Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Environmental Chauvinism in the Prussian East: Forestry as a Civilizing Mission on the Ethnic Frontier, 1871–1914

  • Jeffrey K. Wilson (a1)
Extract

The Tuchel Heath (Tucheler Heide, Bóry Tucholskie) and Kashubia (Kassubei, Kaszuby), the two regions comprising the geographical region known as Pomerelia (roughly the area of the “Polish Corridor”), came into Prussian possession with annexations from Poland in 1772, when Friedrich II seized most of what would become the provinces of Poznania and West Prussia from the ailing Polish Republic. These territories, some liked to imagine, resembled the North American frontier. Friedrich II apparently compared it to Canada and “jokingly named the inhabitants his Iroquois.” Gustav Freytag immortalized Friedrich's arrival on the frontier in his work Bilder aus der deutschen Vergangenheit, characterizing the place as “an abandoned land, without law, without authority; it was a wasteland.” Certainly, the harsh climate, the sprawling pine forests and barrens, and the impoverished populace suggested a certain affinity. In one description of the region from 1879, the author depicted the Slavic game poacher “as a red Indian on the warpath.”

Copyright
References
Hide All

1 Pernin, Karl, Wanderungen durch die sogen. Kassubei und die Tucheler Haide (Danzig: A.W. Kafemann, 1886), 87; Schwandt, Wilhelm, “Zur Geschichte des Marienparadieses,” in Karthaus und die Kassubische Schweiz, ed. Schwandt, Wilhelm (Danzig: Kafemann, 1913), 119.

2 von dem Borne, Gustav, “Die Oedlands-Ankäufe und Aufforstungen,” Zeitschrift für Forst- und Jagdwesen 24 (1892): 399400.

3 Schmitt, F. W. F., Land und Leute in Westpreußen, vol. 2, Die Provinz Westpreußen (Thorn: Ernst Lambeck, 1879), 56.

4 Pernin, Wanderungen, 187–190.

5 Indeed, the term Kultur can often refer to agriculture.

6 Nentwig, G., “Deutsche Pioniere im Osten,” Die Gartenlaube (1881): 830832.

7 Keller, A., “Karthaus in der Kassubischen Schweiz,” Die Gartenlaube (1901): 409410.

8 Prof. Dr. Heidenhain, rejected draft of the Festschrift zum 10 jährigen Stiftungsfest für die Ostmarkenverein (Marienburg: n.p., 1907), Geheimes Staatsarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz (hereafter G.StA.-P.K.), I HA Rep.195, Nr. 35, b.9; Baeck, , Heimatskunde der Provinz Posen (Königsberg: Bon, 1882), 910.

9 Boie, Margarete, Hugo Conwentz und seine Heimat. Ein Buch der Erinnerungen (Stuttgart: Steinkopf, 1940), 176–178.

10 Schmitt, Land und Leute in Westpreußen, 56–58; Schütte, R., Die Tucheler Haide, vornehmlich in forstlicher Beziehung (Danzig: Th. Bertling, 1893), 1314; Luntowski, Adalbert, Westpreußische Wanderungen (Berlin: G. Westermann, 1914), 79.

11 Johnson, Eric A., “Urban and Rural Crime in Germany, 1871–1914,” in The Civilization of Crime, ed. Johnson, Eric A. and Monkkonen, Eric H. (Chicago: University of Illinois, 1996), 217257.

