhler, Maria, born in Büssentin on 15 Mar 1653, died in Scharchow on 30 Nov 1713.

114. Krüger, Peter, farmer and church warden, born in Jassow on 29 Jan 1647, died in Jassow on 18 May 1724, married in Jassow on 8 Nov 1675.

115. Kühl, Engel, born in Büssentin on 25 Jan 1648, died in Jassow on 27 Jan 1720.

116. Gruel, Hans, born in 1670, died in Polchow on 30 Mar 1748, married in Cammin on 22 Nov 1702.

117. Schwanebeck, Catharina, born in 1668, died in Polchow on 23 Mar 1750.

118. Leuthen, Michel, born before 1677, married in Cammin on 13 Oct 1703.

119. Krüger, Engel, baptized in Polchow on 3 Sep 1681, died in Polchow on 28 Oct 1732.

120. Retschzlaff, Michel, farmer and village mayor, born in Jassow on 28 Aug 1662, died in Scharchow on 6 Mar 1745, married in Jassow on 5 Oct 1694.

121. Utech, Maria, born in Büssentin on 12 Mar 1656, died in Scharchow on 5 Aug 1731.

122. Götcke, Marten, farmer, born in Scharchow on 11 Apr 1681, died in Schar-chow on 19 Jan 1734, married in Jassow on 18 Oct 1706.

123. Gerdum, Maria, born on 27 May 1683, died in Scharchow on 6 Apr 1748.

124. Langnef, Friedrich, farmer, village mayor and church warden, born in 1683, died in Büssentin on 8 Nov 1759, married in Jassow on 18 Nov 1715.

125. Cöler, Maria, born in Büssentin on 21 Feb 1690, died in Büssentin on 28 Apr 1758.

126. Abraham, Marten, farmer, born in Scharchow on 4 Nov 1683, died in Scharchow on 21 Sep 1757, married in Jassow on 30 Oct 1713.

127. Beitschke, Maria, born on 8 Feb 1689, died in Scharchow on 5 Jul 1746.

190. Gramcken, farmer.

224. Helm, Hans, farmer and parish administrator, died in Scharchow on 20 Dec 1675, married in Jassow on 14 Jan 1633.

225. Ahrend, Ursula, born in 1612, died in Scharchow on 22 May 1679.

226. Köhler, Jochim, born in Büssentin on 26 Feb 1615, died in Büssentin on 15 Jul 1680, married in Gristow on 28 Oct 1644.

227. Dumstrey, Engel, born 1626, died on 9 Jan 1706.

228. Crüger, Jürgen, farmer and church warden, born in 1603, died in Jassow on 10 Feb 1666, married in Jassow on 4 Jul 1631.

229. Goetcke, Anna, born in Scharchow on 18 Dec 1605, died in Jassow on 29 Feb 1667.

230. Kühl, Jochim, farmer, born in 1612, died in Büssentin on 17 Feb 1667, married in Jassow on 29 Jul 1632.

231. Hoge, Ilsa, born in Büssentin on 5 Oct. 1605, died in Büssentin on 26 Oct. 1675.

232. Gruel, Hans, of Langenhagen.

234. Schwanebeck, Peter, farmer, died in Polchow on 27 Oct 1708.

235. Unknown name, died in Polchow on 7 Aug 1714.

236. Leuthen, Michel, died in Polchow on 23 Jan 1703.

237. Unknown name, died in Polchow on 1 May 1710.

238. Krüger, Hans.

240. Retzlaff, Michel, farmer, born in Jassow on 30 Aug 1630, died in Jassow on 29 Apr 1662, married in Jassow on 9 Oct 1654.

241. Zühlke, Ilsa, baptized in Büssentin on 21 Nov 1635, died in Jassow on 20 Feb 1720.

242. Utech, Hans.

244. Götcke, Jochen, cowherdsman and later farm worker, “Cubulcus Scharchoviensis”, baptized in Scharchow on 16 Feb 1642, died in Scharchow in Jan 1705, married in Jassow on 14 Oct 1672.

245. Abraham, Trina, born in Büssentin in Jul 1647, died in Scharchow on 28 May 1719.

246. Gerdum, Jochim, farmer, born in Scharchow on 13 Nov 1650, died in Scharchow on 26 Oct 1696.

247. Chinno, Ursel, died in Scharchow on 8 Jun 1709.

250. Cöler, Jochim, farmer, born in Büssentin on 7 Dec 1656, died in Büssentin on 18 Oct 1697, married in Jassow on 25 Oct 1686.

251. Volckmann, Maria, died in Büssentin on 1 Jan 1737.

252. Abraham, Hans, farmer, born in Scharchow on 23 Feb 1648, died in Scharchow on 2 Jul 1721, married in Jassow on 19 Oct 1685.

253. Riwe, Engel, died in Scharchow on 7 Dec 1732.

254. Beitschke, Peter, farmer, born in Scharchow on 11 Jul 1652, died in Scharchow on 12 Jul 1724, married in Jassow on 19 Oct 1685.

450. Ahrend, Hans, of Stresow.

452. Köhler, Pagel, church warden, died in Büssentin on 24 Sep 1630, married in Weichmühl (later called Königsmühl) on 3 Nov 1600.

453. Utech, Catharina, born in 1577, died in Büssentin on 3 Dec 1653.

454. Dumstrey, Marten, church warden in Cammin.

456. Kröger, Marten.

458. Goetcke, Marten, farmer, born in Scharchow on 15 Oct 1580, died in Scharchow on 10 May 1659, married in Coeselitz on 29 Oct 1604.

459. Radelof, Ilsebe, died in Scharchow on 28 Jun 1630.

462. Hoge, Michel, born in 1550, died in Büssentin on 16 Jan 1623.

463. Schaddelok, Anna, born in 1562, died in Büssentin on 30 Mar 1630.

480. Retzlaff, Jochim, farmer, born in 1613, died in Jassow on 17 Mar 1674.

481. Bojer, Anna, died in Jassow on 28 Sep 1674.

482. Zühlke, Jochim, master miller, village mayor, innkeeper and church warden, born in Reckow, died in Büssentin 9 Dec 1674, married in Jassow 1 May 1626.

483. Detmar, Ilse.

488. Götcke, Franz, farm worker, born in Scharchow on 6 Jul 1595, died in Scharchow on 26 Jan 1658, married in Jassow on 26 Oct 1640.

489. Plötz, Anna, born in Düssin on 29 Feb 1604, died in Scharchow 10 Feb 1677.

490. Abraham, Michel, farm worker, born in Scharchow on 30 Jan 1614, died in Cammin on 13 Feb 1664, married in Jassow on 27 Oct 1645.

491. Utech, Ilsa, died in Scharchow on 18 May 1697.

492. Gerdomb, Caspar, farmer and ferryman, born on 22 Aug 1619, died in Scharchow on 4 May 1681, married in Jassow on 22 Oct 1649.

493. Riebe, Catharina, born on 9 Feb 1625, died in Scharchow on 2 May 1696.

500. Cöler, Jochim, farmer.

504. Abraham, Hans, born in Scharchow on 11 Dec 1604, died in Scharchow on 5 Jun 1682, married in Jassow on 22 Oct 1632.

505. Götcke, Ilsa, born in Scharchow on 10 Nov 1612, died in Scharchow on 8 Sep 1672.

508. Beizke, Jacob, farm worker, born in Scharchow on 21 Jul 1604, died in Scharchow on 19 Dec 1668, married in Jassow on 28 Oct 1650.

509. Schwendtke, Elisabeth, born in Scharchow on 13 May 1626.

916. Götcke, Jost, died in Scharchow 22 Oct 1596, married in Jassow 5 Oct 1579.

917. Rackow, Anna, died in Scharchow on 6 Sep 1598.

962. Bojer, Franz.

963. Unknown name, died in Jassow 16 Feb 1631.

966. Detmar, Jochim, village mayor in Büssentin.

976. Götcke, Carsten, born in 1559, died in Scharchow on 30 Dec 1619.

977. Schulte, Gerda.

978. Plötz, Hans, died in Düssin on 24 Jun 1623, married at the Bergkirche St. Nicolai in Cammin, Pommern on 18 Oct 1602.

979. Loyten, Engele.

980. Abraham, Jochim, born in Scharchow on 3 May 1579, died in Scharchow on 9 Nov 1625, married in Jassow on 18 Oct 1602.

981. Wendland, Dorothea, born in 1580, died in Scharchow on 16 Oct 1654.

982. Utech, Andreas.

984. Gerdomb, Jochim, farmer, born in Scharchow on 2 Mar 1592, died in Scharchow on 5 Nov 1668, married in Jassow on 19 Oct 1618.

985. Schwenk, Catharina, born in 1594, died in Scharchow on 24 Feb 1663.

986. Riebe, Marten, farmer and village mayor, born in 1594, died in Jassow on 10 Sep 1670, married in Jassow on 2 Oct 1620.

987. Hintz, Catharina, born in Jassow on 17 Oct 1602, died in Jassow on 11 Oct 1662.

1008. Aberham, Jochim, born in Scharchow on 3 May 1579, died in Scharchow on 9 Nov 1625, married in Jassow on 18 Oct 1602.

1009. Wendland, Dorothea, born in 1580, died in Scharchow on 16 Oct 1654.

1010. Götcke, Marten, farmer, born in Scharchow on 15 Oct 1580, died in Scharchow on 10 May 1659, married in Coeselitz on 29 Oct 1604.

