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Re: Putzig, West Prussia

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Re: Putzig, West Prussia

Robert T. (View posts)
Posted: 12 Jul 2004 11:11PM GMT
Classification: Query
Edited: 12 Jul 2004 11:14PM GMT
Sue, the correct spelling of the city in question is PUTZIG, which was located in what was until 1918 the Prussian province of West Prussia, the capital of which was the city of Danzig. I'll tell you a bit about West Prussia:

WEST PRUSSIA (in German: WESTPREUSSEN) was a province of the state of PRUSSIA (in German: PREUSSEN) and was located on the Baltic Sea in the northeast. As mentioned above, West Prussia's capital was the city of DANZIG. West Prussia fell to Prussia at the time of the three partitions of Poland in 1772, 1793 and 1795. The three partitions divided Poland among Prussia, Austria and Russia (Russia having received by far the lion's share). What became the Prussian province of Posen also fell to Prussia at that time. Poland thereupon disappeared as an independent nation for almost 125 years, until an independent Poland was reestablished by the western Allies following World War I. West Prussia's German history stretches back to the Teutonic Knights in the 13th century, and even under Polish rule, West Prussia had a majority German population, but with a large Polish minority. The beautiful castle of the Teutonic Knights, the MARIENBURG, is located in northeastern West Prussia. (The Prussian province of Posen was always majority Polish, but with a large German minority.)

I should note here that more than half the people in the administrative district (in German: Kreis) of Putzig were Kashubians, a Slavic people related to the Poles.

Putzig is located on the coast, about 30 miles north of Danzig.

Germany had to relinquish most of the Prussian provinces of Posen and West Prussia to the reestablished independent Poland in 1919. Many of the Germans chose to leave at that time rather than live in Poland.

Following World War II, almost all of Germany lying east of the Oder and Neisse Rivers was given to Poland (with the exception of the northern half of the Prussian province of East Prussia, which was taken by the Soviet Union). The 12 million inhabitants of eastern Germany were thereupon expelled from their homes under horrific conditions, having to leave everything behind. Many did not survive the ordeal. It was hell on earth. The Polish authorities then moved Poles in to repopulate those territories. So there are no more Germans living in West Prussia today. (You also have to bear in mind that there was heavy fighting in West Prussia during the last months of the war, so the people living there got a double dose of hell, you might say. And woe to any Germans who fell into the hands of the Red Army!)

Following the expulsion of the German inhabitants in 1945/46 and the resettling of these territories with Poles, all the cities, towns were of course given new Polish names:

West Prussia's capital, Danzig, is now known by the Polish name GDANSK. Putzig is now known by the Polish name PUCK. The castle of the Teutonic Knights, the Marienburg, is now known in Polish as the MALBORK.

I will refer you to three maps:

Map 1 shows Germany as it was from its unification under Bismarck in 1871 until 1918. You will see Germany's states, including Prussia, Germany's largest state by far, and its provinces. In the northeast, you will see the Prussian province of West Prussia. You will also note how vast Prussia was. It stretched from East Prussia in the northeast all the way to and including the Rhineland in the west. That's a distance of more than 800 miles! Berlin was the capital of Prussia, and from 1871, of Germany as well.

Map 2 shows Germany's territorial losses following World War I. As mentioned, Germany had to relinquish almost all of the Prussian provinces of Posen and West Prussia to the reestablished independent Poland, creating the infamous "Polish Corridor", separating the Prussian province of East Prussia from the rest of Germany. The seeds of World War II were thus planted.

Map 3 shows Germany and its states today. Everything east of the Oder and Neisse Rivers is lost. Very tragic. Very sad. (In 1947, two years after the end of World War II, the Allies declared the state of Prussia officially abolished.)


Map 1: http://www.rootsweb.com/~wggerman/map/germanempire.htm

Map 2: http://www.rootsweb.com/~wggerman/map/germany1920.htm

Map 3: http://www.rootsweb.com/~wggerman/state.htm


As to records: The civil registration of births, deaths and marriages did not begin in the Kingdom of Prussia until 1874. Church records would be available going way back. What was the religious denomination of the people you're interested in?

As to the message boards, there would be no point to posting anything or searching on the Polish boards. This board right here and the West Prussia board would be the two appropriate boards.

Robert

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