Der Kutscher Pfund

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This time from Friedrich von der Marwitz’s Lebensbeschreibung.

Marwitz-1

Von der Marwitz tells us that whilst travelling Frederick the Great liked to stay with local preachers, mainly because there was a bit less fuss than staying in the towns themselves. For this he always paid 50 Thalers for a midday stop and 100 Thalers for an overnight stay, plus expenses. A reasonable sum.

Apparently his long-time trusty coachman Pfund (you can still see him driving the chariot on top of the Kutschpferdestall in Potsdam) used this as an excuse to extort 10 Thalers from the relevant preachers beforehand, as a guarantee that the King would indeed stop with them.

Unfortunately in 1782 or 1783, as the young von der Marwitz met the king, the recently installed preacher in Dolgelin was unaware of this practice and failed to cough up, so Pfund thrashed the horses so as to get to the nearby town of Müncheberg where he could collect.

I wonder if Fritz knew…

Interestingly this story doesn’t tie in with the dates of Pfund’s service given in Wikipedia, which state that he retired in 1776. A mistake in von der Marwitz’s recollection or with Wikipedia’s sources?

Monbijouplatz and Modernity 

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Well here I am in a hotel on Monbijouplatz on the 18th März, I knew the Schloß was no longer here but a plaque might have been nice. Same for In den Zelten; no sign it ever existed. I’m a little disappointed in the modern Germans, I know they want to forget the 1930’s but forgetting the 18th and 19th centuries seems like babies and bathwater (a German saying according to Carlyle I believe). 

On the upside, I’m writing this in the pub after eating Königsberger Klopse. 

*Edit: I may have been a little hasty, there is at least an information board… 

William I – Todestag

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Today is the Anniversary of the death of William I, last solely Prussian King (well almost, Frederick III never really had a proper go), and the passing of the crown, briefly unfortunately, to his son Frederick III.

It’s fair to say I think, that with Frederick’s early death things went downhill from here.

Although a little unfair, as he proved by all accounts to be a popular monarch, here’s a little ditty from 1848 when he was still referred to as the Kartätschenprinz (Grapeshot Prince):

Wir wollen ihn nicht haben
Den Herrn Kartätschenprinz
Mag Rußland ihn begraben
In seiner Eisprovinz
Mag er darauf verzichten
Zu herrschen einst am Rhein
Wir wollen ihn mit nichten
Den Bürgermörder – Nein

Wir wollen ihn nicht haben
Den Schild der Despotie
Der für der Freiheit Gaben
Nie fühlte Sympathie
Der nur die Frucht vom Fleiße
Des armen Volks genießt
Und dann als erster Preuße
Dasselbe niederschießt

Wir wollen ihn nicht haben
Den Groß=Parade=Held
Der uns´re wackre Knaben
Als seine Puppen hält
Der um das Volk zu knechten
Zum Brudermord sie zwingt
Und uns statt deutschen Rechten
Nur Rußlands Knute bringt

Wir alle wollen haben
Am freien deutschen Rhein
Das Königtum begraben
Und selbst Regenten sein
Nur dann erblüht für Jeden
Der Freiheit goldnes Glück
Drum fort mit Majestäten
Es leb die Republik

Source: Volksliederarchiv.

Die Schlacht bei Zorndorf – Schluß

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Ich habe letzte Nacht “Die Schlacht bei Zorndorf” ausgelesen. Es hat mir sehr gut gefallen.

Ein Paar anschließende Anmerkungen:

sack-rede-kleinIn dieser Rede des Hof- und Dompredigers Friedrich Wilhelm Sack über den Sieg sind die Wörter HErr und GOtt doppelkapitalisiert, vermutlich aus Pietät (?). Das habe ich niemals vorher gesehen.

 

Schließlich, für den heutigen Geschmack ein bißchen übertrieben, aber was für ein Ende:

 

Wendet, Preußen, den Blick! o, wende zurück ihn auf Zorndorf!

Seht, wie mit Geistes Tritt Friedrich dem Osten sich stellt!

Furchtbar naht sich der Schwarm als dräunde rohe Naturmacht;

Aber mit Donnerton ruft ihm der König das: “Halt!”

 

Am Ende ist die Sache nicht so gut gegangen…

Preußen Sind Wir…

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Ohne Kommentar…

6th September 1849.

Preußen sind wir und Preußen wollen wir bleiben; ich weiß, daß ich mit diesen Worten das Bekenntnis der Preußischen Armee, das Bekenntnis der Mehrzahl meiner Landsleute ausspreche, und hoffe ich zu Gott, daß wir auch noch lange Preußen bleiben werden, wenn dieses Stück Papier vergessen sein wird, wie ein dürres Herbstblatt. (Lebhaftes Bravo!)

Fürst Bismarck’s Gesammelte Reden, Globus Verlag 1900

Zorndorf

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Eine kleine, interessante aber etwas grausame Episode beim Schlacht bei Zorndorf, aus “Die Schlacht von Zorndorf” von Dr Adolf Schottmüller (Berlin 1858).

Der Prinz und St. Andree flohen gegen die Mietzel hin, und es gelang ihnen durch den Morast an den Fluß zu gelangen, den sie auf ihren Pferden durchschwammen. Preussische Kugeln sollen sie bis dahin verfolgt haben.

Die beiden Damen, welche den Prinzen begleiteten, folgten in einem mit 6 Schimmeln bespannten Wagen, trafen aber eine weniger glückliche Stelle, und versanken so völlig in den Sumpf, daß weder von dem Wagen und den Pferden, noch von den Personen eine Spur aufgefunden werden Konnte.**)

**) Diese Nachricht ist mir von einem Einwohner in Neudamm mitgetheilt worden, der sie von einem Augenzeugen, einem alten preussischen Husaren in seiner Jugend oft hat erzählen hören.

