Königsberg, East Prussia

A collection of links related to the City of Königsberg and East Prussia. If any of these links are not working - or you have a link you believe maybe of interest here - please use the comment form to let me know about it.

BOOKS

A Childhood under Hitler and Stalin: Memoirs of a "Certified Jew" by Michael Wieck, Siegfried Lenz and Penny Milbouer (Jun 26, 2003)

After the Reich: From the Liberation of Vienna to the Berlin Airlift  - Giles MacDonogh, 2008, also published with the subtitle “The Brutal History of the Allied Occupation”. MacDonogh has written a comprehensive history of Germany and Austria in the postwar period, drawing on a vast array of contemporary first-person accounts of the period. In doing so, he has finally given a voice the millions of who, lucky to survive the war, found themselves struggling to survive a hellish peace. A startling account of a massive and brutal military occupation, After the Reich is a major work of history of history with obvious relevance today.

Battleground Prussia: The Assault on Germany's Eastern Front 1944–45 (General Military) Paperback – February 21, 2012. From the great battles that marked the Soviet conquest of East and West Prussia to the final surrender in the Vistula estuary, this book recounts in chilling detail the desperate struggle of soldiers and civilians alike.

Die Geschichte der Stadt Königsberg. Band II: Von der Königskrönung bis zum Ausbruch des Ersten Weltkriegs, Gause, Fritz (1968).  Köln: Böhlau Verlag. p. 761

Europe's Forgotten Territories by Charles Wassermann, R. Roussell, Copenhagen, 1960, 304 pages.  Wassermann is a Canadian journalist who traveled to the former German territories East of the Oder-Neisse line in 1957 to report on their status.

Forgotten Land  English author Max Egremont describes his travels among the old lands of East Prussia, bringing to the task a deep knowledge of modern history and the proficiency of an experienced writer.  The book is a mixture of history, travel-writing and personal interviews, a fascinating mix which builds up a compelling picture of these lands and the changes that the last couple of centuries, particularly the post-Second World War settlement, have brought to them. 

In The Course of My Life - Renata Reinhart's book about the true brutality of the Russian/German battles fought during World War II. Written with such clarity, you will feel as if you were there. A must read for history buffs and those who love a story of human grit and survival.

Jetzt war ich ganz allein auf der Welt: Erinnerungen an eine Kindheit in Königsberg. 1944-1947

Königsberg: Geschichte einer Weltbürgerrepublik. by Jürgen Manthey. Munich/Vienna: Hanser 2005. 736 pages.

Königsberg von A bis Z , Mühlpfordt, Herbert Meinhard (1972) München: Aufstieg-Verlag. p. 168. ISBN 3-7612-0092-7.

Lexikon der Stadt Königsberg Pr. und Umgebung (in German),Albinus, Robert (1985). Leer: Verlag Gerhard Rautenberg. p. 371. ISBN 3-7921-0320-6.

One Last Summer, by Catrin Collier. A moving and turbulent novel about Charlotte, a young Prussian aristrocat forced to flee to England at the end of WWII.  But she carries a secret that both strengthens and torments her and involves a love affair with a Russian POW. Years later she embarkes on a journey into her past when she returns to her former homeland with her granddaughter Laura and finally faces the demons that have haunted her for over half a century. One Last Summer is recommended reading on the Holocaust Memorial Day website.

Savage Continent, Europe in the aftermath of World War II , (covering the years 1944-1949, by Keith Lowe. Focused on the years immediately following Germany’s surrender in May 1945, roughly down to the imposition of Stalinist tyranny on eastern Europe by the end of the Forties.

The Death of East Prussia - War and Revenge in Germany's Easternmost Province - Peter B. Clark, 2013, Andover Press, USA, ISBN 978-1-481935-75-3. In-depth examination of the fate of the region and its population. Clark offers a compelling assessment of the horrors and consequences of WWII in a place that many have already forgotten.This scholarly and well-written book also includes an account of the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, which now stands the largest maritime disaster involving the sinking of a single ship in history and resulted in the drowning of more than 8,000 German civilians fleeing advancing Soviet troops, and a tragic account of the death march and massacre of roughly 3,000 Jewish women at Palmnicken on the Baltic coast, at approximately the same time as the sinking of the Gustloff.

The Long Road Home: the Aftermath of the Second World War by Ben Shephard, 2010. Focused on the war’s aftermath, and examines both the chaos that reigned during this time and the well-intentioned but occasionally bungling attempts by the international community to cope with it.

The Second World Warby British historian Anthony BeevorA narrative history of World War II  that starts with the Japanese invasion of Manchuria in 1931 and covers the entire Second World War ending with the final surrender of Axis forces, and outlines the events in East Prussia and in Koenigsberg and relates the violence unleashed and the suffering of the innocent elderly, women, and children when the Red Army came.