1011. Radloff, Ilsebe, died in Scharchow on 28 Jun 1630.

1016. Beiske, Georg, born in Revenow on 3 Mar 1573, died in Scharchow on 31 Oct 1638, married in Jassow on 27 Apr 1601.

1017. Gottschalk, Engele, born in Scharchow on 11 Mar 1578, died in Scharchow on 16 Jan 1644.

1018. Schwendtke, Peter, of Scharchow.

1956. Plötz, Hans, died in Düssin on 28 May 1601.

1960. Aberham, Georges, died in Scharchow on 4 Aug 1608. (see 2016)

1961. Unknown name, Gerderuth, died in Scharchow on 22 Aug 1603. (see 2017)

1968. Gerdom, Chim, miller, born in 1548, died on 30 Jun 1628, married in Jassow

on 12 Oct 1584.

1969. Dobberphul, Agnes, died in Scharchow on 23 Aug 1603.

1970. Schwenk, Peter, died in Scharchow on 12 Nov 1638.

1972. Riebe, Jochim, of Kahlen.

1974. Hinze, Jacob, died in Jassow on 29 Jan 1631, married in Jassow 7 Mar 1596.

1975. Goetke, Anna, died in Jassow on 18 Nov 1642.

2016. Aberham, Georges, died in Scharchow on 4 Aug 1608. (see 1960)

2017. Unknown name, Gerderuth, died in Scharchow on 22 Aug 1603. (see 1961)

2020. Götcke, Jost, died in Scharchow on 22 Oct 1596, married in Jassow on 5 Oct 1579.

2021. Rackow, Anna, died in Scharchow on 6 Sep 1598.

2032. Beitsche, Jacob, died in Revenow on 9 May 1591, married in Jassow 20 May 1588.

2033. Bonnin, Lene.

2034. Gottschalk, Marten.

3936. Gerdhom, Jochim, miller, died in 1584.

3937. Unknown name, died in 1582.

Notes to the Genealogical Table

re 2: Kühl, Johann Friedrich Wilhelm;

Teaching Contract: Wollin, the 29th of Jun, 1856.

Before the undersigned Board appeared today

The master blacksmith Haufschildt of Codramm,

The innkeeper, Mr Voeltz of Hagen, with his foster son of minority age, Friedrich Kühl (his parents died early), who are requesting to register the following teaching contract:

§ 1

The master blacksmith Haufschildt will accept Friedrich Kühl as apprentice for 3 years, in order to learn the profession of black smithing.

§ 2

The apprenticeship began on 18th May this year and will end on 18th May 1859.

§ 3

The apprentice Friedrich Kühl, through his guardian, the innkeeper, Mr Voeltz, will provide for all his clothing, and pay the fees for the registration and proposal, as well as the examination fees, and he will procure his own journeyman’s work clothing.

§ 4

The master [employer] in turn will provide bed, food and drink, and will oblige himself to do his best so that the apprentice will become a competent journeyman blacksmith after completion of his apprenticeship.

§ 5

The apprentice is 17 years old and therefore he is subject to pay taxes. He will have to pay the graduated tax from his own means. The apprentice passed the preliminary test satisfactorily, and the master promised to continue to instruct him in reading, writing and arithmetic during his apprenticeship, he furthermore declared his willingness to assume the cleaning of his laundry. The registration fee has been paid. There was nothing else to add. The protocol was read, approved and signed.

Friedrich KühlStiemke


Köppe GoldmannStellmacher


Journeyman Proclamation: Wollin, the 20th May, 1859

The Board met today in session upon request by the master blacksmith Haufschildt of Codram, to proclaim that his apprentice, Friedrich Kühl, who has completed his apprenticeship, is now a journeyman.

The young journeyman was sent to the Board of Examiners to demonstrate that his master had fulfilled his responsibility during the apprenticeship and his obligation toward him. Friedrich Kühl, in the presence of the Board of Examiners of the Guild, forged a pair of horseshoes, and, according to the declaration of the Board, the young journeyman possesses the abilities which are expected from an individual who has completed his apprenticeship.

Therefore, Friedrich Kühl was publicly pronounced today as journeyman of the honorable blacksmith’s trade and released from the apprenticeship, with the best wishes for achieving the position of journeyman.

Groß Haufschildt Voeltz

Friedrich Kühl

The Board of Directors:

Stiemke Goldmann Hamann Streich

Master Proclamation:

Today appeared the journeyman blacksmith Friedrich Kühl, born in Hagen near Wollin, 27 years of age, and stated:

“Since I am the owner of a house in Hagen, I intend to establish a blacksmith shop there, and independently pursue the blacksmith’s trade; but prior to this, I will submit to the examination as master craftsman, in order to fulfill the requirements of the industrial code.”

This was done at once and the applicant, Mr Kühl demonstrated great self-confidence and carefulness in forging, so that the examination board had only praise for his master piece and gave testimony that Friedrich Kühl has acquired all the skills of a successful master blacksmith and that there were no objections in accepting him. Therefore, Friedrich Kühl today was publicly pronounced as master blacksmith of this honorable trade, and all honors and rights belonging to a master blacksmith shall be granted to him, with the best wishes for achieving the position of a master blacksmith and a master craftsman’s diploma shall be issued to him.

Groß F. Kühl

The Board of Directors:

Streich Goldmann Nietzow

Friedrich Kühl was a very devout and exemplary family man. Work was the essence of his life. All the children were raised in a way that enabled them to succeed in life and reach their goal according to the education they received. He was a participant in the wars of 1866 and 1870/71; holder of the Veteran’s Medal of 1866 and the Commemorative Medal of 1870/71 as well as the Emperor Wilhelm I Medal. His interment took place with military honors.

Re 4: Kühl, Michael: “buried with military honors.”

Re 5: The Wurow’s farm was sold to Major von Plötz in 1885.

Re 6: Johann Gottfried Müller served with the 1st Guard Regiment as foot soldier in Potsdam.


 Michael Friedrich Schwem, farmer in Staeven;

 Johann Cinnow, farmhand in Staeven;

 Catharina Sophie Utech, born Barckow, wife of a farm worker in Gieskow.

He had four children:

Emilie, married to …, lived in Milwaukee, U.S.A.

Hermann, farmer, later residing in Cammin, Pommern, married, no children.

Erika, II,3 in the above pedigree.

Franz, lived in Stettin;

1st marriage in Cammin County,


Else, language teacher in Sicily, later in London; married with [Mr] Adams, manager of a branch office of Siemens-Halske in Brussels, later lived in Lausanne.

Hedwig, teacher, married to a merchant, emigrated to Buenos Aires.

Anna, died 1921, married to the forestry advisor Stukki, Grünberg, Silesia; 2 children.

2nd marriage in Stettin,

One child who died early.

Re 10: Michael Wurow was survived by two children from the first marriage of his wife with [a Mr] Erdmann: Michael and Engel; and his own children: Anne and Regina. He died of emphysema. (Engbruestigkeit = lit. “narrowchestedness”).


Michel Wohro, farmhand;

Martin Strase;

Benengel Barkhahn, housewife.

Re 11: Anna Catharina Wille died of asthma.


Anna Lovise Gipspride;

wife of Franz Zaudtke, sexton in Dobberphul;

the virgin Catharina Braun of Retschenhagen;

wife of Johann Stein, village mayor of Laatzig.

Re 13: Maria Dorothea Harder was widowed Utech.

Re 14: Johann Helm was survived by six children of majority age.

Re 17: Anne Maria Wisskow


Michael Brauns;

Anne Marie Kühlen, Stregow;

Christian Schnuchel.

Re 20: Jochim Wohro


Jochim Wohro, a.k.a. Stägen Jochim, a man from Laatzig;

The son of Hans Wohron, who is known as Ties Hans;

The wife of Jochen Grovenhagen, construction worker (worker in building trades) of Pollchow.

Re 21: Elisabeth Berckhahn died from exhaustion, she was buried with a funeral sermon (Dom 2.p. Epistle).


Catharin Bartels, wife of Hans Wohroen, resident of Laatzig;

Sophia Krüllen, wife of Martin Crüger, administrator in Hagen near Wollin; Hans Woro, construction worker, residing across from the school.

Re 22: Christian Friedrich Wille died suddenly from a stroke (apoplexy).

Re 23: Elisabeth Behn died of infirmities of old age without medical help, she was buried on 29 Jul … with the ringing of bells.

Heirs: three sons and one daughter.


Cathrine Barckhahnen, wife of Hans Steinen;

Elisabeth Behnen, wife of Hans Lohnenberg;

Jacob Behn, a farmhand.

Re 26: Erdmann Harder was married with a Lemcke in his first marriage; then moved to Staeven [on account of his marriage] with a Radloff. On his death he was survived by one son and one daughter from his first marriage and one daughter from his second marriage.

Re 29: Catharina Gruel


Michel Strege, farmer in Soltin;

Engel Crügers, wife of Marten Mantey, farmer in Polchow;

Maria Crügers young daughter.

Re 30: Christian Retzlaff died of a stroke. Memo from the parish register: “He was a very hard-working man, not only as a farmer but also in shipbuilding, from which he lifted himself out of poverty and became a rich man.” He became the founder of the future Retzlaff shipyard in Wollin.