 

The Defence of Schloß Monbijou

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monbijou-wache

Although eventually heavily bombed in WWII and finally demolished in 1959, Schloß Monbijou could have been destroyed in 1848 were it not for the brave action of a young Prussian officer.

I believe this account is reasonably accurate; the reported speech is a mixture of the contemporary eyewitness account in the Deutsche Wehr-Zeitung (Jahrgang 1. 1-90) from 1849 and von Reibniz’s own account in Berlin 1848 by Karl von Prittwitz, commander of the troops in Berlin at the time, whilst I’ve also used a later and somewhat clearer military account from the 1890s: Die Straßenkämpfe in Berlin am 18. und 19. März 1848 by Hubert von Meyerinck to help clarify places and times. All from the original German, so far I’ve found no reference to the incident in English.

It’s 13:00 on the 18th March 1848. Amid the widespread disturbances occurring all over Berlin 36 year old Premierleutnant Eugen von Reibnitz, commanding 40 artillerymen and two junior officers of the Garde-Artillerie, is ordered from Oranienburger Tor, where the artillery barracks had already been set ablaze, to defend Schloß Monbijou, once a royal palace and now home to the Museum for National Antiquities. The building is guarded at the time by a small force of ten Grenadiers and a junior officer from the Kaiser Franz Regiment, together with two dragoons. The artillerymen had been trained on the previous three evenings at Monbijou by von Reibnitz in the use of their outdated weapons, for which they have no ammunition. The Grenadiers have decent weapons and ammunition however.

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Was hat Preußen für Deutschland geleistet?

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preuussen-deutschlandNew aquisition received today; ‘Was hat Preußen für Deutschland geleistet‘ by Wolfgang Menzel, Stuttgart 1870.

In fairly good condition, cost around 20 Euro, I’m looking forward to reading it.

It might be interesting to see at what point in his varied political opinions this was written, conservative or liberal.

 

What prompted me to post however is the handwritten inscription in the front cover; it appears to be in Latin script although I can’t read the first line, but the second line clearly says: “Kreigsjahr 1918”.

Obviously the writer would have most likely known by this point that the war was lost, so given the subject matter of the book and the fact that it was written just before the unification of Germany I wonder what thoughts were going through the writers’s head?

preussen-deutschland-schrift

I doubt they were happy ones.

preussen-deutschland-spine

Bismarck an seiner Gattin

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I thought I’d add this here as I was looking for a quote to submit for possible inclusion into a book about the alte deutsche Schrift and liked this, but couldn’t find an exact attribution anywhere, so found it in my own copy of ‘Fürst Bismarcks Briefe an seine Braut und Gattin‘. Eventually.

… denn ich habe Dich geheirathet um Dich in Gott und nach dem Bedürfniß meines Herzens zu lieben, und um in der fremden Welt eine Stelle für mein Herz zu haben, die all ihre dürren Winde nicht erkälten und an der ich die Wärme des heimathlichen Kaminfeuers finde, an das ich mich dränge wenn es draußen stürmt und friert …

Bismarck an seine Gattin

Fürst Bismarcks Briefe an seine Braut und Gattin, J.G. Cotta`sche Buchhandlung Nachfolger, Stuttgart 1900. Letter #177, 14.5.1851, Page 277.

Von Zieten

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Lebensbeschreibung Hans Joachims von Zieten

Von ZietenLatest bit of light reading.  A biography of Prussian General von Zieten by his niece Louise Johanne Leopoldine von Blumenthal published in Berlin in 1806.  Heavily watermarked and annotated but solidly bound and complete with two coloured maps.  I only wanted a reading copy hence I was happy to get this from Abe Books for only 40 quid.  Here is an English translation (complete with scanned fingers) that I downloaded from archive.org

Several things with this one:

Firstly, it’s 210 bloody years old!  Which to me is quite amazing.  Where has it been all these years? Who has read it before?

vonZietenXSecondly there is some interesting typesetting; a small ‘e’ instead of umlauts, an indication of the use of
a  small Kurrentschrift ‘e’ which went on to become the umlaut, and the strange ‘x’ symbol (image left, at the end of the first paragraph) that I’ve also seen in Friedrich Gerstäcker’s “Das Alte Haus” that seems to stand for u.s.w.  There may yet be more to discover.

IMG_20160423_095504Thirdly it’s been heavily, really heavily annotated, in a fashion that seems to make not a lot of sense, enough to suggest that the annotator was not quite in their right mind.  I feel safe enough in mentioning this because the few legible comments seem to be in Kurrentschrift, so unless like me they were a modern fan it’s unlikely that it was done after WWII and the perpetrator is most likely Mausetot.  Really though, what were they thinking, and when, and where, and what else was going on around them?  The image to the right is a
good example, the text looks like “seine Gemahlin” (his wife) in Kurrent, which makes sense as that’s what the passage covers, but why all the lines?  Lost it, undoubtedly.

Fourthly, it’s a surprisingly interesting read, the somewhat archaic language adding to the charm.  Von Zieten would appear to have been devout and patriotic, but basically an ugly, stroppy short bloke with a massive chip on his shoulder who couldn’t handle his drink.  Despite, or perhaps because of, which he turned out to be a very impressive soldier, once he’d run out of superiors to have fights with.  My girlfriend has always had the same sort of relationship with her bosses.

More later as I read more of it, maybe.