We Will Be Free: Memoirs of an East Prussian Survivor  (2015), 212 pp, by Ulrich Karl Thomas (Author) & Mrs. Mary A Kassian (Contributor) - On Amazon
Karl Thomas was born in Königsberg in 1925. Conscripted into Hitler’s army to fight on the Eastern Front, he experienced some of the bloodiest battles of World War 2. Captured by the Soviets, he was taken to Auschwitz/Birkenau, and then forced to work in the Russian gulags. After his release to Communist East Germany, he was involved in smuggling people across the border to freedom. Eventually, he escaped and immigrated to Canada.

Where Hoffman Told His Fairytales, by Margarete Fischer. Translated from German.  Margarete Fischer was born in Konigsberg in 1923 and fled with two toddler and her mother to Canada at the end of WWII while her husband was a prisoner of war at the time.  See also this family's recent  blog about going back to the former German territories and tracing Margarete's trek from Prussia to the West during the expulsion of the German population there.

World War Two, Behind Closed Doors, (Stalin,  The Nazis and the West) . Award winning BBC Documentary, on DVD (2009) Award-winning filmmaker Laurence Rees uses exclusive evidence gained from the actual conversations and secret meetings Stalin conducted with Roosevelt, Churchill and Hitler.

INTERNET PHOTO SITES

Exceptional Site with 400+ side-by-side photos of 1939/to present day identical locations in Königsberg/Kaliningrad (Russian-German) The author of this site made it a life-time project to find images of pre-war Königsberg and compare them with present day Kaliningrad.

Bernhard Waldmann's extensive Flickr photo site about Königsberg and other East Prussian areas! (German)  Königsberg truly comes to life in the  slide shows, which are extremely well laid out, blending images of different times until today, and include some photoghraphs of the incredible war-time damage inflicted on the city by the RAF bombing raids of 1944.

Kaliningrad / Konigsberg Flickr Group -  Many different Photo Streams are members here, featuring photographs of current Kaliningrad and pre-1945 Konigsberg.

Flickr Kaliningrad Photo Album, by sludgeG - Interesting collection of Kaliningrad area photographs from 2003.

Impressive Interactive Photo Site site for East Prussia.  This is the www.bildarchiv-ostpreussen.de site. Drill down via an interactive map  to find a huge collection of original photographs there!

Ostsicht - Bilder- und Informationsdienst Ostsicht - ostsicht.de

Informationen über Ostpreussen, Königsberg und das Königsberger Schloss - www.stefan-winkler.de

Interactive Photosite of Konigsberg  - Images pop up  from different periods in the city depending where you click the mouse pointer on a street map of the city.

MAPS

Large 1905 Königsberg Street Map - You will find all the original street names there. This link takes you to the Wikimedia Commons site, their free media repository.

Old Map of Königsberg - A 1931 edition is available for purchase from Amazon.D

MUSIC

Trish Bruxvoort Colligan - At this link Trish performs a beautiful and soulful song titled "Keep Moving" that she has written and composed based on the harrowing account of her friend's mother's childhood escape from WWII East Prussia.

OTHER

??????? - Essays from Kalinigrad (Blogsite) - Repurposed Religion - About the many churches of Königsberg, or their remains, and the re-emergence of Russian Orthodox church.

Amalienau was a suburban quarter of western Königsberg, Germany. Wikipedia article.

Extensive Wikipedia article on East Prussia is an excellent summary of its history and what happened to that largely forgotten region of Eastern Europe.

History of a Konigsberger Family (German / English) This is a touching site dedicated to the author's Grand Parents who were orginally from Königsbergs, and contains some memories of family members of what it was like to live in that city.

Omi's Story - Grandmother Ursula Zimmer's personal account of growing up in East Prussia and her escape from Konigsberg at the end of WWII.

Quednau was a quarter of Königsberg. Its name was first documented in 1255 as a region populated by Old Prussians, and the area eventually passed to the town of Löbenicht. The Quednau Church was destroyed in 1945 during the Battle of Königsberg. Its ruins in Kaliningrad were demolished in 1970.

Wilhelm Gustloff Maritime Disaster - Like the apparent silence around the wartime destruction of the City of Königsberg and the expulsion of over 10 million Germans from their homelands, present day accounts of WWII remain largely silent about was was likely the largest maritime disaster of all times, the sinking of the the ocean liner ‘Wilhelm Gustloff’ by a Russian submarine in Jan 1945. Exact numbers are hard to come by, but it has been claimed there were perhaps as many as 10,000  passengers on board - more than three times above capacity. Just about all were refugees trying to get away of the advancing Red Army; mostly were women and elderly men, and as many as 5,000 children, and around 1,000 wounded soldiers. Only about 1,200 passengers were rescued after the Wilhelm Gustloff was hit by three Russian torpedoes, suggesting this was the largest loss of life at sea in recorded history.