Re 31: Maria Langnef; memo from the parish register: [she] “died from exhaustion in her 78th year of life and had been deprived of her eyesight for over 18 years. The deceased had 11 children, 30 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren, a total of 53 descendants.”

Re 46: Martin Behn;


Jochim Crüger;

Jochim Woro;

Benigna Gramcken;

the wife of Hanß Barckhahn.

Re 47: Maria Barckhahn; was mother of seven children and 12 grandchildren from her first marriage


Peter Magritz;

Elisabet Magritzen, wife of Hanß Besen;

the wife of Jochen Woro.

Re 56: Hans Helm memo from the parish register: “The deceased man has administered his church warden’s duties with great accuracy.”

Re 61: Sophia Götcke;

Among the godparents was: Sophie Köhler, wife of Jochen Götcke of Scharchow.

Re 93: Catharina Heuers; was buried with a funeral sermon.

Re 112: Helm; Among the godparents was Jürgen Gruel of Stregow.

Re 123: The [sur]name of Gerdum can be found in especially numerous variations: Gerdum, Gehrdum, Gehedum, Gerdom, Gerdohm, Gerdomb, Gerdhom, Geridom, Geridomb.

Re 124: Friedrich Langnef was church warden for 43 years, without interruption.

Re 125: Maria Köhler was a niece of Maria Köhler (Cöler), VII,113 in the Pedigree:

Jochim Köhler, married to Engel Dumstrey; children:

Maria Köhler (113), born in Büssentin in 1653.

Jochim Köhler (250), farmer in Büssentin, 1657-1697, married to Maria Volckmann; their daughter was:

Maria Köhler (125, above), was the widow of the village mayor Michel Schwentke, Büssentin, who died 1710, when she married Friedrich Langnef.

Re 126: Marten Abraham;


Jochim Kücken;

Jochen Benther;

the wife of Casten Götcke.

Re 127: Maria Beitschke;


Maria Köhler, wife of Hans Helm of Scharchow;

Sophia Müller, daughter of Jacob Müller of Jassow;

Jochim Crüger, farm worker in Scharchow.

Re 224: Hans Helm was the stepson of Jochim Ahrend, administrator in Zoldeckow.

Re 225: Ursula Ahrend was the widow of Jochim Götcke and the daughter of Hans Ahrend of Stresow.

Re 226: “Jochim Köhler of Büssentin and Engel Dumstrey, legitimate daughter of the late Martin Dumstrey, formerly of Gistrow and loyal church warden of the church on the mountain in front of Cammin, were married in Gistrow on 28 Oct 1644.” The pedigree of the Dumstrey family with corollary lines back to 1612 can be found in the Kücken [family] chronicles; since 1938 in possession of the Dom (cathedral) sextant Neumann in Cammin.

Re 229: Anna Götcke was the widow of Michel Kücken in Jassow.

Re 241: Ilsa Zühlke was married to the church warden Steffen Rode (widower) on 21 Apr 1663, her second marriage.

Re 244: Jochen Götcke’s first wife was Ilsa, the second was Catharina Abraham, daughter of Hans Abraham of Scharchow. The wedding took place on 21 Oct 1667; Ilsa Abraham died of measles on 11 Dec 1671.

Re 247: Ursel Chinno, the widow of Jochim Gerdums, was married to Marten Dalluge on 25 Oct 1697.

Re 251: Maria Volckmann married the farmer Christian Zühlke after the death of her husband, Jochim Cöler.

Re 458: Martin Götcke married Elisabeth Kücken, daughter of Hans Kücken of Jassow, on 22 Oct 1633; his second marriage.

Re 463: Anna Schaddelok most likely came from Benz, Cammin County. The Schaddeloks, later called Schalloks, were a widespread and old family.

Re 481: The Bojers resided at the “Vogelsang” near Cammin.

Re 490: Michel Abraham: “after he suffered an injury on his left hand between his thumb from a bamboo stick, he went to a doctor in Cammin, because of the pain and the blood that was streaming. He died after 14 days, in the morning of the 13th of Feb, he was 50 years and 2 weeks old.”

Re 492: Caspar Gerdomb was mentioned as a ferryman at the birth of his son on 13 Nov 1650. Scharchow is located at a sea-like inlet of the Dievenow River. The one-hour trip to the west (Düssin) was only possible by boat. (See map of Kammin County).

Re 493: Riebe: The spelling was also Virbus. Catharina was baptized during the night on Friday, 11 Feb 1625.

Re 504: Abraham Hans;


Pagel Klest;

Jochim Wolthus;

Martin Götcke’s wife.

Re 1968: Chim Gerdhom: The first wife, Agnes Dobberphul, died on 23 Aug 1603 of the plague. He married second: Margarethe Meister, the widow of Martin Ponats of Tessin, on 29 Oct 1604. He was married the third time in Jassow to Elisabeth Schwentke on 9 Nov 1607. She died on 17 Apr 1635.

Re 2016: Gorges Abraham’s first wife, Gerderuth, died on 22 Aug 1603 of the plague, which caused the death of over 60 people within a few weeks. He married Ursula Luebbecke of Tressin on 9 Jan 1604.

The close relations among Helene Kühl’s (Wessel) ancestors during their span in offices as village mayors and church wardens are detailed on the chart, which includes a time length of about 250 years.

Since most of them belonged to the Jassow parish and almost exclusively acted as church wardens, it would be of interest to report more detailed information about the village and the church:

From: “Kreis Kammin Land, Stettin 1939, Kommissionsverlag L. Saunier (The rural area of Kammin County, published by the Commission Publishing House of L Saundier):

Jassow appears as Jarsow in 1308 for the first time. Also identical under the names of Jarsowe, Jahrsau, Jaroszewo, Jaresz and Jarozlaw. The village is located in a hollow on a layered loam plateau. The layout of the village was still a “Platzdorf”, a village, where the houses were situated close together around a square, with a rectangular meadow, and which was built up later. The manner of how the several farms were situated was shown on the farm map by Strecker & Steffen at the land register office in Cammin in 1824.

The church, of mediaeval block construction, was expanded in 1750. The framework tower was built in 1645. The villages of Büssentin, Düssin, Jassow, Milchow, Revenow, Scharchow and Dobberphul all belonged to the parish.

“Data from the building history: First documentation of the church, erected basically in late-gothic style (City Archives of Stettin, Rep. 1, Bishopric of Kammin, Document No. 929). 1572: Repair of the tower. 1576: Restoration of the wall structure. 1582: Restoration of the church tower, which had been damaged by a storm. The church with its tower was destroyed by fire in 1634. This was followed immediately by the reconstruction of the nave and the tower in 1645 by the master carpenter Bellin of Lensin, Greifenberg County. 1681: Painting of the interior by the painter Sellin of Wollin. 1694: Restoration (new windows, etc.) 1714: [Construction of] a buttress at the west side. 1750: Expansion of the nave toward the south and east; building of the vestry at the north side (Dates of construction marked on the north and east wall). 1754: Painting done by Kühl of Stargard. 1913: Total restoration. Removal of the timbered ceiling with the paintings of Sellin. Raising of the walls of the nave, which received a barrel vault. Complete repainting by the artist painter Wild of Hannover. Renovation of the ornaments, whose paintings were also renewed. The tower was refurbished with new planks. (All of this information was detailed by the parish office in Jassow; parish bills and records since 1592, also church history).

Description of the structure: The church is located in the western part of the village, in the middle of the cemetery. The tower is constructed of oak framework, planked, with sloped walls. Without separate stories, belfry on the top beam area. Octagonal, indented steeple, patterned slate roof, knob, weathercock and star. – Nave: Old parts of the nave are feldspar, single parts are smoothly polished. The pointed arch, with the stairs, west portal is moved toward the north since the expansion of the nave toward the south. The south portal has a lightly extended bay window, concave at the sides, with pilaster support. The plaster at the east and north wall bears the date of the year, “1750”, at the north side it bears the letters “I.C.L.”. Molded chair with decorations, covered with a beaver tail crown.

Interior: Today, the ceiling has a wooden barrel hanging from a visible roof truss. The paintings are the same as those from the former flat ceiling, and some of them have been preserved on some of the boards used for the tower. Depiction of the Ambrosian song of praise with a prologue after the Te Deum, performed by an orchestra of angels. This depiction is only present on the boarding. The beams are decorated with leaves and flower garlands. The individual angels with their musical instruments are in cloud-framed medallions. Wordings stretch across the entire display, the word ”Holy” as inscription of one of the eyes of God; the “Amen”: on the last beam. The colors are in tempera, on a light blue background, the clouds are in grey and whitish tones, the angels are in bright, colorful garments, the banners are white with black type (Fraktur, an old German type face). In 1913, this ceiling painting took the place of the painting which the painter Sellin of Wollin created in 1681, and which can be described as a fairly exact copy of the former. The walls are smoothly polished and whitewashed. On both sides of the west portal is a broad and flat niche. The remnants of the original south wall are still recognizable on the west wall.

