Königsberg, East Prussia - Remembered
Website Comments 2013 - 2017
I invite your comments about this website - and in particular if you have something to share regarding a personal connection to this once wonderful city that history seems to want us to forget about. Posting your information here will help preserve the memory of those who lived and worked there for so many generations and built the vibrant and thriving city and its community that were so viciously annihilated at the end of WWII.
In posting your comments, I reserve the right to review and edit them in the interest of relevancy, civility, as well as brevity, and as a result it might take a day or more for your comment to appear on this site.
If you would like to get in touch with someone who left a comment here, contact me via the form on this site as I might have their email address, and in which case I will give them your email address and leave it up to them to get back to you.
To send me your comments, please click
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|Feb 27, 2017||Frank||Hi - I am reading Armageddon the battle for Germany 44-45 by Max Hastings,just finished chapter relating to Konigsberg. Then found your web site. Thank you for all information. I never realised this sad history. Thank you for informing.|
My great great grandfather immigrated from Prussia to the US. I don't know why
or what year..how can I see if I have relatives still there?
Admin: Without a place of origin or a even a rough date or year when he might have arrived from Prussia it will be nearly impossible to get started on trying to research that. The Ellis Island site at http://libertyellisfoundation.org/faq> would be a good place to start digging and you could try just using a first and last name, and see what comes up.
|Jan 16, 2017||David||
I live in the USA (New York) and am curious if there is a connection. 4
relatives came here to New York from Seesken, East Prussia, Germany. Adolf (my
grandfather), Emma & Marie (both Great-Aunts) and Charlotte (the mother of all
3.. and my Great-Grandmother). Teresa Schrubba posted comments about 2
Schrubba's (Gustav & Ludwig) (in October of 2011)
Admin: Followup email sent.
|Jan 16, 2017||Gordon||Searching for someone who might have known or known of Renate Schlitzkuss,who with her Mother escaped from Konigsberg in 1945 or so.|
Thank you for all the work you put into maintaining and improving the site.Happy
and healthy New Year!
Admin: Thank you Karl - All the best to you too for 2017!
|Dec 22, 2016||Ruth||
Are any of the images on your website available for publication? I am looking
for a photo of Konigsberg with street signs in German for publication in a book.
Admin: I can't claim ownership to any of the photos on the site. I have listed ownership with the picture if it was known, and all except a few have been gathered on the internet from Russian sources - and give the state of the world at the time that many were taken - it would be hard to for anyone to claim copy rights to any of them as far as I am concerned. I suggest you contact the http://www.bildarchiv-ostpreussen.de/ as they are likely to have that kind of information for any photos in their archives.
|Dec 19, 2016||Anonymous||Good afternoon. I studied the history of Königsberg. You have the rare amateur photo Konigsberg. I will be very happy all photos.|
|Dec 9, 2016||Christopher||
Hello. I was looking through the comments on the site. Back in November 2014
"Elsa" made an inquiry about the Quednau family. While I'm sure there were many
Quednaus in Konigsberg my grandfathers family was one of them. I'm wondering how
I might beable to get in touch with her to discuss. ..My Quednaus were amoung
those that fled with the Russian advance. Thanks for this site. So much of this
history seems lost. It's nice that this site exists.
Admin: I have forwarded your message and email address to Elsa and will send you hers
|Nov 20, 2016||Susan||
How would I go about seeing if I could possibly have any living relatives from
my father who was born in Konigsberg in 1907 His name was Herbert Walter
Admin:There many genealogical resources on the internet that concern themselves with East Pruisia including Konigsberg, such as the German genealogy wiki, at:
and then specifically for East Prussia at:
as well as FEEFHS, at:
The Federation of East European Family History Societies
|Nov 17, 2016||Cindy||
Hello! Thank you kindly for sharing this valuable information. As many others,
I'm trying to research my family tree. My grandfather and his family apparently
had owned a successful paper mill there. His parents, my great grandparents were
supposedly executed and their home turned into a hospital. Now it is said to be
a museum. I would love to learn more of this history, so will continue to pursue
your item. Thank you!
Admin: As usual, should anyone reading this have any information about this, contact me via the comment form on this site and I will forward it to Cindy.
|Oct 22, 2016||Werner||First of all, I want to thank you for this website. My father, Alfred, was born in Koenigsberg in 1927. He, his three brothers and his mother made in out before the very end. We do not know what happened to my grandfather (Paul Kurt Bartlau). None of them ever spoke much about what they went through - though what little they did say conveyed the horror they witnessed, and the hardship they experienced. I try to imagine what it must have been like to watch your city be destroyed, and your friends and family die along with it - but I know I cannot even come close to the dispare, helplessness, and anger they, and so many others felt. People need to know that this happened, that the will of corrupt leaders brought into power by ignorance, indifference, and blind faith can bring immense suffering and destruction on citizens, and their culture. That policies seen as inhumane, can be overruled by governments that don't really care about people - only that they get what they want. What kind of outcry would there have been had London suffered the same fate as Koenigsberg, Dresden, or Hamburg? We, as humans will suffer in the future if we do not realize these things can happen again if we are not vigilant, and engaged. We can't let lip service lull us into complacency. Koenigsberg, and Prussia were rich in culture and history - now they are gone. Old images and the memories of the few remaining survivors are all that remain. The will, and indifference of evil politicians wiped them from the face of the earth.|
|Sep 12, 2016||Ramel||I heard that the city plans to reconstruct the historic center as well as the castle. The project is called "Heart of the City". Great site by the way!|
|Aug 19, 2916||Karl||I received a message from Germany that old Church records from the former East Prussia are being digitalized by a German website Archion. I had not been able to get anything yet on "Kirchspiel Bladiau" Some other records might be processed already. For those who are still looking for info, it might be a link.|
|Aug 8, 2016||Sonia||My mum ,Barbel Skuza was born in Koenigsberg in 1941 along with her 6 siblings. They fled to Bremen , where they were raised. My mum then immigrated to Australia. Her mothers name was Maria and father Hans Skuza. Her maternal grandmother's name was Maria Klamm and grandfather Heinrich Klamm. Any information about this family would be greatly appreciated|
|Aug 5, 2016||RW||This is a great site. Keep up the good work. One day people will be more open to asking questions about all the things that happened between 1914 and 1950. We had a family friend, Lothar Gluth (1925-2007) an East Prussian that came to Canada in the 1950's. He would have loved this your work.|
|Aug 4, 2016||John||Excellent job on the Konigsberg website. It is clear you put a lot of work into it. Thank you very much for your efforts. History thanks you!|
|July 24, 2016||Alla||I was born in former Kenigsberg in 1955 and I am interested in Kenigsberg history and the citizens as well who lived here before WW2. You know, a great deal of inhabitants now reseach and keep in memory the names of streets and buildings. As for me I live in Hindenburg strasse,48 and I would be so pleased to have a picture of these places. Unfortunately, the internet gives only 4 photos of my street. Will anyone do me a favour and send to my e-mail a picture or description of Hindenburg strasse? The pictures and stories about Burgschule are also of a great demand.Thank you for advance. In any case I can help you with modern pictures and adresses. firstname.lastname@example.org|
|July 18, 2016||Rheinhardt||
This dark little bit of history reveals the inconsistency in Allied behavior.
Starting with the strange case of Britain and France not declaring war on Russia
when they invaded Poland. Why would the allies allow Stalin to take all of
eastern Germany when it was clear from the onset that Stalin would turn on the
US after the war. The world lost an incredible amount of culture when it allowed
the Soviets to take East Prussia, Silesia, and Pomerania. My grandparents could
never talk about what they experienced and did not wish to visit Königsburg
after the war as they where aware that there was really nothing left. Not even
the tombstones in the church yard. The Russians and the Poles removed tombstones
in churches to erase all traces of German presence. There are not headstones
left in our family's plot outside of Kaliningrad.
Admin: I must admit, that is one of the most puzzling outcomes of the outcome of WW2: the Allied forces allowing Stalin to keep, first of all, the Polish territory the tyrant had stolen earlier through the 1939 secret Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact with Hitler, which resulted in the forced displacement of around 2 million Poles who lived there at the end of WW2, and, secondly, the enourmous landgrab of the Eastern German territories you mentioned, followed by the subsequent expulsion of the German population living there between 1944 and 48. I know, the Russian people suffered terribly as a result of WW2 (over 2.2 million killed in Stalingrad alone!) yet this would have meant nothing to Stalin who had no qualms at all about using his own people as cannon fodder a few hunderd thousands at the time during the various purges, in the gulags, etc., and was responsible for starving roughly 3.3 million Soviet Ukranians to death during the famine of 1930-33. The Allies would have know a lot about the murderous carnage inflicted by Stalin on his own citizens, yet they rolled over and allowed him card blanche when they gave in to his territiorial ambitions.
|July 10, 2016||Bradley||The travestry is enough in and of itself, without even beginning to consider the anguish and suffering of the inhabitants of a city established over 800 years ago, used as an excuse to launch the invasion that sparked the war, and given away (probably on a napkin with scribblings, as one of my old history profs indicated was the manner of agreement between FDR and Stalin in their private collusion). Not to mention the forced expulsion of indigenous peoples, and the re-manufacturing of that place into a new and distinctly bleak location for only strategic reasons. In particular, I experienced a sadness marked with an aura of useless futility, as evidenced by an empty, hulking concrete echo of Stalinist murder as, "The world's ugliest building", where Königsberg Castle once stood. As someone with a lot of Native American blood and lineage running through my veins, there is a ghostly hearkening to some similar occurring familiarity from the past, here in my own homeland, that presents in the form of a knot in my belly. Again, thank you for your efforts and diligence in not permitting this attempted erasure to prevail. Kindest regards.|
|June 26, 2016||Martin||My mother and her mother were from Konigsberg. Lost everything after the war. She does not talk much about it.|
|June 22, 2016||Carole||My mother lived here some of the time she was growing up in East Prussia and also in what was Rastenburg. I'm thinking of visiting, but its obviously very different now. I dont know if there are likely to be any relations of hers still left. Her name was Ella Holzmann - I think Holzmann was quite a common name.|
|June 21, 2016||Alan||Thank you. An excellent site conveying tragic information. As an Englishman born after the war it is easy to be judgemental sitting here now in 2016 about the decisions made in that period of 1939-45.I am neither an apologist or a supporter of barbarity that tumbled from the sky or came from the east - just a student of posterity that is deeply saddened that from a democratic decision made by the German people in 1933, moral corruption on all sides resulted in the eventually deaths of millions of human beings. One final tragic postscript - we do not learn. Could this happen again? Of course. I earnestly hope not. Thank you again.|
|June 14, 2016||Justin||
Hello, I'm writing you in response to a comment posted in 2014 from a women
looking for information on Quednau family. My grandparents both came from
Prussia to Canada after the war. I was wondering if you have a way of putting me
in touch with her? Thank you Justin Quednau.
Admin: Information forwarded.
|June 11, 2016||Hugo||I am Brazilian German grandson. I would like to know more about my family because my grandmother was born in Königsberg in Dec / 27/1893 called Berta Reuter Spitzer was married to August Wilhelm Spitzer and had three children one of them was called Augusto Gustavo Spitzer. She arrived in Oct / 24/1925 in the city of Santos with his son Augusto and a daughter than her what was her name, I need to know if there are records about them , and currently still exitem family in town so I can get my Passport . Thank you.|
|June 4, 2016||Karl||
Polina's comment of June 1 piqued my interest and I had to go to the map to
locate Amalienau. When I was on convalescent leave in 1944 after the firestorm I
found my mother living in her employer's apartment. I thought that by chance it
could have been the same place. Strange, how the thoughts of former residents of
Königsberg are draw back there and how some new residents are also trying to
connect with the past . Thank you for making all this possible.
Admin: Born in 1925 Ulrich Karl Thomas is a genuine Königsberger and the author of We Will Be Free: Memoirs of an East Prussian Survivor (2015) . His very entertaining poem Die Lomse can be found on the Die Lomse link of the main menu.
|June 1, 2016||Polina||Hello everyone - Let me introduce myself firstly. I've relocated to Kaliningrad recently, and I'm seriously interested in the history of the place I'm living in now, espacially in everyday life of Konigsbergers, in who lived here and how did they feel about leaving their dear Heimatland. Actually, I was born in Sovetsk (Tilsit), then moved to Moscow, and now I'm back.I'm living in an apartment at Schroetter strasse, 3, which is an old German building in Amalienau / Hufen district, and I would love to get to know anything about the families who lived there before 1945. Also, I may be able to help someone with photos of the streets and buildings etc of the present-day Kaliningrad and any other information available for me. email@example.com|
|May 29, 2016||Anna Maria||
Interessante ed emozionante questo video.A luglio andrò a Koenigsberg e la
guarderò con un animo diverso,la storia di questa bellissima città mi ha sempre
affascinato.Grazie per le notizie.
(Interesting and exciting video. I'm going to Koenigsberg in July, and I will look at it with a different mindset, as the story of this beautiful city has always fascinated me. Thank you for the information.)
|May 24, 2016||Rachel||
Hello! Great website! I have been researching my family history and that has
lead me here! My paternal grandmother was born Gerda Ursula Paukstadt on July 8,
1923 in Wingsnupoenen, Tilsit, Prussia. In 1933 she and her family moved to
Liep, Konigsberg. Her father Frederick Paukstadt helped build a bridge there
during that time but I don't know which or exactly where. I think her mother's
name was Martha (Kalkovski) Paukstadt. I know that my grandmother's siblings
were Horst (b. 1921), Werner (b. 1924), Waltraut (b. 1927) and Siegfried (b.
