My message with this image is that today’s Germans should remember and honor the history of East Prussia. This relatively small part of old Germany, the easternmost part of Germany once mentioned in the national anthem, played an oversized role in history. But the descendants of these East Prussians are now dispersed all over the globe and the land is gone forever, no longer part of Germany.
Let us remember that Ostpreussen was the foundation stone of the Prussian Kingdom. It was established as a state by German crusader knights of the Teutonic Order, almost 800 years ago in 1224. As it grew it became a melting pot of Germans from all regions of the Empire. These German colonists lived alongside minorities consisting of adventurous foreigners, indiginous old Prussians, and some Poles and Lithuanians.
Under the leadership of the Hohenzollerns since 1525, the Catholic Monastic State of the Teutonic Order was transformed into the Protestant Duchy of Prussia and in 1701 into the Kingdom of Prussia. It then merged with Brandenburg and continued to strengthen until Prussia was able to unite all German states (except Austria) into one modern centralized nation in 1871.
Ironically, Prussia, the unifiyer of Germany, was a German state but it was always outside the borders of the German Holy Roman Empire. But, when the Empire dissolved in 1806, Prussia was the state that worked to create the new modern Germany. Today, Prussia is no more… only Brandenburg lives on… and East Prussia has disappeared.
The original kernel of Prussia that was East Prussia is now split between Russia, Poland and Lithuania. It is no longer part of Germany and no longer populated by any Germans, but it’s history should not be forgotten.