The altar. Polished Mensa (table) 1.00x2.00x1.05 meter. Modern table top. Of oak and pine wood. Height 3.00 m, width 2.25 m. The predella (Italian; stand on the altar with painted or carved artwork), consists of a box with a three-part shrine of figures, with remnants of a late Gothic ornamental work of interlacing lines (tracery), it was whitewashed where it peeled, remnants of bole, (a variety of pulverized, reddish clay), in front of it two movable wood tablets with a display of the Manna Gathering and the Ark of the Covenant (01 on wood, each 0.45x0.80 m.). An inscription on the back of a lead tablet: “Iacop Spon” and initials of the master. (“Iacop Spon” or Iacopon da Todi, also known as Jacobus de Benedictis, born about 1230; Italian poet of the 12th century, wrote among other works the “Stabat mater dolorosa” and “Lamentations of St. Mary”--Transl.) Then the main part, consisting of the base area with the pedestals, three spaces framed by Tuscan pillars and lavish, partially narrow timber work. In the center is a modern portrait of Christ; in the round-arched side spaces are Moses and John the Baptist (01 on wood). Topped by a gable with two small attics. Center part with two enclosed pillars: oil painting of the Good Shepherd battling the wolf. Upper end leads through an attic. Above it is an older free-standing crucifix, which is not part of the altar, height 0.70 m, with medallions on the arms, over-painted in grey, with a gilded loincloth, documented in 1619. The entire superstructure of the altar is lavishly ornamented with insets of cherub heads; the arcades are studded with diamond squares. In the center part and the diagonals of the gables are narrow sides, with carvings with sickle like bases. – According to documentation, the altar was created by the joiner Gregor Beckmann in 1653 and painted in 1665 by Christian Baßke of Greifenberg, after the pattern of the chancel in Boeck. The old, simple altar barriers were removed in 1913 and replaced by new ones, the entire altar lavishly painted, silver and gold plated.

The Pulpit. Made of pine and oak wood. The octagonal enclosure is fastened to the wall without support. The pulpit is stylistically linked to the altar. Enclosure: Base area with volute pillars at the corners, above it are Tuscan pillars with narrow timber work. Within the spaces are round-arched arcades with oil paintings of the evangelists (very faded). The back wall of the pulpit consists of a similar space, enclosed by pilasters and with narrow timber work at the sides. The area of the arcade is now painted over. The sounding board is octagonal, with narrow timber work at the sides, cut-out superstructures which are crowned with a pelican. On the rhombic field of the pulpit steps is a oil painting of the teaching Christ, on the rectangular field of the pulpit door is the oil painting of a clergyman who is blessing a kneeling person dressed in contemporary clothing, with the inscription: “Son, be of good cheer, thy sins be forgiven thee.” (Matt.9, v. 2). This door is the only part of the church which was exempted from the restoration in 1913. According to a documented report from 1644, the pulpit was built in 1633/34, paid for by the pastor of that time, and, together with the altar, it was painted [decorated] by Christian Baßke in 1665.

The Pews. a) with hinged doors toward the center gangway at the west side of the church, with balustrades at the front end. Fields divided by channeled Tuscan pilasters. Above the doors are gabled round arched arcades with diamond squares. Within them are colorful pictures of garden flowers on a bright background. The pictures in the east balustrades (evangelists and prophets), modern. b) Pews on the southeast side: Same arrangement, with only a few deviations. In the arcades of the balustrades are these coats of arms: “Lord Reimar von Mellin, 1681”, “Barbara Maria von Sydowen, Anno 1681”, “Wilhelm Caspar von Mellin, Anno 1681”, double coat of arms, “Henning Christian von Mellin” and Henriette Christiana von Kauderbach, Anno 1763”. In the adjoining fields on the east, in bas relief are tendrils and ironworks and a double eagle. c) Pews on the northeast side, western part (Women’s pews): panels divided by ionic pilasters with timber work, framed by arches and diamond squares. The pilasters, spandrels and timber work are lavishly covered with iron work, pearls and cherub heads. The pedestals contain inscriptions, the archways are decorated with oil paintings of the Graces (Greek goddesses of charm and beauty), Spes (hope), and Fides (fidelity, trust) and two panels with garden flowers. d) northeast pews, east portion: panels divided with pilaster strips, panels framed with ears and gables, oil paintings within, sparse iron work. On the molding of the west breastwork an inscription damaged during reconstruction (painted in yellow on black, in Roman type:) “ … P.T. Arrhendarius of Revenow has decorated and refurbished this chair in honor of GOD and for the adornment of the church. Ao (Anno) 168(1)”, and the name of “Steffen Benecke.” At the door panels of the pastor’s seat are Lutheran preachers and priests clothed in chasubles, at the church in Jassow. These details can be seen: the present altar, in the center the Last Supper, altar barriers stylized like the altar, painted frame of the altar and the windows, window at the east wall, the west gallery with panel divisions, painted ceiling (possibly this could have been removed already in 1913!) The remaining panels of the breastwork of the pastor’s seat were oil paintings: Prayer of Tobias (I Kings, 19). Prayer of Sarah, the daughter of Rachel (Tobias 3), Apocrypha, and Psalms 6, 16 and 116. The sections of the pews, which differ insignificantly, originated during the middle of the 17th century; they were painted by Joachim Sellin in 1682 and restored in 1913.

West Gallery. Pine wood. Breastwork of the mid section is modern. The old parts of the gallery breastwork have the same panel divisions as the pews on the west side of the nave. Oil paintings are at the arches, from the south and north: a) Melanchthon (Luther’s associate); b) Bugenhagen (another associate of Luther; he translated the Bible into Low German); c) the teaching Christ; d) the golden calf; e) stoning of the blasphemer; f) sanctification of the Sabbath (at the modern part of the breastwork); g) Susanna; h) vineyard (II Kings, 21); i) Jacob and Laban’s herd; k) Moses, picture f (printing error, shouldn’t it be 1?), this depicts again the interior of the Jassow church, axial toward the east, with a pointed-arch choir center window; men (in pointed hats) and women in contemporary dress; the pastor on the pulpit dressed in a charuble.

South Gallery. So-called prelate’s choir. Above the ventilator of the south portal. There are seven allegoric pictures of the “Lord’s Prayer” by A. Wild of Hannover, 1914.

James the Elder, height 1.07 m. (abt. 3 ft. 6 inches). Pine wood. Placed on the wall west of the south gallery. Frontal standing, bearded, with cowl and turban, the pilgrim’s staff in his right hand. The figure is, like 7 and 8, almost relief-like flat, with a flattened back side. Restored in 1913. It originated around 1500 A.D.

The Holy Family with young St. John. Placed above the vestry door. Height, 1.07 m. Pine wood. Figures in contemporary garb. About 1500 A.D. 7a. Holy Family. At the south wall. Height 1.07 m., pine wood. Setting modern. Around 1500 A.D. No. 6 to 7a are probably the remnants of a carved altar from the late Gothic era, to which also the predella (a stand below the altar) and the wooden crucifix belonged.

Baptism angel. Length 1.30 m. Pine wood. Hanging on the ceiling in front of the altar. At the begin of the 18th century. The former baptism font is now in Dobberphul.

Judgment Day. 3.00 x 4.00 m. Oil painting on pine wood. Hanging at the north wall of the church. After an engraving by Joh. Sadeler; after a painting by Christof Schwarz (comp. “Hofstde de Groot”). Heavily darkened, 1864.

Annunciation. 1.58 x 2.40 m. Oil painting on pine wood. Hanging at the northeast wall of the choir loft. Copy. An inscription, painted in yellow on black, on the frame. (In old German type, named Fraktur): “In honor of God, for the adornment of the church and to foster the edification of the congregation; this painting has been made out of love for God by Joachimus Sellin, contractor in Wollin. Ao 1682, the 22nd of Jan.” Below, right on the picture is ”10th of Oct., 73 VR.” Worm-eaten, lightly peeling, worn.

Christ’s Birth. 1.58 x 2.40 m. Oil painting on pine wood. At the southeast wall of the choir loft. Copy. On the picture, below, right: “Ao. 1682”, below it: “11 Oct 1873, VR.” Painted similar to No. 10 by Joachim Sellin. Worm-eaten, lightly damaged and worn.

Portrait of Martin Luther. 1.60 x 2.30 m. Oil painting on oak wood. At the north wall of the choir loft. Copy of the 17th century, after [Lucas] Cranach, worn.

Portrait of Pastor Johann Friedrich Steffen (1715-1763). 1.20 x 1.55 m. Oil painting on canvas, at the south wall of the choir loft. Half figure in official attire, seated with books at the table. Writing tablet below the frame, writing in yellow on black (fancy Roman type): “Johannes Friedericus Steffen, Caminensis Pomeranis, natus 1715, 22 Sep, Pastor Ecclesiae Jassoviensis, vocatus 1746, on 22 Sep, denatus1763, on 9th November.” (Transl.: Johannes Friedericus Steffen, of Cammin, Pomerania, born in 1715 on 22 Sep, Church Pastor in Jassow, installed 1746, on 22 Sep; died in 1763, on 9th November.”) Heavily darkened.

Portrait of Pastor Georg Warnshagen (1675-1745). 1.38 x 1.72 m. Oil painting on canvas. Hanging at the south wall of the choir loft. Half figure in official attire, seated with books and the crucifix on the table. Writing tablet below the frame, writing in gold on black (fancy Roman type): “Georgius Warnshagen Platoviensis Pomeranus natus 1675, on 21 Sep: Pastor Ecclesiae Jassoviensis vocatus 1703, on 3 Mar, denatus in 1747 on 24 Mar.” (Transl.: Georgius Warnshagen, of Platow, Pomerania, born 1675 on 21 Sep. Church pastor of Jassow, installed 1703, on 3 Mar, died in 1747, on 24 Mar.) Lightly damaged, worn.