1939) Paukstadt. My great grandfather's brother was Franz Paukstadt who married
a woman named Minna. They had two kids, Holle and Frieda. Before my grandmother
passed away she wrote down her experiences as a child and during WWII. You can
read her story here:
https://ursulazimmer.wordpress.com/omis-story/ I loved my Omi dearly. She
was one of the most brave and amazing people I have ever know. I'm looking for
any more information on her, her family and the history of Germany during thier
times. I was especially excited to see the comment here from "Julie" on April
17, 2015 saying that her grandmother's maiden name was Paukstadt and they were
from Konigsberg too. I would love to contact her!! Feel free to post this
comment publicly along with my email address should anyone else want to contact
me! Thank you! -Rachel Zimmer from Boston, Massachusetts, USA .
Admin: Your message has been forwarded to Julie!
|May 16, 2016||Frentz||Thanks for this web site. I just read the historical novel "The other side of silence" by Philip Kerr in which WWII Konigsberg was an important part. The novel peaked my interest in the city and your site has filled in the blanks.|
|Apr 4, 2016||Daisy||Just wanted to say my Great Grandfather was born in 1885 in Konigsberg Germany - love the history i'm reading on Konigsberg.|
|Apr 3, 2016||Rick||
My earliest information of lineage goes back to Elizabeh Kuen Gladau born in
Konigsberg 4/27/1817 leading to my grandmother Elsa Sahm born 12/20/1893.
Wondering about her grandparents who died young in the same year if some disease
of some type was prevalent then.
They were, Henriette Gladau Sahm 3/31/1839-/23/1878 Rudolf Sahm 8/6/1834-9/24/1878. Also any news welcome about Sahm family. Thank you
|Apr 2, 2016||James||Congratultions on a well designed and executed site. My great grandfather left Konigsberg for America in the 1860s to take a position as a professor at a Lutheran Seminary in St. Louis, MIssouri. However, he converted to Catholicism on the Atlantic crossing and became a well-know Catholic author in the U. He was a professor in Konigsberg when he left. The story of Konigsberg and East Prussia is a sad, largely ignored, injustice.|
|Mar 27, 2016||Joel||
I am researching various methods the emigrants used to travel from Poland to Antwerp. Those, like my grandmother traveled from Lomza, Poland to Konigsberg then continued to Antwerp. At one time there were three ships that traveled from Konigsberg to Antwerp. Do you have any history regarding modes of travel, either by ship or train between Konigsberg and Antwerp around the years of 1912. Thank You
|Mar 19, 2016||Hans||
I refer to your post on this site (copied below). I think I know were Michal
Sagenheim went. In fact I think the very same person is my 6th Great
Grandfather. He became a citizen in Bergen, Norway in 1733. He died there in
1742 leaving a large family behind. You can find more information here:
.I would love to
hear more about the family as I have not been able to trace Michael's ancestors
in Königsberg. Administrator: Can you please put me in touch with the JC? (Oct
2, 2015 - JC - It is very sad, I have been trying to locate information on
the city since I learned that one of my ancestors (Michael
Sagenheim/Sackenheim?) left the city back in 1730's, but sadly It has been very
difficult due to the destruction during WW2 and now Russian rule)
Admin: I wish you good luck with your research. I've fwd your message to JC.
|Mar 14, 2016||DLee||Thank you for this site. My ancestors were from Goldap, near the current border of Poland and the Kaliningrad Oblast. They emigrated to Australia in 1870, so fortunately avoided all the suffering that followed. I am not sure why they emigrated and would appreciate any information on motivations for people leaving during this time: was it for economic reasons, the impact of the Franco-Prussian War or fears about unification and growing militarism under Bismark and the Junkers? Regardless of that, every day I pray for the innocent civilians caught up in war and work for a Christian pacifist organisation. I have recently been reading a great deal about the sufferings of the East Prussian Wolfskinder in the aftermath of the war. Thank your for your site as it plays a valuable role in showing the immense suffering caused by war in terms of the cost to innocent civilians and also the losses it inflicts on our global cultural heritage.|
|Mar 3, 2016||Rosemarie||Great Website. I was born in Koenigsberg in 1936. We lived on Classstrasse auf den Hufen not far from the Zoo and the North Railroad Station.I too have wonderful memories of my childhood there. It was safe and my sister ( 1934 ) and I could roam and even ride the streetcar just for fun. Summers we spent in Cranz and went to the Beach every day. We left Koenigsberg on Sept. 1944 to visit my Dad im Lazarett in Meissen, Saxony. From there we were evacuated to Bevaria in March 1945. I live since 1957 in Louisville, Ky.|
|Mar 3, 2016||JeffK||Fantastically produced website. This is a wonderful historic compilation of a wonderful city that is too often unknown. Thank you for this. I will be visiting the site regularly.|
|Mar 2, 2016||Crystal||
I am looking into my family tree and I am having trouble with my mother's side
of the family. My 7th great grandfather came from Prussia. His name is Joseph
Walter VonHohenfelt. When he came to the United States he dropped the last name
and was known as Joseph Walter. Thank you so much for any information you can
Admin: May I suggest that the name is more likely to be either von Hohenfeld or von Hohenfels; see a comment posted here on May 28, 2015 that had a reference to a von Hohenfels in Königsberg. Your best bet would be to post your queries to one of the more popular genealogical websites, such as ancestry.com or geni.com - or - if you know German, any of the many genealogical sites in Germany. I have posted a number of them in various comments below that were asking similar questions.
|Feb 28, 2016||Anonymous||My mother was born Koenigsburg in 1926. She was separated from her family during the war, her father was a surgeon and her mother was a nurse.I am just trying to find any documents or information on Dr Julius Demke thanks|
|Feb 20, 2016||Adrian||I am looking for any information on my Grandparents, Egbert Milkoweit, he built the gates to the Cemetary in Koenigsberg, which was for multiple religions. My Grandmothers family owned a Bakery, either in Koenigsberg or nearby, her last name was Kunke, Hildegard. My Grandfather was also a shipbuilder, had transported people out of there when the red army came.they both with children Dieter, Feini, u. Roswhita landed in Schleswig Holstein then later moved to Herbrechtingen Badenwuertenberg where they passed away The only one believed to still be alive is Reini, he lives somewhere near Bergweiler, a area near Giengen a.d. Brenz.|
|Feb 5, 2016||David||
Hello , I am very happy to have found your great website on Konigsberg . I am in
the business of restoring and collecting antique clocks . I have come across a
very unusual wall clock signed A.W.Willer Konigsbergn on it's milk glass dial
face . The clock is 5 feet tall with a slender 12 1/2 inch wide mid section and
a 15 inch wide top.It is time only and beats seconds. Unlike the typical Vienna
Regulator and German Wall Clock this clock is somewhat different in it's build .
I am curious to know more about A.W.Willer and if you have photographs more
clocks similar . I can send pictures if you would like to see the clock. I have
been in the clock business in Central United States of America for almost 40
years and have never seen another clock like this one. I have read much
information about East Prussia,Konigsberg and the various names throughout the
centuries . Your site is the best if the best ! I was told the name Konigsbergn
is plural and it means Kings Mountains because Konigsberg ends in the letter
"n". Many Thanks.
Admin: Anyone able to help David with more information, please use the Comment form to let me know, and I will pass it on to him.
|Jan 28, 2016||Karl||
Thank you for maintaining the site. In August last year I had my memoirs
published, a large part was growing up on the Lomse . Our children wanted to
know more details about my growing up years. A surprising number of other people
have expressed their appreciation. Are more such books published?
Admin: I would imagine there are more books like that - two listed at the Links page under "Books" on this site:
- A Childhood under Hitler and Stalin: Memoirs of a "Certified Jew", by Michael Wieck
- Jetzt war ich ganz allein auf der Welt: Erinnerungen an eine Kindheit in Königsberg. 1944-1947
If anyone know of similar publication I would be please to list them on this site.
Admin: U. Karl Thomas is the author of We Will Be Free: Memoirs of an East Prussian Survivor (2015) - more information at this link.
|Jan 20, 2016||John||
What happened to Konigsberg and its people was a great crime. Certainly the
Nazis had to be stopped and destroyed but why the need to firebomb an ancient
and beautiful city that was so full of culture and innocent civilians? Then to
add evil to evil by handing that part of Europe to Stalin, a man who was not far
behind Hitler in his capacity for evil. I found out about Konigsberg whilst
researching for a road from the UK to Lithuania that my wife and I are planning
to take this summer. I then went on to read about its history and what happened
to it. Very very unnecessary and very very sad... As someone from Britain I am
ashamed of my country's role in this barbarism.
Admin: Regardless of the noble intentions to wipe the evil and murderous Nazi regime of the face of the earth, apparently this could not be accomplished without committing even more evil oneself. All this to satisfy the principle that the end would justify the means, never mind the countless of innocent lives that would have to be sacrificed for this in in the most inconceivably cruel and vicious manner, such as being burned alive by the thousands in one of the fire-storms dropped from the sky courtesy of Mr. Harris and his bombers that were sent out specifically to destroy civilian populations.
|Jan 7, 2016||Bernard||I have travelled widely in Germany but I have never been to Konigsberg. I only know it as the birthplace of Kant and as the home of the famous Seven Bridges Puzzle. However, I am enthralled by its story and I think of it as some kind of lost world. I visit this site often and wish I could visit Konigsberg as it was before WW2. To me, this city is always a symbol of the devastation wrought in Europe by two world wars. So many lives lost, so many places destroyed. I pray daily for peace.|
|Jan 2, 2016||Guenter||
So sad, it seems man is destined to repeat history and never learn.
Admin: Indeed - as someome famous (Churchill) once said "Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it". As the 17th century philosopher Spinoza once said, because we don't really know what or why we are, we like to think we have free will and can do as we please, but as history has shown us, that - as a species - we are in over our heads, e.g., we don't know if we are coming or going. Clearly, current international news headlines would seem to confirm this, and perhaps one day the gods will take take mercy on us and put us out of our misery . Unless, of course , we will in fact be able to come to our senses . Here's hoping ...
|Dec 14, 2015||John||
I am from London. I have no connection with Konigsberg. Nevertheless I found the
site and the history very interesting. I found this interesting film of 1928
Konigsberg: Königsberg 1928
Admin: Yes, thank you - I have seen many excellent videos about Königsberg, including this one, and intended for some time to add a video page to the site, and which I have now done.
|Nov 29, 2015||Craig||
My family once lived at Hinter-Roßgarten 48 up until 1939. One photo of the
house taken from the Schloßteich is in our possession, but it would be wonderful
if a better photo with a wider angle existed. Any help you can provide in
finding photos would be great.
(Also:) If you still have Guenter's e-mail address (see his comment June 16, 2015) I would love to contact him. My cousin Monika Reuter Mevert was born 1936 in Konigsberg and lived in Hufen on Schrötter-Str. She fled with her family in 1944 and lives in Hanover. she has now visited Kaliningrad twice. I travel the US for business and sometimes pass through Cincinnati where Guenter lives now. I'd love to make contact with him. Thank you.
Admin: I've passed your message on to Guenter.
|Nov 26, 2015||Selina||
Hello, I live in Haiti my father was born in Koenisberg September 20 of 1943,
His name was Kurt Mehring son of Walter Mehring and Irmgard. They emigrated to
Canada. Admin do you know how can I find his birth record? or any history
related to my last name. Thank you.
Admin: See my response to Cathy to her comment from October 19, 2015. There are no doubt many similar sources on the internet that can be searched through, and it will require patience and persistence to dig out that kind of info. In the case of Königsberg, it is likely that most vital records related to birth, deaths and marriages were destroyed during the final days of WWII. This as a result of the devastating RAF bombing raids and the subsequent mayhem at the hands of the Red Army. Few - if any - of the many churches and civic buildings in Königsberg were left standing unscathed, if they weren't totally destroyed. You can read this link here (in Ancestry magazine) about one women's unsuccessful attempts to get her Königsberg-born-grandmother's records.
|Nov 18, 2015||Kirill||
Hello everyone, I am using a translator otherwise you might not be able to
understand me. I now live in Konigsberg, and I'm sorry that Russia is not
preserving the cultural value of Konigsberg. I regret that the war claimed so
many lives. You can drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for photos or
videos of a home or street that you want to see. (I do not have the money (?))
but in my spare time I might be able to help you with this. Kirill
Admin: I translated this as well as I could from a German translation I received of what was likely written in Russian by Kirill.
|Nov 15, 2015||Petra||Well-done website. I'm German, my mother (b. 1925) was from Koenigsberg, her mother from Tharau, and I listened to all their stories and wrote some of it down when I was a teen. This past August, my American husband and I, for the first time, visited Ostpreussen and had the greatest time. I went through a specialized German travel agency and we had our personal tour guide there. People were very friendly and helpful. The ship on which my mother's family escaped in '45 is now a museum ship on the Pregel. I just found this website because I was looking for links in English as some of my American friends have never heard of Ostpreussen's history. I guess Hollywood never made a movie about it.|
|Nov 11, 2015||Kerri||I recently purchased a etching of Konigsberg/Pr. Pregelbogen mit Dom signed by Ka. Feuller (not 100% sure if spelling is correct) and I have come across this site. I have been trying to find out about the artist, and whilst doing so I have learnt about the terrible, unhuman events that occurred in Konigsberg. I live in a lucky country, Australia. Yours humbly, Kerri Shannon.|
|Nov 10, 2015||Gary1211||
Very interesting site. Just to correct one error. Prussia was not a German
province. Until the 1870s Germany as a country did not exist....It existed of
numerous Kingdoms and Princedoms of which the Kingdom of Prussia was by far the
largest. After Germany united into one country it was the King of Prussia who
became the German Emperor. Old maps show that Poland and Lituania did not exist
prior the WW1. Otherwise well done!!