12 Rosenthal, Harry K., German and Pole. National Conflict and Modern Myth (Gainesville: University Presses of Florida, 1976); Baier, Roland, Die deutsche Osten als soziale Frage. Eine Studie zur preußischen und deutschen Siedlungs- und Polenpolitik in den Ostprovinzen während des Kaiserreichs und der Weimarer Republik (Cologne: Böhlau, 1980); Hagen, William W., Germans, Poles, and Jews: The Nationality Conflict in the Prussian East, 1772–1914 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980); Blanke, Richard, Prussian Poland in the German Empire (Boulder: East European Monographs, 1981); Kulczycki, John, School Strikes in Prussian Poland, 1901–1907: The Struggle over Bilingual Education (Boulder: East European Monographs, 1981); Davies, Norman, God's Playground. A History of Poland (New York: Columbia University Press, 1982), vol. 2; Broszat, Martin, Zweihundert Jahre deutsche Polenpolitik (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1986); Krasuski, Jerzy, Polska i Niemcy (Warsaw: Panstwowy Instytut Wydawniczy, 1989); Balzer, Brigitte, Die preußische Polenpolitik 1894–1908 und die Haltung der deutschen konservativen und liberalen Parteien (Frankfurt a/M: Peter Lang, 1990); Lech Trzeciakowski, The Kulturkampf in Prussian Poland (Boulder: East European Monographs, 1990); Eley, Geoff, “German Politics and Polish Nationality: The Dialectic of Nation-Forming in the East of Prussia,” in From Unification to Nazism, ed. Eley, Geoff (New York: Routledge, 1992); Wandycz, Piotr, The Lands of Partitioned Poland (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1993); Niendorf, Mathias, Minderheiten an der Grenze. Deutsche und Polen in den Kreisen Flatow (Złotów) und Zempelburg (Sępólno Krajeńskie) 1900–1939 (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1997); Friedrich, Karin, The Other Prussia: Royal Prussia, Poland, and Liberty, 1569–1772 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000).

13 Cited in Baier, Der deutsche Osten als soziale Frage, 5.

14 Balzer, Die preußische Polenpolitik, 290.

15 Hagen, Germans, Poles, and Jews, 184–185; Balzer, Die preußische Polenpolitik, 144.

16 Rollins, William, “Imperial Shades of Green: Conservation and Environmental Chauvinism in the German Colonial Project,” German Studies Review 22, no. 2 (1999): 187213.

17 Sunseri, Thaddeus, “Reinterpreting a Colonial Rebellion: Forestry and Social Control in German East Africa, 1874–1915,” Environmental History 8, no. 3 (2003): 443.

18 von Riesenthal, Oskar, Bilder aus der Tucheler Heide, 2nd ed. (Trier: Fr. Link, 1878), 1.

19 Schütte, Die Tucheler Haide, 4.

20 Nachweisung über den Ankauf und die Aufforstung von Ländereien im Interesse der Landeskultur (Regierungsbezirk Marienwerder, September 17, 1878), G.StA.-P.K., I HA Rep. 87D, Nr. 2412.

21 Wagner, Ursula Hannelore, Die preussische Verwaltung des Regierungsbezirks Marienwerder 1871–1920 (Cologne: Grote, 1982), 41.

22 Borne, “Die Oedlands-Ankäufe und Aufforstungen,” 399–400.

23 Bömelburg, Hans-Jürgen, “Westpreußische Gutsbesitzer ‘auf der Höhe,’” in Polen, Deutsche und Kaschuben. Alltag, Brauchtum und Volkskultur auf dem Gut Hochpaleschken in Westpreußen um 1900, ed. Lauer, Bernhard (Kassel: Brüder Grimm-Gesellschaft, 1997): 2830; Nonn, Christoph, Eine Stadt sucht einen Mörder. Gerücht, Gewalt und Antisemitismus im Kaiserreich (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2002): 103110.

24 See “Klimatologische Bedeutung des Waldes,” Das Ausland 45 (1872): 601–603; von Löffelholz-Colberg, Friedrich Freiherr, Die Bedeutung und Wichtigkeit des Waldes. Ursachen und Folgen der Entwaldung (Leipzig: H. Schmidt 1872), v; Gesetzentwurf betreffend die Erhaltung und Begründung von Schutzwaldungen, sowie die Bildung von Waldgenossenschaften (1875), 22–23, G.StA.-P.K., Rep.A 180 Bd.15053 b.17; Simony, Friedrich, “Schutz dem Walde!Zeitschrift zur Verbreitung naturwissenschaftliche Kenntnisse 17 (1877): 466498; Schwappach, Adam, Handbuch der Forst- und Jagdgeschichte Deutschlands (Berlin: Springer, 18861888), 773774; Jösting, Heinrich, Der Wald, seine Bedeutung, Verwüstung und Wiederbegründung (Berlin: Parey, 1898), 13; Köllner, Fr., “Wald in Volks- und Naturhaushalt,” Die Natur (1901): 170171; Weber, R., “Die Aufgaben der Forstwirtschaft,” in Handbuch der Forstwissenschaft, ed. Lorey, Tuisko von (Tübingen: Laupp'schen Buchhandlung, 1903), vol. 1, 2070; Eckardt, Wilhelm R., “Die Wälder der Heimat,” Naturwissenschaftliche Wochenschrift (1908): 593–594; Säurich, Paul, Das Leben der Pflanzen im Walde (Leipzig: Ernst Wunderlich, 1908), 392396; Francé, Raoul H., Bilder aus dem Leben des Waldes (Stuttgart: Kosmos, 1909), 78. Only shortly before the First World War did this consensus begin to change. One prominent professor of forestry argued that scholars had greatly exaggerated the climatic influence of the woods. “Precise modern research has disappointed these extreme expectations, for the detectable amount of influence of the forest has on the climate is in most cases only small.” Hausrath, H., “Die Waldwirtschaft,” in Die Pflanzen und der Mensch, vol. 7 (Stuttgart: Kosmos, 1913), Das Leben der Pflanze, ed. Raoul H. Francé, 596–600.

