Peter the Great in Berlin


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Finally reading more of Carlyle’s History of Frederick the Great I was pleasantly surprised to find that Peter the Great of Russia begged to stay at Schloß Monbijou during his state visit in 1717 as he wanted some peace and quiet (Book IV, Chapter VII).  The Queen was apparently none too pleased and attempted to remove anything breakable (or is that poetic licence from Carlyle…). As with Königsberg I feel a strange affinity to the place, such a shame that the lovely palace by the river is now a nondescript park.













The description of parts of the visit Carlyle takes from Wilhelmine of Prussia´s (Fritz´s older sister´s) memoirs so of course I had to buy a copy, in German selbstverständlich, not French, God forbid.

Stephanus Dei Gratia Rex Poloniae Dux Prussiae


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Only tangentially a Prussian curiosity, but it’s about time I posted something.

A birthday parade for Grand Duke Michael of Russia in 1826 caught my attention from Denkwürdigkeiten aus dem leben Leopold von Gerlachs (Thanks Laura!), Seite 13; where von Gerlach describes an interesting sounding sabre worn by the Erzherzog, I’m unsure which Erzherzog. Maybe there’s a record of which English King gave which sword to whom…

9. Februar. Heut am Geburtstage des Großfürsten Michael erschien der Erzherzog auf der Parade mit seiner Ungarischen Mütze, dem Reiherbusch, dem Goldenen Bließ in Brillanten und dem Säbel von Stephan Bathori, welchen ihm der König von England geschenkt hatte, er sah vortrefflich aus.

Anyway, the Gods of the internet didn’t let me down and I found the below article on Polish Arms:

Blades with the name and pictures of Stephan Bathory.



Unbekannten Helden


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Feldprediger Segebarth während des Schlacht bei Czaslau, 17. Mai 1742:

Ein tapferer Feldprediger Namens Segebarth erwarb sich um den Gewinn der Schlacht durch die Preußen ein großes Verdienst, indem er den Soldaten mit leuchtendem Beispiel voranging.
Er hielt mitten im Kugelregen standhaft aus, und wenn die Mannschaften in dem furchtbaren Feuer weichen wollen, ermunterte er sie mit begeisterten Worten zum Ausharren.

Jederzeit Kampfbereit, S. 128/129.



Wilhelm II Reconsidered


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A bit late in the day, but this seems relevant on the Todestag of Wilhelm II.

If even part of this American gentleman’s description of ‘Kaiser Bill’ is correct then it seems several people may have not been telling us the truth all these years (as demonstrated in parts of that Wikipedia link above). Wer hätte das gedacht…

The German Emperor, from What is Back of the War by Albert Beveridge.

Berliner Bürgerwehr II


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My copy of Die Berliner Bürgerwehr is now dismantled ready for repair and re-binding, the soaking evident in the photo was to remove the glued on pages and remnants of the old cover, a little nerve-wracking but all went well.

I took the opportunity to scan it to a PDF as I can’t seem to find any copies, real or digital, anywhere else. Here it is, 300 dpi was the best I could manage unfortunately.


Der Hauptmann & der alte Fritz


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Well it’s taken a year but I’ve finally got round to reading Wie ich Hauptmann von Köpenick wurde, an interesting little story.
Despite his best efforts Wilhelm Voigt doesn’t come across as a particularly sympathetic figure, most of the time up until the main event is a litany of “I didn’t do it” or “it wasn’t my fault” that would be familiar to any modern copper. Even the actual robbery itself was apparently only carried out so that he could get the passport that had been denied to him by the authorities, in fact he took the money against his will when the clerk insisted. Right.
I liked his reference to Hans Kohlhase, another nice little story previously unknown to me.

Part of the reason for the posting gap (apart from sloth) was my recent trip to Brandenburg an der Havel, a lovely town to which I hope to return later this year. I was disappointed not to be able to find the Bund der Vertriebenen museum, which didn’t appear to be where it said it was, maybe it was me… “Ein Viertel der Stadtbevölkerung hat Vorfahren in Pommern, Ostpreußen beziehungsweise Schlesien oder sind Sudetendeutsche und Donauschwaben.”

While there I took the opportunity to hop on the train and visit Sanssouci for the first time, in the rain unfortunately. The palace tour itself was one of those awful audioguide affairs, which I declined to join in with, but just being there was pleasure enough, although I have to say that Frederician Rococo is a little much for my taste. I also confirmed that the print on my wall of the famous Anton Graff portrait of Frederick is indeed a mirror image, facing right instead of left. Nobody else will know hopefully.
Most of the photos of the interior are enough to make your eyes bleed, but I had to visit the great man himself, here’s the proof. I forgot to bring potatoes, they probably sell them for a tenner each in the tourist shop where I bought my classy fridge magnets.