Admin: I have a map from 1100 (Europe After the First Crusade) that shows the boundaries of the Holy Roman Empire, as well as the Kingdom of Poland on its NE border, and a subsequent map of Europe in 1273 that also includes the Grand Duchy of Lithuania in between the Kurland and Prussia areas.
|Oct 29, 2015||Alexander||I was born in Königsberg (Kaliningrad) in 1956 on the street 67 Schwalben (renamed to Gertsena) in a small house with a garden. I always wanted to know in whose house I was born, what a German family was forced to leave his home. I ask for forgiveness from those people, and I believe that East Prussia will again be German|
I am searching for the family Dill living in Meldinen, Germany, in the mid
1920's, where five children were born to Gustav and Bertha Dill. It seems that
Meldinen was re-named by the Russians to Kaliningrad in the 1940's. I would like
to confirm the existence of the family and access the birth certificates for
each child. Is there a possibility of doing that from here in Canada?
Admin: There many genealogical resources on the internet that deal exclusively with East Pruisia, such as the German genealogy wiki, at:
http://wiki-de.genealogy.net/Computergenealogie, and then specifically for East Prussia at:
http://wiki-de.genealogy.net/Ostpreußen/Genealogische_Quellen, as well as FEEFHS, at:
The Federation of East European Family History Societies
|Oct 10, 2015||Janine||
Hi I am looking for my grandfather Harry Merbers birth certificate as I am looking for German/citizenship passport. He was born in koningsberg to jewish parents I don't their forenames. He was born in 1857 the 25 December a kosher birth. When he was 2 years old he and his parents left and went to South Africa with his 5 brothers his parents left them in South Africa and must of come back to Koningsberg and left their sons in 4outh Africa. My grandfather died at 103 years old and fathered 14 children. My father was the last born and is. Still alove today at 83 years old. If anyone has any information on the Merber family please could they get in touch. Kind regards, Janine Merber
|Oct 6, 2015||Eric||
The family of my mother's father was named Gesecus, and they lived in the
Koenigsburg area from at least 1705 to 1870-74. I was told there was a Gesecus
Platz and a Gesecus Bridge in Koenigsburg. The last male Gesecus in the US died
in 1965, and only one female born as a Gesecus survives. I would like to know if
the bridge and platz were destroyed or if any remnant remains, and how I might
connect with surviving Gesecus family members in Germany or elsewhere. I adopted
the name as a pseudonym (Eric Gesecus) for my role as the Monster(s) in the new
film, "Army of Frankensteins" (not to be confused with the Dutch film,
"Frankenstein's Army"), which I believe is available on DVD/BluRay in Germany.
Admin: Not sure aboout a bridge by that name, but Gesekus Platz was a large square located on the West side of Konigsberg castle and was essentially bombed out of existence in WWII. Kaliningrad Plaza is roughly located there today, next to a section of the main Leninsky Prospect thoroughfare (sometimes referred to as the highway to nowhere ...) that would have run right through the original square. You can see all that on Google Earth, and here is a link to an old streetmap that shows its original location just left of the Schloss. There are several photos of Gesekus Platz in the slide show that you can find at the Königsberg before WW2 link on this site.
|Oct 2, 2015||JC||It is very sad, I have been trying to locate information on the city since I learned that one of my ancestors (Michael Sagenheim/Sackenheim?) left the city back in 1730's, but sadly It has been very difficult due to the destruction during WW2 and now Russian rule.|
|Sep 22, 2015||Grant||
The area around the Masurian lakes district was settled by Tuetonic Knights
coming back from "The Crusades," my family came across from Bohemia and can
trace to a Fieldmarschal Spork who fought Napoleon, and Anton Von Spork who
fought Sulyman the great, the Islamic invasion from Constantinople and Istanbul
- Ottomans. The area around Konigsberg was very mixed - Polish, German, Teutonic
Jewish etc. When the Russians advanced and split Poland in two at the beginning
of the II war, 35,000 Polish officers were exterminated by the Russian Military.
(Admin: 35,000 seems high, but not that this would make these
mass murders, including the Katyn Forrest Massacre, any less awful. According to
Encycl. Brittania, in 1992 the Russian government released documents proving
that the Soviet Politburo and the NKVD had been responsible for the massacre and
cover-up and revealing that there may have been more than 20,000 victims.)
Those who want to understand another part of the mixed history of the region should research the "Volga Germans'" Catherine the Great published manifestos in 1762 and 1763 inviting Europeans (except Jews) to immigrate and farm Russian lands while maintaining their language and culture. Many of these ethnically German people refused to serve in any army and were persecuted by Russian and Germans. The Germans gave some a choice serve as guards in concentration camps or face the same fate. One can not fully understand the Konigsberg region without understanding how villages were mixed between Poles and Germans and those who were inter racial, and Jewish Villagers which in rural areas were often segregated. Ukraine and Poland at the WII were populated as was the Crimea by people of similar ethnicity.
|Sep 14, 2015||Elke||My mother, Irmgard Freimann, was born in Koenigsberg in 1920. She just passed away this May. She loved Koenigsberg, and always talked about how great it was. My brother Uwe was also born in Koenigsberg. In 1944 they fled to Flensburg Germany on the last train out. My grandfather, Max Freimann, stood at the train station. No one knew that it would be the last time they would see each other. There is a book by Robert Miner about people in that area. My ancestors were from Memel, Pillau, and Tilsit. I look up the area and read all that I can found about it daily. I am proud to come from an Ostpreußen family.|
|Sep 9, 2015||David||As a follow up to my entry last year (October, 29) a very kind German lady has provided me with details and photographs of Aron Liebeck businesses including his restaurants and amazingly enough of the family house / villa he built for his family in 1905 at 8 Goethe Street ( now renamed Pushkin Street!) which has survived undamaged with much of its interior as originally decorated! A real stunning outcome for my sister and me, thanks to your website. My late father who died in 1987 had no idea I believe that this house survived the destruction of Konigsberg. You can find the house on Google maps. Bizarrely my late mother's flat building in Berlin also survived the war. That must be very unusual. I will try and forward the photos to you. The material forwarded to me by this lady provides a wonderful insight into Aron' s life. Again thank you for providing a means of shedding light on this buried past of our ancestors.|
|Sep 8, 2015||Vera||My mother, Elli Charlotte Hildegarde Blonsky (later married name Pforr) was born in Konigsberg in 1928. She was the only daughter of Gustav and Amelia Blonsky. They were expelled from the city when the Russians came. My mother died on April 7, 2008 a few months before her 80th birthday. I would so love to talk or write to someone who knew her as a young girl.|
|Sep 3, 2015||Suzy||I have always been fascinated by Germany and it's culture. This is just such a sad story about a great city. I have read quite a bit about the shocking expulsion of millions of ethnic Germans and learned also about horrible treatment of Germans by the western allies after the war. The starvation etc. Eisenhower was guilty of some of this much to my surprise.|
|Aug 29, 2015||PP Finland||Hello! I was seeking more information about the Nazi gold train and found your interesting web site, thanks. My father (a Finn) worked as a bookkeeper for a Polish company and was living as a boarder in a jewish family in Königsberg 1.5.1938-1.9.1939. He got the last cabin place in the boat named Danzig from Danzig via Tallinn to Helsinki. After 2 hours trip from Danzig harbour the II world war began (just from Danzig). My father died 13 years ago, but he told me about the situation, people etc, but not from the point of the warfare, also about this hidden gold train. In near future I'll read carefully your pages and the comments. Maybe I can find some interesting informaton for to share with you and others. My father was 22 years old when he left Königsberg.|
|Aug 27, 2015||Mary||You may be interested in a book of memoirs my 90 year old father from Konigsberg just published. You can find it on Amazon: We Will Be Free: Memoirs of an East Prussian Survivor - Kindle Edition|
|Aug 23, 2015||Dieter||
I was born 1933 in Koenigsberg, Heidemannstrasse #1. The district was called
Sackheim. The Sackheimer Tor was close by and we enjoyed playing in the meadows
and swimming in the Kupferteich. After my younger was born we moved to our own
apartment near the famous Parkhotel at the Hintertragheim. Living with Oma and
Opa Max Staff was heaven on earth. We seldom missed a day visiting them. Most of
the time we walked over the Schlossteich Bruecke. There was an Italian ice cream
parlor which we visited when we had some money to spare. I also remember
changing the streetcar at the Kaiser Wilhelm Platz when the wheather was bad.
Opa Max worked at the Schloss and one day,when I visited him, he let me look
into the throne room. When the air raids started my mother and my two brothers
had been offered to move in with the Reuter family in Bludau, about 20 km from
Koenigsberg. Mr. Reuter was a friend of my dad and put us up. My dad expected
the air raids to increase. We celebrated Christmas with the Reuter family in1943
while dad was on Leave from the Russian front and we did not see him again until
1948. I took the train to the city to attend school and spent many weekends with
Oma Staff. She spoiled me by serving breakfast in bed and in many other ways.
Opa Max had passed away. On such a weekend we experients the first air raid by
the RAF. The next morning returned to Bludau. The next air raid destroyed Oma's
and our apartment and we lost all of our wordly possessions. I will not make any
political statements. They are not wanted. Major Harris of the RAF was also
called Bomber Harris although Butcher Harris should be more fitting.
Admin: Harris' continued preference for area bombing over precision targeting in the last year of the war remains controversial, partly because by this time many senior Allied air commanders thought it less effective and partly for the large number of civilian casualties and destruction this strategy caused in Continental Europe. And within the postwar British government there was some disquiet about the level of destruction that had been created by the area-bombing of German cities towards the end of the war. Harris retired on 15 September 1946 and wrote his story of Bomber Command's achievements in Bomber Offensive. In this book he wrote, concerning Dresden (and this can be applied to Koenigsberg as well), "I know that the destruction of so large and splendid a city at this late stage of the war was considered unnecessary even by a good many people who admit that our earlier attacks were as fully justified as any other operation of war. Here I will only say that the attack on Dresden was at the time considered a military necessity by much more important people than myself." Bomber Command's crews were denied a separate campaign medal and, in protest at this establishment snub to his men, Harris refused a peerage in 1946; he was the sole commander-in-chief not to subsequently become a peer. However, in February 1953 Winston Churchill, now Prime Minister again, insisted that Harris accept a baronetcy and he became Baronet. (Wikipedia)
|Aug 21, 2015||Janet||I have just had my family tree researched and see that my great Grandmother Anna Regina. Dorothy's Bertram was born inKoeningsberg 31may 1864 .Her parents wereOtto Bertram and Dorothea nee Neumann She married Meyer Kliusner He was born 1st May 1860 in Wilna Russia son of citizen Abel Punhofofwitsch Kluisner and his wire Bahja born Jankel .Meyer Kluisner had a cigarette factory .If any knows of any descendants of this family and would like to contact me via this site I would love to hear from you Thanks Janet Nute nee Drucker.|
|August 3, 2015||Sabine||My Mother (Edith Wisotzki) was born and raised in Koningsberg. She had a sister, Christel. Her parents were Elfriede and Paul Herman Wisotzki. My grandmother was a dressmaker and my grandfather was the stonemason. They have all died now but I wonder if anyone still remembers them. I know my grandfathers house that he built is still there.|
|July 28, 2015||Wille||I was born in Königsberg and I still live in the western part of Germany since whe had to leave Königsberg in 1944 September.|
|July 24, 2015||Researcher||Hello, I would like to inquire about the overall opinion of the inhabitants of Kaliningrad towards the plans to redevelop the core of the city. ie the post-castle competition. What does the excavations of the castle of Königsberg mean to the general public today vis-a vis the House of Soviets overshadowing it? How will people react to the inauguration of a cultural buildings above the castle? Don't you think that the plans to intervene on an archeological/historic site are attempts to appropriate a culture that does not belong to Russia? Thank you,|
|July 22, 2015||Pat||Hi! I just discovered this website. Maybe someone out there can help me. Family lore says that my great-grandmother Yetta Lippman (1852-1929)came from a prominent Konigsberg Jewish family, but I haven't been able to find any mention of them anywhere. Her father's name was Tzvi Hirsch Lippman and her mother's maiden name may have been Goldberg. At some point, Yetta crossed the border to Taurage (Tauroggen), Lithuania, where she met and married my great-grandfather, Benjamin Nathanson. They immigrated to Minneapolis, MN, in 1886-89, and raised their children there. Yetta's death certificate says she was born in Tauroggen, but that may be a mistake. If anyone has heard of a prominent Lippman family in Konigsberg, please let me know. Thank you.|
|July 14, 2015||Tatum||Hello, My great aunt is from Koenigsberg. She lived there under the Russian Invasion and she and her parents lived to escape two years later. She now lives in America and I am helping her write a book of all that she went through. I found this site through some general searches for more information on the Russian Invasion. I think she would be interested in reading comments on this site as she is very much for keeping her beloved Koenigsberg alive in her memory.|
|July 5, 2015||Jasmin||
My Oma was born in Königsberg in 1925, I really dont know much about her past,
she never spoke much about it but what I do know is her name was Rosemarie
Nissen, all I know is she fled, changed her name to Elfriede Kienapfle (
something like that), she told me at one point she hid under dead bodies, told
me of the villages they went through, told me of watching a lady give birth on a
frozen lake and baby passing,she told me hitler patted her on the head, I guess
my question is what can I find out about my grandmother? Why would she have
changed her name? I dont believe we are Jewish, but I just want to know a little
more, she passed away in 1997, if you can help me I would greatly appreciate it,
my grandmother came to the states in 1979, my mom and I were both born in
Germany, thank you.
Admin: If anyone has information that might help Jasmin in her research they can contact me via the from on this site and it will be passed on to her. Other than that, the Nissen family name could have a Jewish (Ashkenazic) origin according to some sources - based on the Yiddish male personal name Nisn - but without further substantiation that could just be a coincidence.
|June 18, 2015||Tom||
Great little site and a fascinating history. I am curious about an obscure
artist from Konigsberg, Louise Dreher. She shows up in a 1970 newspaper about
the art scene there and I have come across a large 1920's collection of her
etchings as a result of working at a small auction house in the U.S. Can you
suggest any sources to learn more about her?
Admin: The reference in the June 1970 issue of Das OstPreussenblatt is the only reference to Luise Dreher that I could find . I post your comment here and perhaps someone else dwelling here has more information on her.
|June 16, 2015||Guenter||
I was born on the "Hufen' a suburb of Koenigsberg in 1934. Have wonderful
memories of our beautiful City. I live now in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA.