Chalice. Height 16 cm, diameter, 10 cm. Silver, gold-plated. Hexagonal, pyramid-shaped foot with riveted body of Christ. Knob with tracery, engraved on it “JHESVS.” Top has a flat cone. Gold plating is faded. Dated 1806. 15th Century.

Patene (communion plate). Part of 15. Diameter 14 cm, silver, gold-plated. Four-part mirror, engraved signature. Dated 1806 and embedded figures of “7” and “75”.

Chalice. Height 23 cm, diameter 13 cm. Silver, gold-plated. Six-part base with screwed on Corpus, round six-part knob, steep oval top. Engraved on top engraved the words, “The good Shepherd” and inscriptions in capitals: “WAS VON DER HERD VERIRT / DAS SVCHT SIN TREVER HIRT / SO SVCHET AVCH NICHTS MINDER / JESUS VERIRRTE SVENDER.” (Who has strayed from the flock, will be sought by the faithful Shepherd. Sought not any less are Jesus’ straying sinners.”) On the eight parts of the base are these engraved inscriptions in capital letters: a) “AVS PICYS GEORG WARNSHAGEN P:T: PAST:” (not sure what this stands for). b) “ECCLESIA JASSOVIENSIUM ANNO 1704” (Jassow Church, 1704). c) “PATRONI JOACHIM DE CARNITZ DECANUS, etc”. (Patron Joachim of Carnitz, Dean.” d) CASEMIR WEDIGE DE BONNIN CANTOR, etc.” (Casimir Wedige of Bonin, Precentor). e) “DN: DE DANCKELMAN THESAURIUS, etc.” (The Danckelman Treasure). f) JACOB CASPER DE WOBESER SCHOLASTICVS, etc.” (Jacob Casper, Teacher of Rhetorics at Wobeser”). g) CASPAR OTTE DE MASSOW: VIZE DOMINVS, etc. (“Caspar Otte of Massow, Vice Administrator?). h) EX PROPRIIS CONFICIENDVM CVRAVIT.” Dated 1806. City logo of Stettin, Gold plating faded. Master initials “ZP.” 1704 (Plate 183).

Patene. Diameter 21 cm. Silver, gold-plated. Six-part Mirror with depressed frame. Engraved signature on the frame. Dated 1806. (16th / 17th Cent.)

Small Spoon, silver, gold-plated. Dated 1806, blurred stamp. 18th Century.

Baptism Font. Diameter 19cm. Pewter. Engraved inscription on bottom in Roman type: “Wittwe C S gb G B R 1856.” (Wittwe=widow). Symbol of an angel and metal seal.

Bowl. Diameter 15 cm. Pewter. Engraved inscription on bottom in Roman type: “Wittwe C S gb G B R 1856”, dented.

Bowl. Diameter 32 cm. Brass. Movable ring at the rim. Engraved inscription on the rim in capital letters: “S : AR : I : R: JOCHIM : BELLIN : D : D : JASSOWER : K VEREHRT : ANNO 1675.” House insignia.

Pilgrim’s Bottle. Height 19 cm. Pewter. Broad shape, rectangular bottom, screw top. Three engravings on the cover: twice “Fortuna” with initials “I D”, and once, three fishes. (Listed by mistake on Plate 193, under pewter plate.)

Votive ship. Hung in front of the west gallery. Three-mast schooner. Height 1 m., (meter), length 1.50 m. Described on list as “Arminius von Cammin” and “H L” (H. Lucius, master rope maker in Kammin). Middle of the 19th Century.

Votive ship. Presently on the breastwork beside the vestry door. Height 65 cm, length 65 cm. At the end of the 18th Century.

Bell. Height 98 cm, diameter 1.02 m. Bronze, crowned head a three-line inscription at the throat between double rings, in capital letters: “ANNO CHRISTI MDCXXXIV. XXIX. MARTI INFELICI INCENDIO CONSUMPTIS TEMPLO TURRI CAMPANIS / SUB PATROCINIO VENDI CAPITULI CAMMINENSIS PASTORE ECCLESIAE IOACHIMO BERGIO HONORI DIUINO PUBLICANDO / ARTE ET MANU CHRISTOFORO KOKERITZ FELICITER FUSA SOLI DEO GLORIA.” (I could not translate the entire text here; the first part says), “In the year of our Lord, 1634, the 24th of March, through a misfortune, fire consumed the sanctuary and the bell tower. Under patronage of and headed by Cammin Pastor Joachim Berg … [The bells] happily cast with limbs and hands by Christof Kokeritz solely for the glory of God.” Below the inscription a lily border with four acanthus leaves and four grotesque reliefs. Four stars at the top. A sculpted crucifix on the mantel. (Height 15 cm). (The bell was donated to the war effort during WW II).

Bell. Diameter 1.76 m. Steel. Cast in Apolda (Thuringia) in 1922. Another bell, diamter 78 cm, was donated to the war effort in 1917; probably this was the second bell cast by Chr. Kökeritz in 1634.

Baptism [font]. Of pine wood. In the form of a chalice with a pyramid-like cover. 1913.

Organ. At the west gallery. 1885.

Altar crucifix. Height 78cm, cast iron. 1855.

Warrior memorial. 1815.

Warrior memorial, 1870–71. Wood tablets at the south wall.

Not existing any more:

Altar cross, made of amber. Height 52 cm, at the base is a depiction of the Last supper, carved in horn. 18th Century. Was still existing in 1880. “Remnants of a neatly written Psalterium with beautiful initials.” (According to Lemcke).

At the Pomeranian Landesmuseum (State Museum):

Chalice. Height 20 cm. Diameter 15.5 cm. Copper, gold-plated. Riveted Corpus Christi on hexagonal base. Marked. Inventory No. 6329.

Chalice. Height 20.5 cm, diameter 16cm, copper, silver-plated. Riveted Corpus Christi without the cross on hexagonal base. Marked. Inventory No. 6238.

Bottle, in hexagonal form. Height 12.5 cm. Pewter. Screwed-on cover. Written on side: “IASS: KIRCH: FLASCH: 1697.” Inventory No. 7347. (Kirch = Church; Flasch = Bottle, made 1697.

When Pastor H. J. Bahr retired from Lauenburg on the Elbe church, May 1961 to move to Soest/Westphalia, Dudenweg 9, he wrote the following in the church bulletin:

“... The second of these churches (in Jassow), a beautiful half-timbered building with sundry art treasures, which had been renovated prior to the war, was totally torn down by new residents of this village. The wooden framework was seen as firewood. This reminder throws a light on the futility and transience of many human activities, in regard to a house of God. Many parishioners in the old homeland suffered horribly during the Russians invasion. The world, which we inhabit, must consider God’s judgments. It behooves us, during this period of grace, to take advantage of that which has been proffered us.”

Notes about the Kühl Family Circle:

Ida Kühl, born on 3 Mar 1866, was married to the merchant Johann Engel. They lived in Berlin, where they were economically well off. They owned a tobacco products store and a large apartment house on Wiesen street. Ida survived her husband by many years, in spite of coming down with double-sided breast cancer. The surgeries took place more than 10 years before she died at 85 in Rendsburg, Schleswig-Holstein in 1951. She was extraordinarily spry and alert during her life until the end.

Of the two sons, the younger one, Bruno, died in action during the first World War in the battles around Dixmuiden in Flanders on 10 Nov 1914 at the age of 21 years; he was born on 2 Sep 1893. He was a tradesman. The older brother, Gerhard, born on 12 Nov 1890, was employed as an engineer in a defense industry plant in Berlin until the end of World War II. When he saw how the Russians systematically began to dismantle the plant and to ship the parts to Russia, he reached a decision which would pay off. He asked a few trusted people to help him dismantle the most important machines to the last screw in complete secrecy. The dismantled parts then were thrown on a big pile in the factory yard. He told the Russians that was scrap metal. The Soviet Union did not need any scrap. In an undercover operation, the entire scrap heap was loaded on wagons, driven to the factory yard and transported to the West. They arrived without hindrance. This was not necessarily a given during that time. The entire family escaped to the West in the meantime. They settled in Rendsburg where Gerhard built two factories with the salvaged machinery and made die-cast products. One of the factories was managed by his son, Werner, also an engineer. As a sideline, they opened an arts and crafts shop. They later sold everything and Gerhard retired from business life.

Werner, born in Berlin on 13 Jun 1917, married Hertha Klinke, daughter of a clothing department store merchant in Berlin. At present, Werner Engel lives in southern Germany and is chief engineer of a large Italian machine factory, whose machines are being sold at a cost of over 100,000 DM. He had one son, Frank Engel.

Hermann Kühl, born on 22 Oct 1869, was a master blacksmith in Berlin. Through his efforts, he established a large shop with about a dozen journeymen. Besides the routine blacksmith activities, he also constructed the “Berliner Landauer”, a horse-drawn carriage with 4 seats and a cover that could be folded front and back. He was married to Emilie Ohm of Wollin and they owned a large apartment house on Bergmann Street in the southwest part of Berlin. In addition, he had purchased a garden property with a small weekend house, where he spent his leisure hours. He succumbed from a kidney ailment at the age of 67 years. Emilie Kühl, his widow, still enjoys the best of health today – 1960.