25 Jeffrey K. Wilson, “Nature and Nation: The ‘German Forest’ as a National Symbol, 1871–1914” (Ph.D. diss., University of Michigan, 2002), 271–283.

26 Ibid., 283–307.

27 Sohnrey, Heinrich, Wegweiser für Ländliche Wohlfahrts- und Heimatpflege (Berlin: Deutscher Dorfschriftenverlag, 1900), 162.

28 Säurich, Das Leben der Pflanzen im Walde, 395–6.

29 Borne,“Die Oedlands-Ankäufe und Aufforstungen,” 395–6.

30 After the turn of the century, as the state curtailed its reforestation project in the Lüneburg Heath, nature enthusiasts began to reimagine the place not as a bleak and worthless desert, but rather as a scenic example of northern Germany's primeval landscape. Inspired by the example of the American national parks, some German nature protection advocates called for a similar project at home. The Lüneburg Heath was the site of one of three parks proposed by the Verein Naturschutzpark in 1910 (it was finally inaugurated in 1919). In the absence of state interest, Kurt Floericke, one of the Verein's founders, sought to raise private funds to buy up land in the heath to create a national park. He argued that the Lüneburg Heath “embodies, as hardly any other landscape type, the melancholy poetry, the indigenous strength (urwüchsige Kraft), and noble beauty of the Lower German people (Stammes).” Therefore, nature enthusiasts explicitly rejected reforestation, seeking to preserve the “Urlandschaft” of the Lüneburg Heath. This stood in sharp contrast with the Tuchel Heath, where, according to the foresters' environmental chauvinism, the land oppressed its inhabitants, rather than inspiring them.

This is not to say that nature enthusiasts did not contemplate a national park in the east. The botanist Hugo Conwentz, the director of the Westpreussische Provinzial-Museum in Danzig and later founder of the Preußische Staatliche Stelle für Naturdenkmalpflege, drew up a catalog of the province's trees in the late 1890s in an effort to identify individual trees worth protecting from the axe. Other nature enthusiasts imagined parks on a much grander scale. The Pan German League activist Hans Merbach drew up plans for a national park in the Kashubian highlands, where he imagined the state buying up a large swath of land, displacing the Slavic population, and drawing in German tourists. His proposal received little resonance, however. The preservationist Bund Heimatschutz observed that the plan had “no possibility of being realized,” and Conwentz reportedly also rejected the idea. Floericke himself had toyed with the idea of an eastern national park, but its isolation ruled it out as a serious option. The great advantage of a Lüneburg Heath park, he argued, was its proximity to several major cities, making it both accessible and attractive for the potential patrons needed to fund the project.

On the movement to preserve particular pieces of nature from the ravages of industrial modernity, see Schmoll, Friedemann, Erinnerung an die Natur. Die Geschichte des Naturschutzes im deutschen Kaiserreich (Frankfurt: Campus, 2004), and Lekan, Thomas, Imagining the Nation in Nature: Landscape Preservation and German Identity, 1885–1945 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004). For Floericke's proposal, see Floericke, Kurt, “Die Aussichten für einen Naturschutzpark in Norddeutschland,” in Naturschutzparke in Deutschland und Oesterreich. Ein Mahnwort an das Deutsche und Oesterreichische Volk (Stuttgart: Franckh'sche Verlagshandlung, 1910), 28–9. On the Verein Naturschutzpark, see Dominick, Raymond, The Environmental Movement in Germany: Prophets and Pioneers, 1871–1971 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992), 5455. For Conwentz's proposal, see Conwentz, Hugo, Forstbotanisches Merkbuch (Berlin: Bornträger, 1900). On the Merbach plan, see Merbach, Hans, Ein deutscher Nationalpark in der Ostmark (Lissa: Ebbecke, 1906); “Die Schaffung eines deutschen Nationalparkes in der Ostmark,” Mitteilungen des Bundes Heimatschutz 2 (1906): 120; William H. Rollins, “Aesthetic Environmentalism: The Heimatschutz Movement in Germany, 1904–1918” (Ph.D. diss., University of Wisconsin, 1994), 169, fn. 102.