Admin: Hufen was a broad region along northwestern Königsberg which developed into the quarters of Ratshof, Amalienau, Mittelhufen, and Vorderhufen. (ref. Wkipedia)
|June 14, 2015||Alan||
Thanks to my inquisitive mind, I have to come to this site in my further studies
of the life and work of Immanuel Kant who has had a great influence on my life.
Admin: Well, glad to be of service (!) Beyond that, I can't think of another philosopher who has had more influence on contemporary philisophical thought, especially epistemology and methapics. Kant's antinomies continue to be a source of bewilderment in the minds of the most gifted among us, and that is just fine with me.
|June 6, 2015||Donald||
WW2 was a land grab and a time for revenge. Adolph Hitler and the German army did many cruel things and they went too far. Not honorable at all. What Germany did to the poor peasants of Russia and Poland and the Jewish people certainly has reserved their place in hell. The Russians retaliated. "Remember the tears" and "Not one step back" were their battle cries. Germany used all of their advanced technology to destroy everyone who wasn't German. German people, I say this to you: the goodness and the kindness that stemmed from Konigsberg should be remembered. But it is time to forget and move on. Germany's economy is strong and Germany continues to make advances in technology and medicine. Borders should be broken, religions coalesced and the human populations mingled forever.
|June 4, 2015||David||
Not sure why I'm even writing this; most of what you stated re Soviet Army is
highly inaccurate; Soljenytzin is not a credible guy to quote. Red Army had a
very high code of ethics and rape and theft was swiftly punished by DEATH on
sight !!! anyone will tell you. very few isolated cases were not the norm.
Kindness and compassion that German civilians did not expect was.My father moved
there when he was a kid; my Grandpa liberated it from the nazis. not sure what
you mean by forced relocations, granted most people didn't want to live under
the communists, but there were many that remained - I was born in the 70's there
and know what it is like.. so please feel free to ask, if you care to that is.
Admin: I guess for some it is all a question of what you want to believe, never mind what actually happened. As quoted by Peter C. Clark in his eminently well documented book "The Death of East Prussia - War and Revenge in Germany's Easternmost Province" and in a chapter titled "The Brutal Behavior of Soviet Troops", page 216, “The atrocities committed during the campaign against Germany have been omitted from official Soviet histories of the war. In her compressive history of Red Army soldiers in the war, Catherine Merridale (Ivan's War: Life and Death in the Red Army, 1939-1945) has written "The time for an honest assessment of the war is still far off ..." The suppression of Soviet atrocities, rape in particular, began with the demobilization, when the troops had to sign a statement that they were obliged to keep most of their wartime experiences, such as battlefield casualties and atrocities to themselves. When 60 years later Merridale interviewed patriots of the Great Patriotic War, they did not speak about the worst aspects of their wartime experience and instead used the official line which emphasized the honor and pride of the Soviet soldier in defense of the Motherland.”
|May 15, 2015||Grant||My grandfather, Frank Spork was born Allenstein (Olsztyn) in 1901, to a German Father and Polish mother. The battle of Tannenburg was actually fought around Allenstein. Many German Lutherans spoke Polish as their first language. During the battles the family retreated to cellar, and first Russian army advanced and then retreated. German army occupied the area. Recollected that there was tremendous destruction of cavalry and horses during these battles. Some "Polish" Prussians fought for Germany and some against.The Masurian lakes district saw concentrated fighting against Russians in the first world war. After the war and the Russian revolution many Russian POW's remained in the area working on farms. Many residents fled from former "Prussian" areas through Konigsburg to the new world in the aftermath of WWI. THis part of the "Spork" family now in Australia|
|May 15, 2015||Jonathan||
Hello. I am already the author of the comment from March 12th, 2014, but I would
like to say more. First of all, this web site is very well made and everything,
and contains no Nazi or irredentism propaganda, so this is great. It is
unfortunately very hard to find information about former eastern German region
without bumping into that stinking stuff. However, this website is still clearly
pro-German biased and intentionally forget the obscure half of pre-World War II
German culture and philosophy. It even contain some information that is
borderline lies. I won't deny it, German culture is very great and everything.
But the imperialistic and racism views that was fully part of it before WWII
(long before Hitler was even born) are purposely omitted. It is written that
"artisans and learned men of every nationality not only coexisted peacefully:
they also respected each other and together they built up their city". This is
completely ignoring the fact that Könisberg was founded by German settlers in a
non-German speaking region in the middle ages, in order to forcefully convert to
Christianity the locals (the real "Prussians") which were tolerated by the
Poles, which were the ruling kingdom of the region at the time. You can see
history of Prussia starts by a crime against Humanity (supressing a religion and
a culture), it doesn't start well... (Comment abbreviated due to lenght > 1100
Admin: Regarding the latter - which country in the world can claim not to have displaced some other people or its culture at one time or another in its history ... But let me state this once again – the purpose of this site is not to rehash the various arguments regarding the reasons why Königsberg was destroyed - and one would have to go back to the complexity of factors as to why WWII (and, for that matter, WWI) came about. Instead, this site is about preserving the memory of a once great city and its people that played a significant role in European history for many hundreds of years. One might argue that this cannot be done outside the larger context of the very reasons that precipitated its destruction, and this may well be true – all I can say to that is that countless volumes, books and movies have been made about those particular reasons. On the other hand, the aftermath of the destruction of Königsberg including the cruel expulsion of its citizens remained a taboo in the English-speaking world (and in Germany!) until recently - as did the entire subject of the inhumane expulsion of around 13 million ethnic Germans from their former homelands at the end of WWII. But thank you for your comment - I can assure you that I have read all of it, carefully, but much of it goes beyond what this website is about.
|May 4, 2015||KoengsbergerNow||To Nadruvian: (March 20, 2015) Living conditions of the residents are different. Like everywhere else there are the rich and the poor. My family is middle class, with typical must-have for a mainstream Russian: a car, own appartment, a small country house with a kitchen garden and an annual vacation abroad. As for our desires and hopes: all of us want this war in Donbass to cease, but in a nutshell we want what all people want. We are not that different here. We don't call our leadership a word "regime". We elected it and overwhelming majority believe it. Like it or not, but that's true. People get news from the Internet, TV and social media, so we know what's going on and we are not brainwashed and zombied as you might think. Glad to be of assistance.|
|April 23, 2015||Sharleen||After searching for 10 years I discovered in the past couple of days my great great grandfather Otto Gustav Pahlke was born in Konigsberg in 1850. We had always heard via family that he was from Prussia but no one knew for certain. I have always wanted to confirm that he was from Prussia and also where about in Prussia. To my delight and amazement the other day someone posted me a document he had signed that he was from Konigsberg Prussia. He later came to Kimberley South Africa and was a diamond merchant. He had a diamond merchant business with his partner F.T Gervers till 1881. They also had a business in Hatton Gardens in Middlesex England together. Konigsberg looks like a beautiful old city and I will one day love to visit the city to see where my gg grandfather came from. Would'nt it be great if I still had family living there still today to let them know they have a VERY LARGE family living here in South Africa.|
|April 17, 2015||Edwin||
Hi there! First, thanks for your great site. I am writing a book entitled
"Operation Hannibal" about my mother's experiences in World War Two. As a
resident of Latvia she was rescued by the Germans in the great evacuation. Part
memoir, part military history, my book follows her journey from Riga to Memel,
to Königsberg (where she stayed for over 4 months in a DP Camp), to Pillau and
finally to Copenhagen, with alternate sections focusing on the military
situation of the area she and her family were leaving. The book culminates in an
in-depth look at the great evacuation. I have been searching for some wartime
pics of Königsberg and I want to ask if you would allow me to use the following
photos to help bring my mom's story to life (provided of course that you
actually own them)
Admin: I will be in touch via email.
|April 17, 2015||Julie||
My mother was born in Koenigsberg and after the expulsion eventually emigrated
to the United States. I live in Hawaii and have met several people here with
roots in that great city. I was fascinated by the piece by Bertrand Russell and
I wonder if a novel has ever been written as he suggested. My mother's maiden
name was Podleshney and her mother's maiden name was Paukstadt. If anyone
reading this has any information on either family I would love to know more.
Admin: I believe you mean the piece by Dr. Alfred de Zayas, on the More about Expulsion page. I believe there have been many novels written of that nature, such as One Last Summer, by Catrin Collier, that I have listed on the links page. You local library should have it.
|April 6, 2015||Simon||Really lovely website - fascinating but tragic history. Königsberg must have a beautiful place.|
|April 5, 2015||Alan||
Firstly, thanks very much for this website. I've been reading about Koenigsberg
& it's fascinating & tragic history for many years. I don't intend to rehash
arguments about blame or retribution (or restitution) but have a comment to
make. The city of Kaliningrad now stands on the site of Koenigsberg, just as
Koenigsberg was built on the site of Prussian Twangste. It's people have now
been there for some generations and have their own roots there. To suggest
removing them & returning the place to 'foreign' (to them) rule would be a crime
equal to the destruction of Koenigsberg. Nationalism & war always lead to
Admin: I don't believe anyone seriously expects any of the former Prussian territories to ever be returned to Germany, and certainly not after Stalin deported the entire German population that had been there for centuries. On the other hand, it would be an appropriate gesture to rename the city back to Königsberg in recognition of the siginificance role the city played in the history of that part of Europe. Afterall, Leningrad was named back to Saint Petersburg back in 1991, so there is a precedent for that. As well, renaming the city back to Königsberg would be entirely consistent with current moves by the Kaliningrad civic leadership to restore as much as possible of the historic inner city core as it existed before WWII.
|March 30, 2015||Derby||
Was there any Jewish population in Konigsberg too? And how many Jews were in the
city in January 1945? Were there any any synagogues in the city? And what about
the "Reichskristallnacht" in 1938?
Admin: If you are interested in the history of the Jewish community of Königsberg during WWII, you might want to read “A Childhood under Hitler and Stalin: Memoirs of a ‘Certified Jew’ ” – by Michael Wieck who spent the war years in Königsberg. You will find it on the Links page. Competing Jewish factions built two synagogues in the city towards the end of the 19th century, including the large and stately New Synagogue on the Lindenstrasse, completed in 1896; it included the handsome Jewish orphanage building adjacent to it. Both synagogues were destroyed in the November Pogrom in the night of November 9–10, 1938. The Jewish population – dating back to 1530 - peaked at around 5,000 in the late 1800’s, but while Königsberg had one of the largest Jewish populations within the German Reich, following emigration to escape the growing anti-semitism of the 30's and the genocidal activities of the criminal Nazi regime the population was essentially reduced to zero by the end of WWII. However, there are currently about 2,000 Jews in the greater Kaliningrad region, and in October 2011 the cornerstone for the foundation of a new synagogue was presented with the plan is to build it in the original grand style, and to include a nursery and community center.
|March 28, 2015||Michael||My grandmother was one of the expelled citizens of Koenigsberg. She resettled in Potsdam, greater Berlin. Regards, Micha.|
|March 28, 2015||Sylvia||
I discovered your site while I was searching for information on my paternal
great grandmother. She worked for a Baron Von Hohenfels in the late 1890's .
Without her consent, she bore him a daughter January 8th 1898 in Koningsberg,
and shortly thereafter fled the region to Essen in the Ruhr. There seem to be no
birth records at that time, or information on the barons of Konigsberg at that
time. There were two brothers who could be the potential paternal link. Would
appreciate any direction.
Admin: I had a quick look around some websites that document German nobility, or Deutscher Adel families ( Adelgeschlechter) - and there are a lot of them - and many families extensively documented, and while there is an occasional reference to the (Graf) von Hohenfels origin in the South of Germany (Bayern), no references to their presence at any time in Konigsberg, or anywhere in Prussia for that matter. Are you certain about the von Hohenfels name? Barons were also titled "Freiherr" so you may want to look for Freiherr von Hohenfels as well. At any rate, best of luck with your research!
|March 22, 2015||Christel||
I just found the website, and am very intrigued by it. I was born in Cranz in
1942. We fled to Ratekau in 45 just before the wwII ended. I would be very
interested if there is someone that lived in Cranz and give me some insight of
the city. I have documented my Mothers stories on tape , this is more of her
personal journey. Anything would be welcome. Thanks.
Admin: A great collection of photos of mainly pre-war Cranz can be found on this Flickr site - Click here to see it in a separate browser tab!
|March 21, 2015||Richard||As somebody who studied Prussian history I was drawn to your website, which is a fascinating chronicle of then and now. As you say, the reality is that the old Konigsberg is gone forever, and is but a ghost. Indeed this is the title of a book I am reading called Forgotten Lands: Journeys Among the Ghosts of East Prussia, by Max Egremont, which I would highly recommend. The territorial kleptomania and wilful destruction of Konigsberg and East Prussia by the Soviets is a loss to European history and civilisation. Had it been at any other time and in any other context it would have been called genocide.|
|March 20, 2015||Nadruvian||
What a great website! I'm surprised I haven't come across it before when I was
perusing countless other ones for help with my own memoirs of East Prussia in
1945. We were routed from our home in a small town between Tilsit and Insterburg
to join the desperate westward trek that eventually ground to a halt before we
reached the Vistula (Weichsel) River. We got stuck there for 3 years after the
area was absorbed by Poland. I was too young to remember all the details, but
the stories of our parents before they passed on are still vivid, and with help
from my siblings, I have managed to compile our saga into a reasonably orderly
sequence. I won't even try to compress it into a couple of paragraphs...maybe
some other time.