The marriage was blessed with three children: The oldest, son Richard, born in Berlin on 16 Jul 1900, took over the business after his father’s death. It was gradually converted into a car repair shop as times began to change. Both of their daughters, Liesbeth and Dora, remained single. Liesbeth, born in Berlin on 10 Feb 1904, worked as librarian in the Ministry of War and as secretary for a patent attorney. Dora, born in Berlin on 6 Sep 1905, was a secretary at Telefunken, an electrical components firm. Both sisters lived together with their mother in Berlin-Tempelhof after the Second World War.

Ernst Kühl, born on 13 Mar 1871, during his younger years was active as a paymaster in Osternothafen near Swinemünde, where he met his future wife, Liesbeth Schnartendorf, a daughter of the owner of the spa hotel “Sanssouci”. During the wedding, Ernst’s sister, Helene, met her future husband, Gustav Wessel, for the first time. Following his active military service, Ernst got a government position as head treasurer. At first, the family lived in Köslin, then moved to Lauenburg in Pommern. The family moved to Berlin-Wilmersdorf after Ernst’s retirement. Ernst died of renal hypertension.

The only child, Herbert, born in Köslin on 10 May 1906, studied law in Tübingen, where he was active in a fencing association. Later he was a provincial supreme court judge at the chamber court in Berlin and then he was chief judge of a military tribunal for the Luftwaffe (Air Force) during the Second World War. During the last months of the war, he transferred to the fighting forces and was wounded during the battle around Berlin. After hostilities ended he was in a Russian military hospital in Potsdam as a prisoner of war, from which he fled: he was able to gain some trust and ingratiated himself while recuperating. For instance he was permitted to take completed daily medical records to another hospital building, which was located away from his own and on another street. On one of these days he saw a horse-drawn wagon moving in the same direction. He walked past the vehicle and pretended to help pushing it. After a few steps he removed his Red Cross armband and managed to cross into the western sector.

His apartment in Berlin was totally destroyed by bombs and he left with his mother for the western zone where they found shelter in Rendsburg as well as the Engels. Totally without means, Herbert had to obtain the basic necessities for his mother and himself through black market connections. He traded with pots, pigs and poultry and frequented rural areas. A long time later, something happened which was not lacking a comic side and – long past – should not be kept from this small circle: One day, he had before him, again officiating as a judge, an unfortunate black marketeer, whom he knew from his own earlier activities in the same sphere. The verdict was – according to the circumstances – not harsh. Then, when our good Herbert conversed with other black-robed colleagues, the old acquaintance comes toward him with the words: “Well, Herr Doctor, how about another nice goose once more?”

Later he was appointed district attorney in Kiel, where he and his mother reside in an apartment on 51 Forstweg. Both are in good health; aunt Liesbeth survived a more extensive intestinal surgery very well, in spite of her advanced age. Only recently we spent a pleasant Sunday with them, and took a steamship excursion to visit a memorial for fallen marine soldiers in Laboe.

Herbert is presently still unmarried and with his mother makes an extensive annual journey south.

Franz Kühl, born on 19 Mar 1874, took over the estate in Hagen and the blacksmith shop after the death of his father. All of the family came together annually at the spacious residence during the summer vacations. A specially close friendship existed between Franz and his brother-in-law, Gustav Wessel, who is my father, and they often shared a drink together. How carefree were these times! He was popular everywhere with his natural disposition and his sense of humor and with his industriousness was able to earn a good income. His wife, Elise Gehm, died of breast cancer during her middle years, and he followed her in death at the age of 67 years, the cause of which was stomach cancer.

The death of his only son, Hans, born on 25 Jun 1900, was especially hard for him since he was designated to be the heir of the property in Hagen. Hans was drafted during the last months of World War I, but he was incapable of withstanding the rigors and hardships of military training and fell ill with lung tuberculosis, which he died of at the age of 20. The second and last child, Erna, born on 25 May 1901, remained in the parental home in Hagen after her graduation from the lyceum (secondary school for girls). She met Carl Evers, who, after the end of the first World War, was manager of the Pommern Land Association in Wollin and they lived at the home of her parents in Hagen. He served as royal Prussian artillery officer during the war from 1914 to 1918 at several theaters of the war, following his training as ensign with the heavy coastal artillery in Swinemünde. He was decorated with the Iron Cross first class and other medals.

Carl had his roots in a Hanseatic family, who resided in Lübeck for a long time. Among Carl’s ancestors are a number of merchants, who mainly were engaged in the textile wholesale trade. These merchants were called “Gewandschneider”, lit. “Garment Tailors”, (which was the reason why the surname “Wandschneider” was very widespread in this area).

However, Carl’s father and grandfather pursued another talent. The grandfather, Th. H. Evers, was master shipbuilder and owner of a shipyard in Lübeck; his son, Carl, studied mechanical engineering in Hannover and, after many years having been employed first as engineer at British and Scottish shipyards, especially at the then leading John Elder shipyard in Glasgow, became chief engineer and design engineer at the engineering works of the shipyard Blohm & Voß in Hamburg, where he participated for many years in the rise of this world-class firm. Among other projects he also was the designer of the first “Deutschland”, an ocean-going passenger ship, which was launched at the shipyard of Blohm & Voß.

Silesian peasant blood came into the family through his marriage to Emma Auguste Ottilie Förster. Besides Carl, the husband of Erna Kühl, five other children were born into this union:

Theodor Helmuth, was born in Berlin on 29 Aug 1886. He studied jurisprudence for several semesters, became a customs official and in this capacity was mostly engaged in the eastern Prussian provinces. He served as reserve officer during both world wars, and was forced to flee from the advancing Russians during February 1945 and presently lives with the family in Rottweil on the Neckar river as retired chief customs inspector. From his marriage with Käthe Schellack came two children: Hans Dietrich, bank official in Nürnberg, married; and Ilse, widowed Fischer, married a Schneider, welfare worker in Rottweil.

Magdalena Caroline Clara, born in Hamburg on 5 Sep 1887, who married the graduate engineer Siegfried Eisenlohr in Mannheim in 1918. She died on 2 Jun 1959. Eisenlohr was naval consultant in Memel and lost an eye from a bullet. From this marriage came five children: Mechthilde, married Sachse; Ursula, married Soldwedel; Rüdiger, married with Gisela Höppner, two children: Hanno and Olaf Eisenlohr; Dankwart, married with Rita …, and Friedrich Karl, married with Martha …

Ida Emma Mathilde Catharina, born on 30 May 1890, became a schoolteacher, which was totally off-beat in the Evers family. She studied history and modern languages and lives in the old parental apartment in Hamburg, on 46 Eppendorfer Landstrasse, following her retirement as magister of secondary schools in Hamburg. The portrait of her great-grandfather, Captain Jaburg hangs in her study; and beside it is a painting of his ship, with a shifted rice cargo on board, while the ship sinks in heavy seas.

Johannes Friedrich Carl, born on 24 Jun 1896, was a senior in secondary school at the outbreak of the first World War, joined the Regiment No. 76 in Hamburg as a volunteer, and was captured as second lieutenant by the British in 1917 and spent the rest of the war in a British POW camp. After his return from England in 1920 – undergoing training as merchant at the firm of Rudolf Otto Meyer in Hamburg; employed in merchandising until 1934, then reentry into military service with the rank of Hauptmann (captain). He moved to Bennigsen on the Deister River following the second world war and is presently employed at the city offices there.

Wilhelm Johann August, born in Laurahütte, Upper Silesia, on 7 Mar 1900. After a short stint with the military from the fall of 1917 to the end of 1918, he studied mechanical engineering in Hannover. He graduated as engineer in 1925 and specialized in refrigeration, then he was employed as so-called refrigeration engineer at the iron works in Bergedorf until he was called by the army weapons depot in Berlin to work as an engineer. He resumed his former special work after the war and since 1946 is employed by “Bronze und Eisen Harburg.” He lives there [in Harburg] with his wife, Mary, born Hoppmann.

Mentioned as a famous member of the family should be Tönnies Evers, who carved the doors of the assembly hall and the “warm room” of the city hall in Lübeck – the latter was destroyed during the second world war.

Pedigree of Carl Evers

Carl Johann Heinrich Evers, born in Hamburg on 4 Dec 1893, Major Ret. Statistician.

Carl Johann Antonio Evers, born in Lübeck on 25 Feb 1857, died in Hamburg on 6 Oct 1943, Civil Engineer; married on 10 Jul 1885.

Emma Auguste Ottilie Förster, born in Wusterhausen on the Dosse River on 15 Mar 1857, died in Hamburg on 24 Oct 1933.

Theodor Helmuth Evers, born in Lübeck on 29 Dec 1825, died in Lübeck on 27 Feb 1904, Shipbuilder and Shipyard Owner; married on 4 Aug 1853.

Catharina Dorothea Jaburg, born in Vegesack on 31 Mar 1827, died in Timmendorfer Strand on 6 Aug 1893.

Friedrich Carl Förster, born in Bielitz, Upper Silesia, on 21 Sep 1819, died in Eckernförde on 5 May 1899, Farmer, Soldier and Mounted Shore Patrolman; married …

Minna Pauline Arnecker, born in Landshut, Silesia, on 17 Jul 1830, died in Borby near Eckernförde on 4 Apr 1888.

Johann Heinrich Evers, born in Lübeck on 21 Aug 1792, died in Lübeck on 23 Mar 1872, Merchant; married on 16 Aug 1820.