31 For a historical treatment of the concept of “Polish mismanagement,” see Orlowski, Hubert, “Polnische Wirtschaft.” Zum deutschen Polendiskurs der Neuzeit (Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz, 1996).

32 Borne, “Die Oedlands-Ankäufe und Aufforstungen,” 399–400; Schütte, Die Tucheler Haide, 10.

33 Preuß, Hans, “Die Entwicklung der staatlichen Forstwirtschaft in Westpreußen,” in Lesebuch, part 2, Die Provinz Westpreußen in Wort und Bild, ed. Gehrke, Paul et al. (Danzig: Kafemann, 1912), 105106; Preuß, “Drei Tage in der Tucheler Heide,” in ibid., 98; Luntowski, Westpreußische Wanderungen, 71–73.

34 Rollins, “Imperial Shades of Green”; Sunseri, “Reinterpreting a Colonial Rebellion,” 430–451.

35 Blackbourn, David, The Conquest of Nature: Water, Landscape, and the Making of Modern Germany (New York: W. W. Norton, 2006), 2175.

36 Schütte, Die Tucheler Haide, 11–12; Borne, “Die Oedlands-Ankäufe und Aufforstungen,” 393–395; Preuß, “Drei Tage in der Tucheler Heide,” 98.

37 Historians have hotly debated whether the impending wood shortage was real or imagined. See Radkau, Joachim, “Holzverknappung und Kriesenbewusstsein im 18. Jahrundert,” Geschichte und Gesellschaft 9 (1983): 513543; Radkau, Joachim, “Wood and Forestry in German History: In Quest of an Environmental Approach,” Environment and History 2 (February 1996): 67.

38 Lowood, Henry E., “The Calculating Forester: Quantification, Cameral Science, and the Emergence of Scientific Forestry Management in Germany,” in The Quantifying Spirit in the 18th Century, ed. Frängsmyr, Tore, Heilbron, J. L., and Rider, Robin E. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990), 340342.

39 Scott, James C., Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (New Haven: Yale, 1998), 1121.

40 Luntowski, Westpreußische Wanderungen, 74–76.

41 Preuß, “Die Entwicklung der staatlichen Forstwirtschaft in Westpreußen,” 105–106; Luntowski, Westpreußische Wanderungen, 74–76.

42 Borne, “Die Oedlands-Ankäufe und Aufforstungen,” 399–400.

43 Wernicke, Erich, Wanderung durch die Tucheler Heide (Danzig: Kafemann, 1913), 910.

44 Schütte, Die Tucheler Haide, 50.

45 During the agricultural crisis years of 1874–1898, the German-owned Altpaleschken estate reduced its 230 Morgen forest to 50. See Bömelburg, “Westpreußische Gutsbesitzer,” 28–30.

46 On the Kashubians, see Lingenberg, H., “Die Kaschuben,” Westpreußen-Jahrbuch 35 (1985): 133138; Breyer, Richard, “Die kaschubische Bewegung vor dem Ersten Weltkrieg,” in Studien zur Geschichte des Preussenlandes. Festschrift für Erich Keyser zu seinem 70. Geburtstag dargebracht von Freunden und Schülern, ed. Bahr, Ernst (Marburg: N. G. Elwert, 1963), 327341.