However, I have read some of the comments of others' encounters with great interest and I am impressed with the thoughtful nature of the discussion. I think most of the comments stem from nostalgia rather than a quest for retribution or to lay blame. It would be unfortunate for the dialogue to deteriorate into futile accusations. I can't think of anything more irrational than for Germany to pursue the return of the area to the Reich. Why would they want it? The German population of the oblast is less than 1%, and it would be cut off from the rest of the country just like it is from Russia today. The greatest benefit for Russia, and perhaps the only one, is its strategic location for the military. From his visits to the area, Max Egremont suggests in his book, "forgotten Land" that many of the current inhabitants consider themselves having more in common with Poland and Lithuania than with Russia. He has also observed that many farms in rural areas have been abandoned since the collapse of the Soviet Union along with the support it once provided for collective farms. Some photographs on "google earth" seem to bear witness to that with scenes of rusty hulks of abandoned vehicles and buildings in disrepair. The irony can't be lost on the fact that the area was once bountiful and served as the bred basket to a portion of Europe. Who knows what the distant future holds.
One wonders if the most logical solution may not be an independent state similar to the other 3 Baltic countries, and that is unlikely to happen without the collapse of the Russian regime as we know it. If at all possible without opening old wounds, it would be interesting to hear from some current inhabitants about their living conditions, hopes, and desires. Another curiosity is the potential impact from the 8 or 9 thousand "Volga Germans" that have settled there in the last 20 years. The Volga Germans are the remnant of the hundred thousands of Germans brought in by Catherin the Great in the 18th century to settle other remote areas of Russia with promises that they could retain their culture and language. Other books that I have found interesting are, "The Death of East Prussia" by Peter B. Clark, and "Battleground Prussia" by Prit Buttar, and stories of more personal encounters, "Yesterday's Sandhills" by Rita Baltutt Kyle, and "The Bones of my People" by Gertrud Baltutt.
Added March 22nd, 2015: Incidentally, I will be attending the funeral of my aunt on Tuesday in Vancouver, Canada. She accompanied us on our trek with her four children and shared our ordeal in Poland. She would have been 99 next week. I would also like to thank Trish for the link to that great video in her post of April 22, 2014. Good luck with your writings.
Admin: Well, thank you for your thoughtful comments! I attempted to moderate some of the earlier blame/retribution comments received for this site but will now just not publish them anymore. Your suggestion that the Oblast should become its own independent state is one I like very much - and have thought about for some years. But that is not likely to happen, as you suggest, under the current leadership.
|March 18, 2015||A Finn||A very nice site that illustrates the fascinating beauty of the city of Königsberg. The mindless destruction of ancient German cities - Königsberg and many others - towards the end of the war served no military purpose. The underlying reason for these things happening - for some "bomber action", for some others crimes against European culture and humanity - was undoubtedly the Allied demand of unconditional surrender, to which impossible demand no nation, no people ever can submit with honor. Greetings from Finland.|
|March 11, 2015||Aussie_CovKid||Thank-you for keeping the memory of Konigsberg alive. I have no German ancestry or links to Prussia, but I am fascinated by German history. If the Germans can rebuild the Frauenkirke in Cov's twin city of Dresden I really hope parts of Konigsberg can be restored as part of the wider European reconciliation. I hope to visit Prussia and Konigsberg in the next couple of years.|
|March 3, 2015||Anon||My Grand mother Anna was born in Prussia in 1902 she married Franz Schulz from Domnau, Kreispreussich, Eylow. My father always spoke fondly of his childhood, of Koenigsberg and his grand parents that lived somewhere out of the city. I have grown up in Australia without grandparents but have had a good life free from the hardships that so many relatives who remained in Europe experienced. Although free from tyranny I always saw/sensed the sadness and loss my father carried in his heart of never reuniting with his parents. If still alive he would be 90 and am sure he would have found this website appeasing in the sense it tells a story that is not always told. Thanks to you and others who shared their stories to another generation.|
|Feb 19, 2015||Rex||I came across this site by chance,having had a quick look at Pressburg,ein bisschen weiter nach suden. I am a patriotic Briton,but have a lot of sympathy for Konigsberg and East Prussia.I think it is sad that the Russians should still be in occupation of this beautiful German city but agree that they would not be there now but for a certain Mr H. By coincidence I have a German pamphlet from 1958 entitled something like "Was errinern Sie noch von Ostpreussen?" A former well travelled work colleague has been in Konigsberg,but I will continue to content myself with the fascination of old place names like Bromberg-Blackberry Hill in English, Allenstein, and so on. I was born in 1942 and remember seeing German p.o.w's in 45/46 in our south England village when the war was over.|
|Feb 18, 2015||Louise||
This is an amazing website! I am writing my mother's story during WWII when she
was only 9 years old. She was born in the town of Metgethen which wasn't far
from Königsberg. She used to go in to town with her family to visit the zoo and
spend time at the lake. Her family was forced to flee in January of 1945 and
they endured horrible hardships. When the war ended they were told to go back
home. She recounts how, I believe it was Königsberg, was like a ghost town with
only charred pillars standing erect and still smelling like smoke and ashes.
After they were home for a couple of months, after rebuilding their dismantled
homes, they were expelled by the Russians into the German occupied areas. I
would love to be able to use some of the pictures on this site in the book I am
writing. Would that be possible? Thank you again for all your work and effort.
It is mind-blowing to know that human beings can resort to the worst kind of
evil, or the purest form of love depending on whom one serves.
Admin: Feel free to use any of the pictures on this site. Over the years I have tried to establish ownership of some of them, but other than those that are labeled with the Popov Collection mark, that is not easily done. Copyright laws are complex, and - as far as I am concerned - the kind of images I have used on this site are in the public domain, unless expressely stated as being copyrighted. Even then, I would want to appeal to the "Fair Use" rule within the copyright laws: this rule is in place for the greater good, to allow copyrighted works to be used without permission for the benefit of the public who wishes to be informed about certain matters, e.g., what was done to the city of Königsberg and its unfortunate inhabitants.
|Feb 8, 2015||Nathan||Thank you for the hard work. My grandmother left for Salt Lake City in the years before Hitler. She spoke of Konigsberg often. The photos you've assembled here have helped me feel closer to her. I wish she and I could have looked at this site together. Thank you again. Ellie Sahm Cole passed away peacefully on Nov. 9, 2001. Ellie was born on Nov. 30, 1913 in Konigsberg, East Prussia Germany to Helena and Rudolph Sahm.|
|Feb 4, 2015||Eugene||
My father and his family were from Cranz. He was captured in Italy and was a
POW in the USA. The family home was in Konigsberger Str. 11 My farther (Bruno
Flanz) had a sister Erika and brother Fritz, his father's name was Franz. Do you
know if the street and buildings still exist. Also a lady named Sue posted on
March 10th 2014 who's mother was still alive and came from Cranz. Wonder if she
knew my family? Would be good to get in touch to find out. Great site by the way.
Admin: Thank you. I've contacted Sue and she informed me that, unfortunately, her mother has passed away last November. She said it was OK to send you her email - I'll do that. The house on Konigsbergerstrasse likely still exists. Cranz is now called Zelenogradsk, and the street plan has changed drastically - the street is now called Kurortnyy Prospekt. You can do a Google map driveby in streetview.
|Feb 1, 2015||Derrick||
My family came to this country from Konigsberg while they were being attacked by
Russia. I have real photos of some of them including some with landmarks or
buildings even celebrities. I was wondering what value such photos have and also
where I could ge access to any kind of records that were saved. My great great
grandfather was a mayor or dignitary of some sort. Im just looking to put some
things together. Thanks in advance.
Admin: I sent you an email. The value of such photo's would be mainly sentimental relative to those who might have some kind of connection to them.
|Jan 18, 2015||Wolfgang||My parents where originally from Ostpreusen. They lived near the city of Treuburg. I heard them talk many times of Koenigsberg. My sister Johanna served an apprenticeship in Koeningsberg. My Parents along with one brother and a sister fled the Red Army in Early 1945 and ended up in Bavaria where I was born on May 6 1945 just before the War ended. The trek that my parents endured to escape the Red Army is one I could write a book about.|
|Dec 14, 2014||KoengsbergerNow||
Very interesting site! Thank you the very much. Being the resident of
Kaliningrad-Koenigsberg, I can't help but disagree with you on what is the real
cause of what happened to the city, the region and its population. I've read the
stories of autrocities of barbarian Red Army, but excuse me, little you know
about exploits of your grandfathers in Russia, Ukraine in Belorussia. My
grandfather in Belorussian village was executed on the porch of his house and
lied unburied for three days by the order of a German officer and my grandmother
was left alone with three children to starve. And this is a happy end. My mom
who was 2 at that time still clearly remembers a German soldier who fired a
round above her head as she was trying to hide with her elder brother and
sister. Needless to say that I never saw none of my grandparents as they all
died when they were too young. My dad came to the region in 1946 to the town of
Domtau. When I asked him why the new settlers hadn't preserve the town park. He
says:"What park?". The task was to survive as there were days when they didn't
have any food at all and people got killed on minefields and so on and so forth.
These things would have never happened, if Germany hadn't started that war. I
love Koengsberg, tell my kids about the history, live in a low-rise German
district, also own an old Germand house and cherish every thing about it. But
don't picture as as invaiders who came to your home and made you flee. It's time
to bury the hatchet and learn the history lesson again. Looks like history
teaches us nothing. PS. Will be happy to assist those who wants to find their
former places of residence. Thank you very much.
Admin: True - If Germany hadn't started WW2, Königsberg would not have suffered the fate that this site is all about. However, I believe you are missing the point when you say "It's time to bury the hatchet and learn the history lesson again" as it is precisely the purpose of the site to remind us what terrible things we can do to each other in times of war. If this site has an axe to grind, is the fact that what was done to Königsberg and its citizens has been kept rather quiet all too long, and for this we can blame the guilty conscience in the West for allowing Stalin to perpetrate the largest ethnic cleansing project in human history. And for the latter I would no more blame the Russian people just because they were living under the murderous Stalin at that time than I would blame all the German people for the incredible atrocities committed by the psychopathic Hitler and his Nazi regime.
Added on January 28, 2015: I should have made it clear that this site has absolutely no ax to grind with the City of Kaliningrad or its current residents. Brought in from all over the Soviet Union since 1945 to repopulate the bombed and burned-out remains of Königsberg, they have worked very hard to make this a livable city once again. As well, there appears to be a genuine attempt to pay homage to the history of Königsberg as a once great cultural and economic centre in Eastern Europe. In July of 2005 the City of Kaliningrad staged a 3-day celebration under the theme 'One city - one history' marking the 750th anniversary of the Russian enclave of the same name, although the name Königsberg was not being used during the celebrations - simply '750 years of Kaliningrad'. Some bombed-out sites have been carefully restored, based on the availability of funds, including Lutheran churches and city gates, thus recognizing the importance of the city’s historic German heritage. And as part of the effort to restore the Königsberg cathedral that was started in 1992 with the assistance of German money, President Putin himself procured a new organ -- manufactured in 2008 by Alexander Schuke-Potsdamer Orgelbau, a German company. Finally, a recent project undertaken by the Kaliningrad Planning Office known as “Heart of the City” is inviting tenders as part of an international competition to restore aspects of the historic Altstadt, Löbenicht and Kneiphof districts. (http://www.tuwangste.ru/en )
|Dec 12, 2014||Connor||My Great Great grandfather was from Königsbërg and he fought in the Wermarcht in the battle of Königsbërg and he was sent to Siberia for 4 years.|
|Nov 29, 2014||Treuburg Tilsit||Those who managed to be part of exodus although their trials were hard were the fortunate ones, spare a thought for those who were interned and used as slave labour. My Mother, grandmother and two brothers and I were some of these. My grandmother and youngest brother froze to death at night during the first winter, whilst mother was sent to build a dam. Having used up all the value of their prisoners, we were deported by train in winter 1949 to Berlin, unload and left on our own. And people complain about being refugees now!!!!|
|Nov 18, 2014||Matthew||
This is a fascinating site, so thank you. I was completely unaware of the
history of East Prussia until recently, so this site is absolutely vital in
order to help tell such a very sad story. However, having read the site and some
of the comments, I do think it's wrong to blame the Allies for the fate of East
Prussia and the people who lived there. After all, what were they meant to do,
start another war straight away with the Soviets over Eastern Europe? I think
the blame lies squarely at the feet of Hitler and then Stalin for the fate of
Konigsberg and East Prussia.
Admin: During the Nurnberg trial the third count of the indictment of German war criminals dealt with an immense array of charges, including murder, rape as well as mass deportations. Regarding the latter, by agreeing to the "Orderly transfer of German Populations" at the Potsdamm agreement of 1945, the Western Allies must take some of the responsibly for the mass deportations of more than ten million Germans under the most barbaric circumstances, and one of the very things that they were hanging the Nazi leadership for at the Nuremberg trials.
|Nov 17, 2014||Martin||
Hello - a splendid website! The power of the internet no less. Anyhow, my mother
came from Konigsberg and that she was always east Prussian so now I tell people
I am half east Prussian so watch out(hehe!). My mothers story: well, apparently
they had run or owned a farm and had servants. She mentioned looking out of the
window during winter and seeing a deer right at the window, and ice skating on
the Baltic sea. Her father had to join the party and was sent to run an airfield
in Poland. So off he went. When the Russians were advancing due to the stories
(of attrocities, etc) they fled like so many. She told me of going through
dustbins for potato peelings and crossing a river at night under gunfire to get
into Germany where my Grandfather would meet them. My mothers sister dressed her
up to make her look ugly and dirty etc as she was around 16ish. My Tanta Mia had
a hump on her back like a hunchback. All the families wealth was - watches rings
etc. Apparently she was a seamstress to the Russianczars. Their family's name
was Hoffman, my mother Chrystal, her sisters, Ingrid (younger) and Tatyana
(older) and their brother Bernt (the youngest). I hope to visit one day but I
have no idea where to start to look for where they lived. I forgot a further
sister Uta who was the youngest the order Tatjana, my mother Chrystal, Ingrid,
Uta, Bernt. Apparently my grandmother got a medal for having so many kids.
