History Highlights, Old Germany...lost territory, Prussia...Northern Germany, Teutonic Knights..Deutscher Orden

Marienburg Castle is the largest fortress ever built in Europe

...with walls 27 ft high and 7 feet thick...and with outermost castle walls that enclose 52 acres. For perspective, that is four times the enclosed area of Windsor Castle. Amazingly, this huge German medieval structure still exists... it has survived the ages and is now 743 years old, although it is no longer located within… Continue reading Marienburg Castle is the largest fortress ever built in Europe

History Highlights, Notes on German Culture

Landsknechte are probably best known for the variety and flamboyance of their unconventional uniforms

Image from a book, History of Clothing, from a page showing outfits from the first third of the 16th century. The three men at the right are Landsknechte, demonstrating the very colorful and unique clothing that was worn by these mercenary soldiers. Landsknechte became an important military force through late 15th- and 16th-century Europe. At the… Continue reading Landsknechte are probably best known for the variety and flamboyance of their unconventional uniforms

Famous Artists, First Reich...800 to 1806, History Highlights

Karl der Grosse, Charlemagne, was crowned on 25 December 800…All future German Holy Roman Emperors and all French Kings considered themselves to be descendants of his Empire.

This regal portrait of a man who lived 1200 years ago was painted in 1512 by Albrecht Dürer...it is a representation of what he thought his subject, Karl der Grosse (Charlemagne), may have looked like at age 58 in the year 800. It was known that Karl was slim and very tall...6' 0" versus 5'… Continue reading Karl der Grosse, Charlemagne, was crowned on 25 December 800…All future German Holy Roman Emperors and all French Kings considered themselves to be descendants of his Empire.

Famous Artists, Notes on German Culture, Prussia...Northern Germany, Second Reich...1871 to 1918

Most of Menzel’s paintings were quickly gathered up by museums and patrons in Germany

"Dinner at the Ball" captures a moment in time during the high point of peace and prosperity in the German Empire. It was 7 years after the German unification of 1871 and was the era of Kaiser Wilhelm I and his Chancellor Bismarck, who created a booming economy and a foreign policy that produced 43… Continue reading Most of Menzel’s paintings were quickly gathered up by museums and patrons in Germany

Famous Artists, First Reich...800 to 1806, History Highlights

Six year old Heinrich was declared King of the Germans and Holy Roman Emperor in 1056, kidnapped at age 12 and regained control at age 16…and the drama was just beginning

Try to imagine what it was like to be 6 years old and declared King of the Germans, a powerful medieval nation. This actually happened in 1056 in Aachen Cathedral, when Heinrich IV was crowned King of the Romans, the medieval official title for King of the Germans. If you think a 6 year old… Continue reading Six year old Heinrich was declared King of the Germans and Holy Roman Emperor in 1056, kidnapped at age 12 and regained control at age 16…and the drama was just beginning

History Highlights

The Celts populated Europe and England until conquered and assimilated by Germanic peoples

The oldest archaeological evidence of the Celts comes from Hallstatt, Austria, near Salzburg. Excavated graves of chieftains there, dating from about 700 BC, exhibit an Iron Age culture (one of the first in Europe) which received in Greek trade such luxury items as bronze and pottery vessels. It would appear that these wealthy Celts, based… Continue reading The Celts populated Europe and England until conquered and assimilated by Germanic peoples

History Highlights, Prussia...Northern Germany

Even Frederick the Great was a target of contemporaneous political sarcasim

Political cartoons are not new...yes, they were even used during the reign of Frederick the Great...this image and text was distributed in Frederick's time and was considered a parody, poking a sarcastic finger at the degree of loyalty within Prussian ranks. It shows Frederick surrounded by his amazingly loyal Infantry...the text states: Du bist noch… Continue reading Even Frederick the Great was a target of contemporaneous political sarcasim

Famous Artists, History Highlights, Notes on German Culture, Prussia...Northern Germany

An opera singer donated the Wagner Memorial to the city of Berlin in 1904

The 1904 unveiling of the Wagner Memorial in Berlin’s Tiergarten Park was a major social event, interestingly thanks to the opera singer Ludwig Leichner, who donated the Memorial to the city of Berlin. The event was memorialized in a painting by the famous artist, Anton von Werner. He was commissioned to capture the unveiling ceremony,… Continue reading An opera singer donated the Wagner Memorial to the city of Berlin in 1904

Notes on German Culture

Precious family photos that survived WWII

This photo was taken in 1934, at a portrait studio in Königsberg, the beautiful 700 year old medieval city that was once the capital of East Prussia. In that peaceful and optimistic year, none of the residents could foresee the terror that would befall them only ten years later. Summer 1940...Ellen Tschutter just before her… Continue reading Precious family photos that survived WWII

Notes on German Culture, Second Reich...1871 to 1918, WWI...First World War

When circumstances were difficult, as in 1917, then even a tiny tree would make Christmas special

Herzlichen Weihnachstgruss (heartfelt Christmas greeting) ...an older German style wording for Frohe Weihnachten (Merry Christmas). This image is from a vintage 1917 WWI German Christmas card, depicting a lady joyfully reading a Weihnachstgruss from her soldier away at war. It also reflects the tradition that a Christmas tree always had to be there and when… Continue reading When circumstances were difficult, as in 1917, then even a tiny tree would make Christmas special