47 Riesenthal, Bilder aus der Tucheler Heide, 2.

48 Schmitt, Land und Leute in Westpreußen, 55; Schütte, Die Tucheler Haide, 49.

49 Wernicke, Wanderung durch die Tucheler Heide, 12.

50 Schütte, Die Tucheler Haide, 49; Borne, “Die Oedlands-Ankäufe und Aufforstungen,” 398–400.

51 Borne, “Die Oedlands-Ankäufe und Aufforstungen,” 398.

52 Luntowski, Westpreußische Wanderungen, 61–3; Wernicke, Wanderung durch die Tucheler Heide, 16–17.

53 Schütte, Die Tucheler Haide, 44.

54 See Scott, Seeing Like a State, 11–22.

55 Scholarship on wood theft emphasizes peasant resistance to market forces, arguing rural folk challenged the rationalization of commercial production by asserting their “traditional” rights to their environment. In this case, it is difficult to disentangle incipient anticapitalism from national resentments. See Guha, Ramachandra, The Unquiet Woods: Ecological Change and Peasant Resistance in the Himalaya (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000)Sahlins, Peter, Forest Rites: The War of the Demoiselles in Nineteenth-Century France (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1994); Moser, Josef, “Property and Wood Theft: Agrarian Capitalism and Social Conflict in Rural Society, 1800–50. A Westphalian Case Study,” in Peasants and Lords in Modern Germany: Recent Studies in Agricultural History, ed. Moeller, Robert G. (Boston: Allen & Unwin, 1986), 7577.

56 Niendorf, Minderheiten an der Grenze.

57 Luntowski, Westpreußische Wanderungen, 61.

58 Nancy Peluso has detailed the ways in which Dutch colonial foresters and their Indonesian successors (all trained in the German tradition) worked to push peasants out of the teak forests in the name of the common good. See Peluso, , Rich Forests, Poor People: Resource Control and Resistance in Java (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1992).

59 K. Sivaramakrishnan points to a similar seasonal pattern of wood theft in colonial Bengal, as does Josef Moser in Westphalia. Interestingly, Moser finds wood theft less prevalent in industrializing areas, where workers were subject to the rhythms of the market, not the seasons. See Sivaramakrishnan, K., Modern Forests: Statemaking and Environmental Change in Colonial Eastern India (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999), 39; Moser, “Property and Wood Theft,” 66.

60 This graph also indicates an enormous jump in wood theft in April, which may have been anomalous. A particularly cold spring (delaying planting and demanding extra fuel) may have spurred the heightened demand. “Verzeichniß der vorgefallenen Holzdiebstähle in dem Forst-Revier Woziwoda im Jahr 1875,” Archiwum Panstwowe w Bydgoszczy (hereafter APB), Schüttenwalde, Nr. 174.

61 Unfortunately, it is impossible to deduce ethnicity from the lists, as the authorities did not identify it as a useful category, and names are not reliable indicators. Ibid.; “Verzeichniß der vorgefallenen Forst-Contraventionen in dem Forst-Revier Czersk während des Monats Mai im Jahre 1878,” Ciss, June 18, 1878, APB, Czersk, Nr. 19; “Verzeichniß der vorgefallenen Forst-Contraventionen in dem Forst-Revier Czersk während des Monats Juni im Jahre 1878,” Ciss, July 10, 1878, APB, Czersk, Nr. 19.

62 Luntowski, Westpreußische Wanderungen, 54; Mühlradt, Johannes, Ein Besuch in Grüntal, vol. 1, Die Tucheler Heide in Wort und Bild (Danzig: Kafemann, 1908), 80.

63 Schütte, Die Tucheler Haide, 17; Wernicke, Wanderung durch die Tucheler Heide, 16–17.

64 Luntowski, Westpreußische Wanderungen, 62–63.

65 Letter from Förster Kliewert to Oberförster Feußner, February 2, 1881, APB, Czersk Nr. 16.

66 Letter from Forstmeister Christow to Oberförster Feußner, November 12, 1871, ibid.

67 Letter from Forstaufseher Knop to Oberförster Feußner, February 22, 1888, ibid.

68 It seems here again a local peasant attempted to invert the foresters' mental hierarchy, characterizing them as thieves and vagrants instead of upstanding officials.

69 Letter from Förster Lange to Oberförster Feußner, March 8, 1892, APB, Czersk Nr. 16.

70 Knop notes that he managed to beat her in a way that did not do harm to the pregnant woman, although this seems hard to believe. Letter from Forstaufseher Knop to Oberförster Feußner, March 3, 1886, ibid.