Admin: The Mutterehrenkreuz or simply Mutterkreuz (Mother’s Cross), was a state decoration and civil order of merit conferred between 1939 and 1945 by the government of the German Reich, to mothers who "exhibited probity, exemplary motherhood, and who conceived and raised at least four or more children in the role of a parent".
|Nov 17, 2014||Elsa||
Hi - I have been trying very hard to find out info regarding my mothers birth
place. Unfortunatly I have come to a dead end and I hope that some one can help
. My mothers maiden name was Quednau and I cannot find any info. She fled the
city when the red army invaded and to flee the atrocities from the red army.I
know she had two sisters
one was called Erika and the other Elsa .I would love to know of anyone else with
the same surname as her. All I have to go on is the little amount my mother told
me about. My mum's fathers name was Wilhem Gustav and her mum was Marie. Maybe
some one else has any info. Thanks Elsa.
Admin: Quednau is the German name for Severnaya Gora, Russia. Quednau was first documented in 1255 as a region populated by Old Prussians. Quednau eventually passed to the town of Löbenicht. During the 18th century Quednau was part of Amt Kalthof. Quednau developed into a garden town in the first half of the 20th century, and Southernmost Quednau was incorporated into the city of Königsberg in 1927, with the remainder following in 1939. This is documented in a wikipedia article. Also, there is a Canadian author of children's books by the name of Marion Quednau (born 1952). She lives in British Columbia. You might be able to contact here via the Canadian's Writers Union of Canada, at email@example.com.
|Nov 16, 2014||Jakob||Thank you for a very informative and dedicated website.|
|Nov 9, 2014||Dani||This is a great site dedicated to a terrible event in history. I believe its the story of mankind, being extraordinarily brilliant to build a city as beatiful as Konisberg and terribly cruel to destroy it and force their people to flee. Sad, very sad must be for their former and legitimate inhabitants. Un saludo desde España.|
|Nov 2, 2014||Janet||Thank you for such an informative and instructive web site. A friend of ours, who will be 80 this month, fled Königsberg with his mother. They eventually (after a horrendous journey) made it to the relative safety of the Danish border where he had an uncle. I speaks of his family as farmers and upstanding citizens. He has not wish to return, but his wife thinks he should "to lay the ghosts". I understand after seeing your pre and post 1945 photographs that he is quite right. How would you lay the ghosts when the city you knew has been wiped off the map? I do not think anyone who has not experienced war will be able to appreciate that. Thank you for a site which should be a warning to us all. Especially those "Euro sceptics" who want to break the Union up. They want us to return to war... No doubt they hope to make a lot of money. Shame on them all!|
|Oct 30, 2014||Bob||
Thanks you for producing this wonderful site. Many long hours I am sure and
considering the sad history possibly quite painful. Just reading through brings
a sadness and sick feeling in me. This great city and so many others equally as
great in the minds of those forced to leave. When I think of the misery caused
by the scum Hitler and Stalin one can only weep for their endless millions of
victims. Then, post war, to have the Allies dividing up the spoil. Or more
correctly put - giving in to Stalin on every single thing. Our statesmen (joke)
of the time were mere schoolchildren when compared to Stalin and desperate to
please the evil Monster. Britain went to war over Poland. Britain chose to
ignore that Russia had invaded Poland too. Then at the end of the war he ends up
with his ill gotten prize.
This Putin creature has donned Stalin's crown and is casting another shadow over Europe. God help the Ukrainians - who thought they were finally free from Russian oppression. God help the Baltic states and so many more. Sorry to digress. Koenigsberg was the people who lived there. Kaliningrad is the skeleton and grave. It is all too late for those who lived there and yearned for their home. My own Family included.
|Oct 29, 2014||Helene||
I stumbled upon an internet entry which list my grandfather's last address in
Konigsberg as Haberberger Neue Gasse 30 before he was shipped off to die in
Theresienstadt. I wonder if there is a way to identify the current name of this
Admin: If anyone knows - please use the contact form and I will pass it on. But we do have a photo of this street - at least identified by some one as such, as well as its location. It ran North-South between Unterhaberberg and Oberhaberberg. I've compared and old city plan with a current google map and the street appears to be more or less there, but looks like all that is left of it are the cobble stones on the South end. You can do a google street view of most of Kaliningrad these days. I'll just post one example here of what you can put together using old and current streetmaps, such as provided by google maps and street view:
My father ,Walter, (1904-1987) was born and grew up in Konigsberg. His father,
Aron, (1856-1935) has left a memoire of his life entitled " Mein Leben"
(Konigsberg 1928) which is kept in the Leo Baeck institute in New York, and a
copy is in the Bibliothek Germania Judaica, Cologne. It has been the subject of
interest for social historians and Stephanie Schuler-Springorum based her thesis
" Denken,Wirken, Shaffen: Das erfolgreiche Leben des Aron Liebeck" on this book
written in Aron ' s own hand in old German script.
Aron was actually born in Lotzen, in very straightened circumstances. He was sent to be looked after by relatives in Ermland on the Polish border. After some rather unfortunate experiences with promises of work, at 15 he left Berlin for Wehlau and an apprenticeship in a fashion business,finally arriving in Konigsberg as second bookkeeper in " Lachmanski" draper's shop, then moving on to "Lowenstein", selling cleaning materials. In 1880 he married the cashier, Maria Zacharias, after which he left that employ to join "Heinrichs". According to the records he rented a flat, 1b Wieidendamm. In 1890 he established his own business, a menswear shop, "Herrenartiklgeschaeft" in the centre. And he moved to a flat above the shop. He had 3 children between 1882, and 1887 . I knew Annchen(1882) andSiegfried (1885) but not Adolph (1887). From that you can tell Aron had become assimilated, and indeed he was a very proud German.
Siegfried was a soldier lieutenant in WW1. However by then Maria had died in 1895, suddenly, of a stroke. He married Franziska Rosenbaum, who had two children, Edith (1899) who became a doctor, survived Theresienstadt, and emigrated to Australia, and my father, Walter (1904) who studied law until he was forced out of Freiburg in 1933, emigrated with Siegfried to Capetown. Annchen also survived living in hiding in Berlin married to a gentile, architect who built bridges. Later they also emigrated to Capetown.
Returning to Aron in Konigsberg he moved from clothes to food, converting the shop to an automaat restaurant selling fast food via a vending machine called "quick" ? Or probably "Schnell" ?? He died peacefully in Konigsberg,having declined to join the rest of his family in Capetown, aged 79 in 1935. He was greatly interested in music and literature, and all his children played music, the german classical repoitoire, to a very high standard. Walter was a fine violinist whose music genes have been inherited(?) by my son Jack, who is a solo violinist, having just made his debut at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig with the NDR orchestra. I live in London working as a solicitor in a profession which Hitler prevented my father from joining.
Finally just to give you an image of the town pre WW1this is how the then mayor spoke at the opening of a new synagogue in 1896:
" here in Konigsberg, adherents to all religions and persuasions live next door to each other and live together in peace and harmony. To this the local Jewish population has contributed to no small extent... Thus I have to acknowledge with appreciation and gratefulness the active and devoted work of our Israelite fellow citizens, not only for the communal administration but in general for every public concern.....receptive to any progress of humankind, glowing for the arts and sciences, filled with true and genuine humanity, at the same time obedient to the laws of the state and faithful to its king, this is how the same Jew who was once burned now stands before my eyes, and not mine alone. This is how the same Jew will appear to anyone who wants to be just and whose inherent rights only blind fanatics would want to cut..."
Remarkable! A great way to end this tale of Konigsberg, my heritage, an historical city.
|Oct 18,2014||John||The tragedy of the forced removal of the inhabitants after WWII is a moving one. Alas, vengence and plunder rather than justice are often the goals of the victor. This is not new. Delenda est Carthago!|
|Oct 3, 2014||Elke||Thank you so much for the website. I was born 1940 in Konigsberg, Patocki str.99 I don't remember much about my childhood. I remember fire running over the street and my mother telling me to jump. The horses from the rennbahn all burned. No memory of the flight . I am very gratful to be able reading about Konigsberg.|
|Sep 23, 2014||Ramin||Thanks for your beautiful website. I posted my comment from Iran , I love German history very much and I am deeply sad for Germans people tragic fate after WWII . several month ago I readed an impressive book about history of East Prussia, who named " forgotten land " by an English historian who named " Max Egermont" . I advice you to read this wonderful book. Also I wrote a book about former territory of Germany who this country losses them after WWI and WWII to Persian language .I pleasure to your website and good luck my friend.|
|Aug 7, 2014||Richard||My paternal Grandmother's maiden name was Dalko and she came from East Prussia and was one of nine children, Her parents had a mill/farm some where near Konigsberg. Three brothers were killed during the war but Walther was unfit for active service survived the war and settled near Kiel. The other sisters were spread over West Germany and we used to visit them. My grandmother married my English grandfather before WW2 and lived in England and worked as a nurse for the red cross. At the end of the war my great grand parents were displaced and the farm occupied by the Russians. Onkel Walther's son has visited the farm but I do not know where it is. When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, Russians occupying the family land sent the family, gifts of Jam fearing that we would return to reclaim our ancestral home. Tante Erna described the gifts as kwuatsch!!!(sic)|
|Jul7 31, 2014||Maria Cristina||One of my dreams is to see Koenigsberg before I die. I studied and loved Kant's philosophy all my life long, and I want to see the same stars he looked for and step the same streets he walked. I Know that Koenigsberg is very different now, but I' ll go for a kind of tribute . I hope next year, and I can't wait...!|
|June 15, 2014||Anonymous||
With all sincerity I really think that the ordinary German people of East
Prussia should not have had their historic homeland forcibly taken from them. I
believe to correct this colossal and grave injustice East Prussia and indeed
Silesia and Pomerania should be returned to their rightful place under Germany
and allow those who lived their formerly and their descendants to return to
their homeland. Not even 100 years ago Konigsberg, Insterburg, Tilsit, Elbing,
Allenstein, Pillau, Rastenburg etc were as German as Berlin, Hamburg or
Frankfurt. We cannot talk about dispossession, ethnic cleansing or sovereign
integrity on the World stage and simply ignore this grave travesty.
Admin: I don't think anyone believes that any of the former German territories will ever be returned to the German people, or that the land stolen from Poland by Stalin in a secret deal made with Hitler - and later legitimized by the Allies - will be given back to the Poles. The most one might hope for is some kind of official recognition that the West screwed up badly by allowing Stalin to have his evil ways, which included the deportation of millions of German and Polish citizens from their homelands.
Scrivo in italiano, perché comprendo ma non so scrivere in inglese. Mi dispiace
per la sorte delle persone, ma la volontà di Voi Tedeschi era quella di
deportare e sostituire interi popoli.
I write in Italian; I understand English but I do not know how to write it. I feel sorry for the fate of the people, but the Germans wanted replace entire peoples by deporting them elswhere.
Admin: That maybe true, but if we went to war with Germany because they did such bad things, why would we do the very the same to their population afterwards?
|June 13, 2014||Chris||My father who was in the german infantry at the end of the war was captured by the Russians in Konigsberg in 1945 and was shipped to a concentration camp in Siberia where he stayed for 3 1/2 yrs. He remembers seeing women and children loaded up on cattle trains and travelling to Siberia. He did not speak about his time in Siberia very much. The conditions were terrible and he survived only because he was able to make basic equipment for the camp so he was considered useful. Most of the prisoners did not survive. The Russians used the prisoners to mine uranium and shovel snow on the roads in winter. Obviously they did not have proper clothing or very much food.|
|June 1, 2014||Eric||I have a orginal list of 160 fallen german soldiers in 1941 and there all from Konigsberg (Pr). Who is intressted in this list? The list is from Ernst Wagner.|
|May 20, 2014||Peter||My mum came from konigsberg - willinski - she died a few years ago but she used to speak of ice skating on the frozen lake or river there - she was one of the last ones out before the russians came - she cooked and taught us the recipe for konigsberger klopse - thanks for the site|
|May 16, 2014||Mary||I am trying to verify details of a WWI story on behalf of an elderly friend. His father was a prisoner of war and was sent from Doberitz, Berlin, to a Russian camp in Konigsberg in 1916 or 1917. At the end of the war he walked with two Russian friends from the camp back to Denmark eventually to be repatriated.Is anyone able to confirm the existence of this camp?|
|May 5, 2014||Cynthia||I am looking for information on my Great Grandfather, Christopher Rohr, who was born in Konigsberg, East Prussia in 1844. His father's name was John; mother's name Amelia Mary. Thank you|
|May 1, 2014||psyisascam||
Europeans have been killing each other forever; and have lost almost everything
- and are still divided and still - it is all such a great tragedy, so much
Admin: It is a sad and depressing fact about human history that we appear to be a fataly flawed species capable of killing millions of its own kind, and for no particular reason other than hating each other because we all don't look alike, or think alike and have different beliefs about something. I keep hoping that - one day - we will see the light and forever stop that kind of madness. But looking at the Russia /Ukraine situation today, that day appears to be still a very, very long way away.
|Apr 27, 2014||Ron||
Compliments on your very informational website. I am looking for any information
at all about my grandfather that was born in 1889 and I believe grew up in
Königsberg. I hope you could help me and refer me to any city archive or similar
institute that can have any information such as city registration or anything
else from that period. Thank you in advance.