Elisabeth Magdalene Friedericke Staude, born in Malchin on 3 Sep 1799, died in Lübeck on 6 Sep 1875.

Johann Hinrich Jaburg, born in Vegesack on 3 Sep 1790, died in Vegesack on 8 Oct 1864, Captain; married on 6 Nov 1814.

Catherina Dorothea Köster, born in Aussund on 17 Jul 1793, died in Vegesack on 20 Jan 1835.

Carl Förster, born …, died …, Farmer in Bielietz, Upper Silesia.

Elisabeth Jung, born …, died …

Heinrich Arnecker, born …, died … Ordnance Officer of a Regiment in Radom, south of Warsaw, Poland, served in the Russian Army for a time.

Henriette Feistel, born …, died …

Carl and Erna married in Hagen on 26 Sep 1922. The ceremony took place at St. Georg’s Church in Wollin; and they traveled in open carriages to the church. The celebration took place at the Kühl home in Hagen, where my parents were also invited.

The young couple later resided in Pyritz, Pommern, then in Prenzlau, Uckermark, where Carl was a representative for an insurance company in Greifswald. Two daughters were born to them in Hagen: Barbara, on 13 Aug 1925. I was invited to be her godfather. My parents were also invited to the baptism. The second daughter, Ute, was born on 31 Jul 1926.

Carl Evers took part in the Polish campaign during the Second World War as a captain and company commander in the 207th infantry division. He wrote the following brief report about the campaign:

“On 1st Sep 1939, all units of the 207th Infantry Division are withdrawn from the Lauenburg area and are redeployed in the area around Bütow. Fanning out, the division moves toward the northeast, east and southeast. Berent was reached on 2 Sep and Karthaus on the 4th. A number of small fire fights ensue. After the connection with Danzig was made, the division receives orders to mop up the corridor toward the north. Neustadt falls on 9 Sep. The company takes up position here.

The following days battles continue near Rheda, Neuhof, Pogorze and Gotenhafen and following this, the capture of the Oxthöfer Kempe. The Führer [Hitler] temporarily moved his headquarters to the Casino Hotel in Zoppot, since the Oxthöfer Kempe had not yet been taken. But this hotel was certainly within reach of a field gun from the enemy positions. My company provided the honor guard during the entrance of the Führer in Zoppot. It was noteworthy that the Führer’s quarters were illuminated with the brightest lights during the night. After the mop-up operation of the Kempe, the last task was the capture of [the peninsula of] Hela.”

During the Russian campaign, Carl was a major and commander of a motor vehicle park; and toward the end of the war he was commanding officer of a military command in Rostock. After Carl’s short British captivity, the family united again in Flensburg, Schleswig Holstein, after their escape [from the Russians]. They lost everything they possessed in Prenzlau. Carl faced the same task of building a new life, just as after the First World War, since the Greifswald Insurance Company was now located in the Soviet Zone of occupation and was dissolved in the course of Communist measures.

Ute Evers reported the following about the escape together with her mother and sister from the Russians in Prenzlau on 25 Apr 1945:

“Winter 1944–45: Almost always the same reported in the armed forces bulletins: ‘Our troops were able to retreat as planned.’ Retreat to our borders of 1939 with the first relinquishment of German soil at the begining of 1945. Millions of people flee from the east to the west, and the German troops flee with them. Nevertheless, it did not appear to us that the heart of Germany would be affected, with the Mark Brandenburg and Berlin; nobody realizes the coming catastrophe in all its significance.

1 Feb 1945: Russian units reach the west shores of the Oder river near Schwedt. An uneasiness spreads over the people, which gradually increases to a mass psychosis. Will this increase from day to day? Once more we can hope, the resistance at the Oder stiffens indeed, and the river remains as the main battle line.

19 Apr 1945: The eve before the Führer’s birthday, which normally is observed with the usual ceremonies. Goebbels (Reichs-Minister of Propaganda) delivers the traditional speech, which is broadcast from public loudspeakers on the streets, for the last time. Some people gather in groups around these speakers.

It is 20:15 hours: a moderate activity begins in the air. Neither forewarning nor regular alarm was sounded. The planes fly too low for enemy aircraft. Their markings can now clearly be seen as Messerschmidt fighter-bombers in spite of the growing darkness. A quarter hour later, we sit at the windows; my mother looks toward the street, Barbara sits in the bedroom and I sit on an easy chair and read.

The following minutes belong to those in life, whose horrors cannot be felt by others who are not involved: A Messerschmidt plane – the German markings are clearly visible – before our eyes is banking over the Brüssow street, and suddenly the first bomb detonates in Prenzlau, 5 meters in front of our house: from a captured German plane with a Russian crew. The dusk spontaneously grows to darkness. Dense dust fills the room and hinders breathing. The windows are torn out and our apartment has changed into a tangled mess. We try to find each other in the darkness and are glad to be still alive. I only sustained a shrapnel wound on my left arm. In the meantime, sirens sound the alarm and all house occupants rush panic-stricken to the basement. We small-town residents had heretofore been untouched by these happenings, and the people are still moving around when the siren has given the all-clear some time ago. A medic sends me to the nearest army hospital at the “Berliner Hof”, and Barbara is accompanying me. The distance appears endlessly long, which normally is only a short one; leading through masses of people and over mountains of rubble. Bomb craters mark the attack route of the fighter-bomber. The plane turned off to the Russian lines before reaching the city center. I am well treated at the hospital in spite of the big commotion around me. I can see from the circumstances at the military hospital that the front and homeland have now come together. The domestic hospital from the last months has now changed into a emergency station for first aid: a front hospital. I was only bandaged, the shrapnel was not removed.

Barbara and I are barely back at home, when the sirens sound again and a wild gunfight fills the air. A second bomb falls almost in the same crater in front of our house. We learn only later that the bombs were intended for a underground gasoline facility in our neighborhood. The night finally ends and we decide on the following morning immediately to go to acquaintances in the country, to take a rest and discuss together what to do next. We returned again to Prenzlau three days later. The battlefield moved in the meantime 8 kilometers (5 miles) before the northeast border of the city. There is not a single official place which is able to give objective reports about the situation, but there circulate weird rumors among the populace, which leave all possibilities open to speculation. But anyone who experiences the daily thunder of cannons not without criticism, and whoever sees the ever more threatening bloody-red colored sky, is not receptive to the calming propaganda of the party officials.

Spontaneously, the populace set out in flight; but in which direction? After all, it doesn’t make a difference, just get away from the Russians! We’re packing, everyone is packing. On 25 Apr 1945, our still intact apartment door is locked, we’re standing on the street. We are now refugees. Everyone of us has loaded up his bicycle up to the saddle and pedals, Barbara also pulls a folding canoe carrier behind her, which someone gave to her during the last minutes. She is also loaded to the hilt. Low-flying aircraft are racing over the streets again and again, and every movement forward seems illusory at first. We have just passed three houses, when the situation becomes too dangerous. We are forced to look for a basement. Then it quiets down and we are back on the street and continue on our way. We have to balance our heavy load on the bikes continually. As we reach the next street corner, the load on Barbara’s carrier is too heavy; it breaks down, and we are again delayed. Should we give up our few belongings already after the first 200 meters? No, that’s what we cannot decide for now. While we think about it, we see a ownerless handcart standing at the street crossing. It becomes our property and we get going after loading it. The broken pieces of the carrier are loaded up, too, just in case. We have loaded one bike on top of the handcart, which is now being pushed or pulled by mother and Barbara, while I follow them with the other two bicycles. Who had imagined how long the Kietz Street would seem to us today: low-flying aircraft appear again and again.

In the meantime, it is 19:30 hours and we are still within the city. It seems that we are the last to leave this gloomy city. Not a soul far and wide. Several bombs exploded again during the last hours, the smoke from the burning houses darkens the sky. We don’t talk, and I believe that we don’t even think; everyone of us has only one thought: forward, forward, as fast as possible. Finally, we reach the Neubrandenburger Street, which is the arterial road toward the west; we finally meet people again and the gloomy emptiness lies behind us.

It is now past 20:00 hours, as we reach the open road with our small trek. It is not cold, and the mothers can put their small children into the featherbeds which they brought along, so that they might sleep. What an impression this peculiar situation leaves! All these people on the open road today leave much, sometimes everything, behind them in the beloved old city. All are now connected to the same fate, all of them are left with nothing. It slowly sinks in their minds that they are powerless in this situation … and they move on.

It is certainly only our imagination that we are feeling more secure on the highway, although the full moon is making the night to day. Behind us is Prenzlau’s panorama: the churches of St. Mary and St. James, the center tower – like pointed shadows in front of the flaming red horizon. Detonations shake the earth. Once more, Prenzlau appears before us, beautiful before its ruin; everyone remains shivering and deeply moved at this sight. But time does not allow to look back and think about it. Every kilometer gained is precious. Our three-person group rallies again and pulls and pushes and pushes and pulls. This will remain so for a while. We are going past Klinckow, where farmers stand in front of their houses; they cannot yet decide in their native awkwardness what to do and probably did not flee.