Admin: There many genealogical resources on the internet that deal exclusively with East Pruisia, such as the German genealogy wiki, at:
http://wiki-de.genealogy.net/Computergenealogie, and then specifically for East Prussia at:
http://wiki-de.genealogy.net/Ostpreußen/Genealogische_Quellen, as well as FEEFHS, at:
The Federation of East European Family History Societies
|Apr 25, 20144||Brigite||Thank you for your extraordinary website It is so appreciated by me for letting the world know that there was once up a time a city like that "My Birthplace". I was a victim and am a survivor of the brutal horror. We were a family of 10 and 3 survived. Only by the grace of some Lithuanian farmers who saved us 3 from starvation in the end. Yours truly, Brigitte De Felice.|
|April 23, 2014||Laura||My grandfather, Paul Bunkin, who was Jewish, escaped the pogroms in Konigsburg in the late 1800's and fled to Johannesberg. His father was a Rabbi in Konigsburg at the time, was a widower and remarried. Paul Bunkin's step-mother threatened to turn him in to the authorities for his activist political work. She was not Jewish. He opened a little grocery store in J'berg, met my grandmother who was from Berlin, Germany. They arrived in the United States in 1902. This is the family story as told to me by my mother, Vera Bunkin Lehrman.|
|April 22, 2014||Trish||I first learned of East Prussia from a friend whose mother's family escaped from Konigsberg in January 1945. I admit, as a young woman from Iowa, USA, I did not remember hearing any of this story in history classes and, in fact, retained very little of what I had learned. After my friend recounted some of his mother's story, though, I was haunted. The story seemed to follow me around and beg for my attention. I am a songwriter, and though I had never previously approached such a topic in my writing, I felt compelled to create a song based on his mother's story of escape. While she had shared little about her experiences over the years, he asked the two of us if we'd like to talk with each other directly. I said yes, she said yes, and we connected by phone. For an hour-and-half, this woman graciously and generously opened to me the story of her escape at age five -- along with her mother, maternal grandmother and aunt, and ten day-old baby sister. For days they traveled from Konigsberg, to the Baltic Sea, and eventually to a Baltic Sea island where they were rescued. The extreme freezing temperatures that year allowed her aunt to remove her shoes and enter the partially-frozen waters to feel for bomb craters in the ice as she led the horse and cart that carried her family to safety. All but the baby survived. Her father and uncle, who were fighting in the German army, were later re united with them in Germany. I would also like to share two additional resources: (1) BBC documentary about WWII and East Prussia: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bz7scck2bXI, and (2) a fiction book by Chris Bohjalian, Skeletons at the Feast.|
|April 2, 2014||Sicco||Compliments for your website and effort to keep Königsberg alive in the people minds and hearts. My late neighbour (died at an age of 92) came from Königsberg, married a teacher of the German language in Holland. All the best with you and your site!|
|March 29, 20144||John||
(I recommend) a book entitled: 'After the Reich -From the Liberation of
Vienna to the Berlin Airlift-' by Giles MacDonogh, 2008. This is a remarkable
historical document and focuses on the civilians as much as events and unveils
the truths as to how the Allies treated the Germans even in the aftermath of the
war, and more shockingly how the Western Allies, especially the Americans,
vented their hatred towards all Germans. (From the book:) ... This question was then left for a
planned Peace Conference, a conference which never took place. Stalin talked of
Koenigsberg as a conquest next. This was booty - to grab a colony or two... the
excuse was to have an ice free port at Germany's expense, adding that the Soviet
Union needed some piece of German territory as some small satisfaction to tens
of millions of Soviet citizens. Once more the region's ultimate status would be
left for a mythical Peace Conference which never took place.
(From the book:)...In Potsdam Stalin mentioned East Prussia, adding that: "it would be very difficult to restore a German administration" there. In his view, "an army fights in war and cares only for its efforts to win the war. 'Even if the Germans had not fled...it would have been very difficult to set up a German administration in this area because the majority of the population was Polish...' Truman and Churchill were fobbed off with more lies. Stalin 'insisted there was no other way out'
... This question was then left for a planned Peace Conference, a conference which never took place. Stalin talked of Koenigsberg as a conquest next. This was booty - to grab a colony or two... the excuse was to have an ice free port at Germany's expense, adding that the Soviet Union needed some piece of German territory as some small satisfaction to tens of millions of Soviet citizens. Once more the region's ultimate status would be left for a mythical Peace Conference which never took place.
Admin: Thank you for recommending this book.
It has been added to the list on the Links page . I note that it was also
published with the subtitle "“The Brutal History of the Allied Occupation”.
Available from Amazon, which lists various reviews for it.
Admin: Thank you for recommending this book. It has been added to the list on the Links page . I note that it was also published with the subtitle "“The Brutal History of the Allied Occupation”. Available from Amazon, which lists various reviews for it.
|Mar 18, 2014||Patty||Because I'm translating a book (from German to English) about the true experiences of a young girl from Koenigsberg during WWII, I've needed to do a lot of research. Your website had been a tremendous help and has given me needed insight into the layout of the city and its history. Having seen how Hamburg and Dresden have recovered it's sad to realize Koenigsberg has ceased to exist.|
|Mar 15, 2014||Peppel||Excellent work! Thank you for this great service. (Lest we forget)|
|Mar 12, 2014||J.||
I have found your revealing website on Koenigberg now Kaliningrad from a new
novel by Martin Cruz Smith entitled "Tatiana" who also wrote "Gorky Park". I am
not affiliated with the author but through his storytelling I wanted to see what
had become of the old city. It is a revelation offered by your website to allow
us to revisit the past and understand, sadly, we may again inherit the folly and
foibles of dishonorable leaders. Thank you for your website.
Admin: Thank you! And thanks for the tip re Martin Cruz Smith's new novel Tatiana - I just ordered it; MCS is one of my favourite authors. I believe I read all his other Renko novels, and - over the years - the first three (Gorky Park, Polar Star and Red Square) I have probably read about three times , in that order, as they continue to be one of my best reading experiences ever!
|Mar 12, 2014||anonymous||
The history of this city (or should I say these cities ?) is incredible. It's
also incredible we were not told about this in school, despite the fact we were
told about WW2 more than anything else. It's really horrible, let's hope
something like this never ever happens again anywhere! Also, didn't the same
fate happen to Wroclaw (Breslau in German) ?
Admin: Wroclaw/Breslau became part of Poland as a result of the Potsdam agreement - its German / Lower Silesian population was expelled as well. Like Königsberg, Breslau had been declared a fortress by Hitler - to be defended at all costs. As a result, it suffered significant damage as a result of a three month siege which saw 40% of the city destroyed by Soviet artillery and house-to-house fighting. In preparation of the siege most of the civilian population was forced to leave in a makeshift evacuation during the extreme January 1945 cold, with countless evacuees freezing to death, and many of the survivors ending up in Dresden, only for many to perish later as part of the 20,000 plus civilian casualties at the hand of the February RAF bombing raids. The city likely fared better after WW2 under Polish rule as there was already a strong Polish connection historically speaking.
|Mar 11, 2014||Wittkowsky||Hi - wow - great site, my mother Edith Wittkowsky was born 1929 in königsberg and has so many stories of what happenend to her and my Oma. she fled the city on a ship, and had a dream the night before about a ship sinking ( the one they was originally going to board) but convinced Oma to get then the next which managed to escape the harbour even though it was also torpedoed but evaded it. She was in internment camps in demark and lived also in Sweden, working for a family the Jelesteds. she eventually settled for a while with Oma in Westerwald. Met my father and movedto the uk it|
|Mar 10, 2014||Sue||
Great site; thank you. My mother, now 85, was born and brought up in Cranz. Her
memories of her early life are crystal clear as are her memories of becoming a
displaced person and losing her father and 2 brothers at various points on their
journey to escape the Russians. My mum seemed to instinctively lead her mother
away from danger. Amazingly the whole family survived and were eventually
reunited after the war. It seems strange to think that neither I nor my six
children would be here had the war not happened. My father was an English
serviceman and I am proud of both of my parents as they both suffered as a
result of the war, survived and went on to have good lives. I would love to
visit the area and see what records, if any, exist. Would a family tree be
completely out of the question? Not sure what survived. It's a pity that some
people have chosen to air their grievances about the war on this forum - I
wonder if they really understand he complex nature of the events that took
place. There are no winners in war.
Admin, from an earlier post: There many genealogical resources on the internet that deal exclusively with East Pruisia, such as the German genealogy wiki, at http://wiki-de.genealogy.net/Computergenealogie, and then specifically for East Prussia at http://wiki-de.genealogy.net/Ostpreußen/Genealogische_Quellen. Some else posted the FEEFHS, or The Federation of East European Family History Societies site here.
|Mar 10, 2014||Copsham||Thank you for compiling the website- so sad but necessary to know. My grandparents were from Rinderort in Koenigsberg. They left in 1920's and went to Hamburg so missed the worst excesses. I am shocked at what I read and what I did not know. The website is very well laid out and accessible. Thank you again.|
|Feb 28, 2014||Christel||I could not stop reading this site. I also was born in Koenigsberg, 1933, did not get out untill 1947. My brother, sister and mother all starved to death, I had to put my mother in to the ground. War is hell. Got to the neue heimat in 1954 .Lost all my relatives. Went back to Koenigsberg with my older brother just to say goodbye.It was a sad day .Went to Cranz und die Wandern Duenen.|
|Feb 26, 2014||Nick||
Interesting site, but there should be a LOT more acknowledgement of why this
disaster happened to Konigsburg: Germany launched the worst war of all time,
killed something like 20 million people ... (comment abbreviated, as it
follows a familar refrain, e.g., Germany got what they deserved, etc.)
Admin: Thank you for your comments, but - again - this site is not about rehashing all the evils of WW2, and you would probably need more than a lifetime to read everything that has already been written and published about that sorry subject. On the other hand, not much can be found about the sad fate of the City of Konigsberg, its people and its history as a result of that ugly war, and that is what this site is attempting to address in a very modest way. Yes, Germany started WW2, but I doubt that the greater civilian population of Konigsberg was consulted on the matter, and not that it would have swayed the maniacal Hitler one way or the other; his mind was made up the moment he took office. At any rate, the people of Konigsberg can no more be held responsible for the death and destruction committed by the Nazi regime than the Russian people can be held responsible for the evils perpetrated by the Stalin regime, which, according to various account, may have caused the death of upwards to 20 million people – and some, such as Alexander Solzhenitsyn, say millions more -and these were primarily people within his own Soviet empire. The insanity called war kills millions of innocent people, regardless of what side they are on. And if you’re looking to apportion blame to anyone, look in the mirror – it is a unique feature of human beings, no other creature on earth behaves that way.
|Feb 18, 2014||Christine||My mother, who is now 85, is from Konigsberg. She has told me many stories of the horrors that she, her younger sister and my grandmother faced as they fled overland from the Russians after the British and Americans bombed. After the war my mother came to England and married my English father, who was a British soldier fighting in Germany. Some years ago we took my mother to Kaliningrad. We found two of the places where my family had lived: the site of Knochenstrasse and the house they lived in in the suburb of Liep. After the war this house was given to a Russian officer. His drunken son and family still live there. We went inside and saw the state this once smart house was in. My German family's name was Niemann. My mother misses her life in Konigsberg so very much and has never felt really at home in England. So very sad. I think that she would like to speak with someone who also remembers this once beautiful city.|
|Feb 7, 2014||Christina||I echo the thanks of others for the efforts you have made in creating this site. Two of my grandparents were from Konigsberg and whenever they speak of their experiences during WWII and after they repeat "you do not understand!!!". Now I have more of an understanding. Thank you for the eye opener.|
|Jan 31, 2014||Liam||Great site. My family were 'persecuted' Prussian (orthodox)Lutherans, from a colony near Posnan, that immigrated it South Australia in 1854. from Kalwowska, I know of their spectacular journey to Bremen then beyond, but yearn for more data on our history in East Prussia. How long were we in this region, south of Silesia? We're my family always colonists, moved there from another region as Lutherinism and Prussian empire grew? I have been to my ancestral lutherin church in Kalwaska, heritage listed and long converted to a catholic friendly denomination. Very sad it all seemed, the town developed from Nazi railway times and then kind of Sovietised. Any posts about when these South Eastern Prussian zones, now Poland, would be super!|
|Jan 28, 2014||Kamil||
I was brought up in another famous city of East Prussia - Angerburg. It was also
almost destroyed ("thanks" to soviet soldiers). Only about 20% of buildings
left. When I look at the old pictures of these cities I feel really sorry for
the former residents and I wish I could back in time to these days and walk the
Admin: There is a great site dedicated to Angerburg, East Prussia, at http://www.angerburg.de/
|Jan 16, 2014||Monika||Our Dad used to tell us stories of the bombing's and the Russian's and how their family made it to the West. Never really understood any of it until I found this site. Thank you|
|Jan 4, 2014||John||A fourth book, recently published, The Second World War, by British historian Anthony Beevor 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. (Admin: I've updated the links page under the Books|
|Nov 13, 2013||Mary||
Thank you for this site. I cried the first time I visited. My father was born &
raised in Koenigsberg. Have not been able to find anything on his life there.
His parents & one sister.
(Thank you Mary - It is for people like you that this site was set up, in addition to providing some account - in English - of the tragic end of this once great European city and its significant history, as well as the cruel fate that befell its more than 300,000 citizens )
|Nov 12, 2013||Marty||
You have a posting on May 7 2013. I would like to email the person who wrote the
article. My Mother was also on the ship she is speaking of. I would just like to
share some of her stories to them. Thank You - PS you have compiled a
amazing site, thank you for that.
Admin: Thanks Marty - I've fwd your email to the poster on May 7
|Nov 11, 2013||anonymous||This site is a stern reminder to humanity: two wrongs do not ever succeed to make anything right! We all know that the victors get to write all the books. However, the truth cannot be eradicated from our universal conscience anymore that the ghosts left behind in Koningsberg.|
|Oct 14, 2013||Andrew||THANK YOU for all the research, compilation and website design you have accomplished for the beloved people of Konigsberg! I have already shared this site because it struck me so deep, and will continue to do so. I have had a special interest in Konigsberg ever since my father pulled out an old wooden plate bearing the heraldry of the city. Later, I learned that my grandmother came from East Prussia and that I had a large family base there. My grandmother's first husband was killed during the battle for Stalingrad. She fled East Prussia with others and she held one of her daughters in her arms as she died due to starvation. She described the displaced Germans searching through manure for corn and other edible foodstuff as they were forced out of their land and homes. An American soldier watched my grandmother helping an ill German walk to a truck, and the American officer ordered her to ride in the front of the truck with him. Later, she came to the U.S. and married a U.S. soldier, and they moved to Montana to raise a family. To this day, I am not satisfied with what I know of her family (her maiden name was Penczerczinski), but I hope to go to Kaliningrad some day to learn more and simply be there so I can connect with a big part of my heritage. If you want a picture of that heraldic plate of Konigsberg, I would be glad to send it to you. I think it would be a gesture of thanks to you for this beautiful site you have worked to make available for the public. Many Thanks!!!|
|Oct 12, 2013||Rick||
Greeting from Australia...Rick Is there a register of court of law Justizrat
[judges].Please, for Konigsberg 1790-1840. I am researching my family
surname of LEO maybe also von LEO.
(Admin: There are a number of genealogical resources listed further down this page - May 9th, 2013 - in response to similar questions)
|Oct 8, 2013||Claus||
One old relative of mine, a sailor, visited Konigsberg in 1905 and mailed a
colored post card to his sister in Denmark. It shows the Schlossbrugge and may
be of interest for you. If so pls. let me have your email address, and I shall
send a scan to you.
(Admin: Thanks Claus - scan received, and I have added it to the slide show of Königsberg Before WW2 section)
|Oct 6, 2013||Francesca||
There is only one thing that i can say: russians must go away from a place that
they don't deserve.I know and i saw what they have done to Königsberg, there is
no respect to history , to the people who build the city and no respect for the
monuments. They have destroyed all , ruined all as they are used to do. what i
would like to see is that one day they get away from east prussia and go back in
their place. in Europe we don't need barbarians that are able only to destroy.
(Admin: In all fairness to the Russians that live in Kaliningrad/Königsberg today, there has been an effort to preserve and restore some of the historical features of the city, as well as remembering its significant past. Of note are the 3-day 750th anniversary celebrations of 2005 that marked the founding of the city in 1255 by German knights under the name Königsberg. In preparation for this event specialists from St. Petersburg went to great lengths to restore the Neo-Gothic brick gate, formerly part of Königsberg's fortress. It became the official symbol of the festivities and visible on countless flags and posters decorating the inner city. However, the name Königsberg was not being used during the celebrations - simply '750 years of Kaliningrad'. )
|Oct 4, 2013||Patrick||Until recently my interest in ww2 was minimal but of late I have read a number of well researched and written books that have opened my eyes what happened to East prussia and it's people haunts me - your site is their memorial.|
|Sep 30, 2013||Eyal||I am writting the history of my jewish family that escaped Koenigsberg in stages between 1933 and 1939. The Winter family was a very influential family of the early 20th century in Koenigsberg. It was one of the wealthisest famllies in the city owning the large Mill in Koenigsberg and exporting grain to western europe and the US Owned by Salomon and Anna Winter). In 1938 when the Jewish orphanage was set on fire. Anna Winter moved all the children to her home (Villa Winter). She was then arrested by the Gistapo for violating german law in running an orphanage without a license, but later was later offered freedom and a passage to the UK in exchange for selling Villa Winter to Koch who was the Gaulauter of East Prussia. Does anyone know if any of these children survived the holocaust? I would appreciate letters photos or any other documents from the period from both German and Jews to get a complete picture of the events for my book. (Please email Prof. Eyal Winter at the The Hebrew University of Jerusalem directly by clicking this link)|
|Sep 21, 2013||Markus||
This is well researched & beautifully illustrated site and serves well to
illustrate the amazing history of this once proud city. I must take issue,
though, with the numerous comments about its' transfer to Russia, the expulsion
of ethnic Germans & the 'rights' of those people. You claim that innocent women
& children were expelled & were not reponsible for the emergence & rise of the
Nazis. What nonsense (etc, etc, ...)
Admin: I have abbreviated this comment significantly, as all this follows a familiar line, eg., many Germans voted for Hitler, other countries suffered equally horrid bombing raids, and each German is responsible for the attrocities of WW2 because they are German. To restate the purpose of this website, it is to provide - in English - some account of what happened to the once beautiful, thriving and prominent East Prussian City of Königsberg, and its unfortunate citizens who suffered a fate far worse than any other city in Nazi Germany, by being either being incinerated in their homes - or if they survived - to be forcibly expelled from their possessions and lifelihoods, and their historic city (or what remained of it) being given to the Soviets while suffering the final indignity of being renamed after a insignificant Stalin puppet named Kalinin. European history remains large silent on the topic of Königsberg's destruction - as well as on the expulsion of at least 12 million Germans from their East European homelands at the end of WWII.
|Sep 8, 2013||Katie||Thank you for this site. The information and pictures are priceless. I recently read Max Egremont's book, Forgotten Land, and have been dreaming about this lost landscape for countless nights. After going through old relative's photographs, seeing cousins from Germany, the photographer's marks being from Konigsberg, my interest has been insatiable. Anyway, thank you for this wonderful and interesting site.|
|Sep 4th, 2013||Frau Holle||
Thanks for the thorough info you have compiled! I was moved to tears at the
beauty of pre-war Koenigsberg. It resembles Hamburg, which is where our mother
moved us from Canada to escape the odious racism we were subjected to as
Germans. I feel a bit bad for the moderator being subjected to so much callous
commentary. My mother hails from West Prussia, Lodz, and told many stories about
the random violence and harassment German people including schoolchildren on
their way to German school were subjected to as a minority. The local police did
nothing to resolve such issues. Family members living in other countries also
experienced bullying as Germans, pre-WWII. That was another effect of the
disastrous WWI treaty ...
I would have liked to show this site to my mother who recently passed away. She researched German culture in the Baltic States. She often recounted the horror of the firebombing in cities like Dresden, jammed with mostly women and children refugees. She was devastated that the retaliatory human rights abuses wreaked upon German civilians together with the razing of their culture wasn't even mentioned. It was not expedient to publish such chronicles for decades after the 2nd WW ended. Now, that has been changing. I am no longer vilified for speaking German in public as was the case up until the late '70's. Thank you.
|Aug 25, 2013||Richard||An interesting site. The fate of the German East in 1944-45 was very sad and it is not known about enough in the West. I hope that one day Germans will be able to return. I'm most sad at the thought of the fate of German families overtaken by the Russians.|
|June 3rd, 2013||Rey||Very interesting page about a city I love, because I studied here from 1974 to 1979, in the Kaliningrad State Fisheries Institute, the former Gestapo Building. I always search for pictures of Konigsberg and try to compare with the present city and is really sad to see how a beauty disappeared as a result of a war. What is done is done. The majority of Russians living in Kaliningrad want to rebuild and recover as much as possible from the old city, but that cost money they do not have. Many want also to rename the city back to Konigsberg and even restaurants are offering the famous "Königsberger Klopse". The best way to keep some German taste in the city is to increase cooperation and friendship between the new generations of Germans and Russians.|
|June 1st, 2013||Vera||
I just went through this entire site and my heart is broken! My mother, who died
in April 2008, was born in Konigsberg. She spoke of it occasionally when we were
growing up,and I know that she and her parents were forced to leave, but this is
the first time I have learned the details. Her name was Elli Charlotte
Hildegarde Blonsky. She was 14 and ended up in a Russian work camp. Too much
more to post here.
Admin: Outside the German speaking communities not much is known about the forced diaspora of over 13 million Germans from their Prussian and other Eastern European homelands after 1945 - and even their immediate descendants typically know little about this mass expulsion. And this is because we - in the West - have been deliberately remained silent about this monstrous act of ethnic cleansing. As well, German expellees were so traumatized by the horror and anguish caused by the brutality of this event that they simply could not bring themselves to talk about it. Not ever ...
|May 9, 2013||Michael||
My grandfather was Erwin Suehs (Suess/Seuss/Sus) born in konigsberg in 1896. His
father was Julius Suehs. My grandfather immigrated to the United States in April
1914 to live with his uncle Otto Suehs in New York City. He never saw his
immediate family again. Can you let me know what resources are available to find
out about my family there and and what happened to his sister who ended up in
West Germany. Thank you very much.
(Hi Michael - One suggestion I have for questions like this is to go to the Stefan Winkler Ostpreußensite at http://www.stefan-winkler.de/index.php, and post your question on the Guestbook at http://www.stefan-winkler.de/gaestebuch/index.php . You will see many similar inquiries there. Google does a reasonable job translating into English. Because Stefan's site is a German site I would recommend to post comments in German, although it will be ok to post your entry in English, I’m sure. As well, there many genealogical resources on the internet that deal exclusively with East Pruisia, such as the German genealogy wiki, at http://wiki-de.genealogy.net/Computergenealogie, and then specifically for East Prussia at http://wiki-de.genealogy.net/Ostpreußen/Genealogische_Quellen. Some else posted the FEEFHS, or The Federation of East European Family History Societies site here. If someone else reading this page has some ideas as to help specifically English speaking folks with finding family members that disappeared during the dissolution of East Prussia and forced expellation of its German population I will publish it here. Might even dedicate a page to it if I can get enough material for it.)
|May 8, 2013||Stavros||
First of all i want to congratulate this memory- work of the old beauty of
Konigsberg. It is my opinion that that the old monuments and historic places
belong to the humanity and not only to the constructors of these. So, every one,
during the years, who rules the place, must respect and protect and of course
not destroy these. In what about my country, Greece, whe have also our
Konigsberg which is Smyrna, Smirne or Izmir in Turkish. Same civilization, same
beauty same fatal finish, in a few same destiny. More of it the winner will
destroy every sign of the enemies civilization.
Now it must be time to accept the past , to admit the fails and try to built a new better human society. Peaty to old Konigsberg and reconstruct, why not?, a new city a new Konigsberg, maybe more beaytifull than the old city. We Greeks we reconstructed much new cities in memory of our old lost cities in asia minor.
Regards from Athens of the new Smirne neiborhood of Athens.
|May 7th, 2013||Gisela||Vielen Dank. This is a remarkable site. I was born in Koenigsberg in 1939 We (mother,grandmother, deceased sibling and I) fled via Frisches Hafen on a Red Cross Rescue ship. At the last minute the ship we were supposed to board was full and someone directed us to its sister ship. The "other" ship was hit by a torpedo. My mother told me that she could hear people in the oil soaked water. My husband and I visited Koenigsberg many years ago. It is a disgrace. There were rusty ships in the harbor it looked forlorn. Our tour guide led us around the town. Naturally she was Russian and was proud of what she thought was a beautiful place. She did not have a clue as to what the city used to be. She also did not leave out sight. When we were due back to the boat they delayed our departure time until the exact moment we were to leave. It was, at that time, a very controlled tour with no side trips. On the return trip there were quite a few folks retracing their escape route s. My families names were Albrecht and Norys. If anyone has information about either of those names please feel free to get in touch with me. Best regards, Gisela Kelly|
|Jan 26, 2013||Chris S.||Thank you so much for creating this site, I have been researching Königsberg for many years. My Great Grandparents and Aunt were from Königsberg. They left in the 1920's to come to America, I am thankful that they left before the war although I am saddened of the tragedy and loss of this great land as well as family that stayed behind. I had hopes of visiting some day but I fear that their home and most of the original city no longer exist from these photos.|
|Jan 25, 2013||Norma Witt||
Hello, I found your site this evening Jan 24.2013 & I have enjoyed reading &
all the wonderful photos. My Husband Gerhard Witt (died Jan 30 2010) was born in
Klein Peisten. We made a trip in 1984 & we stayed in Allenstein. His Family
all made it to the West in 1949 & all Brothers & Sisters are living in Mechtersheim.My
Husband never forgot his home Ostpreussen & he came to Canada in 1955 to Alberta.Thank-you
for the site.A lot of work has gone into this site. The photos are wonderful. My
Father Daniel Zimmer was born in Sagan Schlesien & he came to Alberta Canada
in 1929. My Husband & I also travelled to Sagan (Zagan) Poland in 1984,just
so I could walk the streets where my Father had walked.
Klein Peisten is in Kreis Preussisch Eylau where my husband Gerhard was born . The Witt Family are very proud to be from Ostpreußen. I did read the former comment page & alot of folks don't know where & how to find some of the old names ,or where their family's village or town was located. I believe one of the best is www.Kartenmeister.com for his wonderful collection of old maps & history & so much more. Then another excellent site is www.ostpreussen.de . A very good genealogy site is www.feefhs.org . Another excellent site is www.ostpreussenseiten.de .This site has so much to offer & lots of photos & is at www.bildarchiv-ostpreussen.de .
There are also many youtube video's on the flight from Ostpreussen & the plight of the refugee's /Flüchtling & are so sad to see. Also many youtube videos on Schlesien & refugee's fleeing where my Dad Daniel Zimmer came from. I am very interested in anything about Ostpreussen & it was a beautiful Country.I can spend many hours on the computer just looking at photos of old everyday life in Ostpreussen . The buidings were truly magnificent.But I enjoy looking at people photos & many times I zoom in close to try & capture a moment of a different time.
|Jan 25, 2013||Peter||Great site, interested because i'm originally was interested in the Königsberg raid as flew over Sweden 29-30 Aug 1944. Some plane was shot down and crashed in southern Sweden. Can only say that the Russians has destroying almost everything as the bombers left over, it's a shame. Regards, Peter.|
|Jan 14, 2013||David||
Thanks for creating and maintaining this website. As a website owner/manager myself,
I do understand the energy it takes! Yours and other sites related to Konigsberg
have been very useful for helping recreate Konigsberg in words for a story I'm
So, Many Thanks!!
|Jan 7, 2013||Otto||Governments are supposed to be the open window of a nation,but often they show their dirty linen.WWII was a horrible example.The Nazis deserved to be liquidated,but what was done to the citizens of East Prussia after the war was unimaginable.I lived there until 1947 when we were luckily expelled,I was 12 years old with two younger brothers. My mother had died in October and the rest of the of family was in unknown places.Hatred makes people go blind.|