Small “Panje” (eastern European) wagons with Flemish S.S. soldiers approach from the byways. They are belonging to a provisions unit and have empty food kettles on the wagons. Although we haven’t as yet noted any exhaustion, my injured arm is making itself unpleasantly noticeable, so that the pushing of the two fully loaded bicycles with both hands has become quite difficult. The Flemish reveal themselves as very good-natured people, and, after a short exchange of words, they loaded me up on one of the Panje wagons and tied the hand carts to the back of the wagon. Mother and Barbara follow behind with the two bicycles. We reach the town of Dedelow and get stuck within a huge crowd of people. Prenzlauers, who already left during the afternoon, stay here for the night. Our army vehicle forces its way only with great effort through the multitudes; mother and Barbara remain behind. My wagon moves through the throngs like being guided by a pilot. And this village road again appears to me longer than before when we drove along it with our car. My Panje wagon has to leave the main road again shortly past the town of Dedelow and I have to get off. Thank God, Barbara and mother are again among our small trek. This is a miracle in view of all the chaos around us. I express my deep gratitude to the leader of the military caravan and say goodbye. It is now late at night. We move forward without a rest, until we reach Wolfshagen during dawn, which is almost 30 kilometers from Prenzlau. Here and there the farmsteads are lit up; the cows are probably being milked.

It would probably be the worst if the slowly increasing hopelessness of our situation should now gain the upper hand. Therefore, don’t think, just keep on going. The map has check marked Rostock as our destination for the time being, where our father is presently stationed and where we can expect safety or help with our continued travel.

Toward noon, we have reached Woldegk in Mecklenburg. Another obstacle before us on the Neubrandenburg-Friedland road: An energetic sergeant has the task to divert the entire refugee traffic to Friedland. This means a detour of 30 km (19 miles) for the refugees, to get to the road which leads to the west. One could despair. The reason for this measure are the retreating tank units, which need a lot of room. The map is consulted once more; there can be no doubt that this detour could mean our demise. Our plan therefore is fixed: my wounded arm should make the difference. The tough sergeant softens his stance after a long exchange of views and grants an exception. We can pass through, breathe a sigh of relief and a leaden tiredness overcomes us at once. The first rest after an almost 24-hour March! The battle situation becomes increasingly more critical, the numbers of retreating soldiers increase more and more. To hurry seems necessary, we must go forward even faster. A new reloading begins. All the food is well stowed away, our other possessions are visibly reduced and everything that is not needed is thrown with the handcart into the ditch alongside the road.

Thank God, the weather is dry, the sun already gives some warmth, and at night we can sleep in the ditch, if there is no other way. But we find a barn to stay overnight, which is somewhat off the road and therefore is not so overcrowded. The barn belongs to a farm nearby, and the manager locks it up and let us and three other refugees have it as a refuge. It is a yawning emptiness, there is a lot of straw, many mice and only six people. On the outside explosions, airplanes, flak and pak activity. (Flak = anti-aircraft guns; pak = anti-tank guns). Only heaven knows what will happen during the night and what will await us on the next morning. Everything springs to life on the farm at dawn, and luckily the manager unlocks the barn and stables himself. We move on … all of the villages and cities are overcrowded with people. The map is studied again during the few rest stops: how far did we get and how far do we have yet to go. We slowly reach the Mecklenburg chain of hills, which means increased fatigue for us. The folding canoe carrier is somehow put together again to serve as trailer and fastened to Barbara’s bicycle. She has hardly a chance to ride the bike because of the ups and downs of the road. Our mother and her bike get moving only with our help; one could almost laugh. Our daily goal is to move 40 km, (25 miles) and we are very proud of it.

Our shelter on the next evening is a feed bin beside a horse stable. What had been spacious the previous night is now too confined, and instead of mice there are rats of the same numbers. When we reach Teterow, we come to the crossroad Güstrow-Rostock (28 Apr 1945, about 17:00 hours.) A huge stream of people pushes toward the west, but we are heading north. Before us are the last 42 km to Rostock. The almost empty road before us worries us the more, because we are not oriented in the least where the main battle lines are. This way is good, because the occasional nearness of the enemy would have shocked us. We still have to get to Matgendorf today, because we know that there are friends of our father where we can certainly stay overnight. Between this village and Prenzlau are 130 kilometers – a three-day journey! (Over 80 miles). We regain our strength while in Matgendorf to make the last 30 km to Rostock. The headquarters of the military command is located in the “Nordischen Hof”, where we meet our father again, who is in charge here as commanding officer and major. We are very happy and grateful and we can sleep in two wonderful hotel rooms during this night, and it seems to us as if we didn’t have such comfort already for a long time.

30 Apr, 6 o’clock a.m.: The last report of the military situation: Extreme danger! The last and only possibility of escape: Go on board a small steamship and cross the Baltic Sea to Flensburg. Make haste. Departure: 8 o’clock. But nothing happens for the time being. We remain in the harbor for 12 hours; our small ship is scheduled to leave with a convoy which hasn’t been put together as yet. But since the overnight stay appears too risky, we sail to Warnemünde where we drop anchor and wait for the convoy. We are waiting until the Russian artillery and tanks provide the signal for us to move out on our volition. The slightly built and small 1,000-ton ship moves out into the wide Baltic Sea. The families are packed close together in the cargo bay, almost all of them from Rostock. Life jackets are distributed, which could make one calm or nervous. There are not enough of them for everyone, but they serve as pillows during the night. Everyone has carefully rationed his or her provisions for the 12-hour trip.

1 and 2 May: Hitler is dead. Dönitz assumes the supreme command over the Wehrmacht (armed forces) and moves the German government to Flensburg-Mürwik, where we arrive in the afternoon of 2 May. We drop anchor and rest at the Flensburg Förde (an inlet of the sea). A lifeboat sails over to the military command post and it is reported that the refugees may disembark in Flensburg. But this city is already closed for refugees. “Escape to Denmark”, is the order now. Our commandant knows our personal order from [Grand Admiral] Dönitz, which we and two other families received from the Rostock military command through father’s involvement to take us to the operations headquarters in Flensburg. What an aura of splendor still surrounds such a document of a high army office on 2 May 1945, to which we are indebted enabling us to land in Flensburg on the same evening! The ship has permission to remain in the harbor until the next morning and then continues its way to Denmark. We feel like we are totally abandoned in this strange city, whose administration doesn’t need to admit us, because they already have too many of our kind. Fortunately the chief of the military command post is helping us by providing accommodations in a railway station barrack. To our chagrin, the railway station becomes the target of an air attack during the night; before that, Flensburg had never been a target of enemy bombers. It was a “night full of bombs”, but we are lucky once more, even if our barrack smoulders. The people there are exhausted. On 3 May, Flensburg has been declared an ”open city”, thank God – the pros and cons were indeed discussed by the resp. authorities – and then the city was occupied by the English. The war is over for Flensburg and us. We enjoy peace and this almost five days earlier than other German cities. We give up our nomadic existence and settle down again. A new epoch shall begin!”

Both daughters passed their exam with distinction in Flensburg and they intended to study medicine. But they could not go ahead with this because of the circumstances after the war. Barbara became executive secretary in a textile enterprise in Flensburg; Ute became a dental assistant for a dentist and oral surgeon in Flensburg.

Parents and children later settle in Duesseldorf. Carl works here as a statistician for a metallurgical firm.

Ute got married – still in Flensburg – on 4 Feb 1956 to the Düsseldorf banker of the Commerzbank (major bank in Germany) Rudolf Schöwe. Two children were born to them in Düsseldorf: Rolf, on 15 Mar 1957 and Eckart, on 18 Jan 1960.

Barbara, for the time being, assumed the management of a branch of her textile firm in Flensburg and then married the Bundeswehr (German army) supply officer Helmut Berndt.

We were guests at both weddings, and the close kinship between the Kühl and Wessel families, as it had existed especially heartfelt between Erna’s father, Franz, and my father, Gustav, continued to remain in the same way.

Otto Kühl, born on 20 Oct 1875, first was a merchant in Berlin-Oranienburg. He married Maria Schwantz of Wollin during that time. He later went to Cologne; then abroad to Amsterdam and London. Later he became director of a well-known steel products factory in Liverpool; he kept his private residence in London. In England he went by the name of William Walden. Business interests led him repeatedly to Canada. He undertook the last trip to this country in either 1911 or 1912, accompanied by an English female dancer. He never returned from this trip. Investigations revealed that although he boarded the ship in London, he did not disembark in Canada. He has been missing ever since.

Both daughters, Lucie, born in Berlin-Oranienburg on 22 May 1898, and Edith, born in Cologne on 6 Apr 1900, were, like the son, Herbert, born in London on 7 Oct 1906 – raised in England and spoke English better than German. After they lost their father, they returned with their mother to Germany. Both daughters visited us in Lubow and Greifenhagen several times. Lucie remained single, as far as is known. Edith married an automobile dealer in Paris. Herbert’s fate is unknown. When he was a child he often came during summer vacations, together with his cousins, Herbert Kühl and Eckhard Wessel, to the home of their Kühl grandparents in Hagen near Wollin,. Between the [two world] wars, he lived with his mother in Berlin.

A detailed account of Helene Kühl, born on 22 Nov 1882, has already been made; see XIII,15

Source: WESSEL FAMILY CHRONICLE, Beth Wessel Marshall, 2006, Chapter XIII,15
Search more related documents:German Railway Engineer
Download Document:German Railway Engineer

Set Home | Add to Favorites

All Rights Reserved Powered by Free Document Search and Download

Copyright © 2011
This site does not host pdf,doc,ppt,xls,rtf,txt files all document are the property of their respective owners. complaint#downhi.com