71 Letter from Förster Haase to Oberförster Feußner, June 13, 1888, ibid.

72 Letter from Forstaufseher Knop to Oberförster Feußner, June 30, 1888, ibid.

73 Riesenthal, Bilder aus der Tucheler Heide, 11–12.

74 Interestingly, British foresters had an entirely different experience in colonial Bengal over roughly the same period. From 1880 to 1905, the unauthorized felling of trees rose sharply (more than fifty times) from 37 cases to 1,984; while cases of illegal grazing of livestock leaped more than 140 times from 6 to 860. While environmental factors (such as the size and topography of the territory in question) contributed to these diverging experiences, the more recent assertion of state control over Bengal's previously unregulated forests plays a key role. While Prussia had already invested a century in battling wood thieves, British authorities had only just extended their control to the forests. See Sivaramakrishnan, Modern Forests, 39; Guha, The Unquiet Woods, 186–8.

75 Uebersicht der Geschäfte des Forst-Amtsanwalt Oberförster Feussner zu Cis im Geschäftsjahre 1880–1893, 1897–1907, 1911–1915, APB, Czersk, Nr. 17.

76 Die Ueberweisungsliste, APB, Königsbruch, Nr. 145.

77 Mühlradt, Ein Besuch in Grüntal, 231–232.

78 Wernicke, Wanderung durch die Tucheler Heide, 16–17.

79 Schütte quoted in ibid., 16–17; Luntowski, Westpreußische Wanderungen, 61–63. Poachers, unlike wood thieves, could only operate in daylight and therefore felt a need to disguise themselves. It is interesting to speculate about the significance of the black crosses with which they chose to disguise themselves. While the French peasants Sahlins describes cloaked themselves in women's garb—potentially symbolizing a “feminine” disruption of the state's imposition of a rational, “masculine” order on the forest—these Polish peasants and gentrymen perhaps chose the cross as a religious symbol. Given the alliance of the Catholic Church and the Polish nationalist movement, and that the poachers operated on Sundays directly after mass, it might be conceivable that their disguise carried a religious-cum-national message. Indeed, one could imagine these poachers arguing they were simply taking what God had given them and the Prussian state unjustly had taken away. Indeed, Bavarian poachers understood their work similarly. See Sahlins, Forest Rites, 24–28, 54; Schulte, Regina, The Village in Court: Arson, Infanticide, and Poaching in the Court Records of Upper Bavaria, 1848–1910, trans. Selman, Barrie (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 121177.

80 Riesenthal, Bilder aus der Tucheler Heide, 7–9.

81 Schmitt, Land und Leute in Westpreußen, 56–58.

82 Schütte cited in Mühlradt, Ein Besuch in Grüntal, 71.

83 Luntowski, Westpreußische Wanderungen, 79. We should not conclude that violent clashes between foresters and poachers were limited to the Prussian east, however. Indeed, Upper Bavaria witnessed particularly bloody battles between poachers and foresters in the early nineteenth century. Between 1823 and 1837, four poachers per year died in clashes with the authorities; that figure jumped to sixteen between 1837 and 1843, and again to twenty-nine between 1843 and 1846. By 1848, law and order in the woods had broken down altogether, as virtually all rural males, seizing the right to hunt, took to the forests in search of game. The violence continued after the revolution, as state authorities intervened to reimpose order. Foresters in Hessia, fearing ambushes, subsequently patrolled the woods in groups. This did not prevent the murder of one forester on duty in 1850 or the disappearance of another in 1881. Bavaria also witnessed significant tensions in the woods following the revolution. In Upper Bavaria, it took a conciliatory local judge to prevent a militarization of the conflict. The Bavarian Oberpfalz was not as lucky. At the turn of the century, the Bavarian army occupied the woods at Füchsmühl to crack down on violators. Broadly speaking, historian Robert von Friedberg has concluded that conflicts over the woods pit rural society against foresters and landowners. See Schulte, The Village in Court, 179–187; Friedberg, Robert von, Ländliche Gesellschaft und Obrigkeit (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1997), 142144; Köstlin, Konrad, “Der Ethnisierte Wald,” in Der Wald—Ein deutscher Mythos?, ed. Lehmann, Albrecht and Schriewer, Klaus (Berlin: Dietrich Reimer, 2000), 62.

84 Riesenthal, Bilder aus der Tucheler Heide, 13.

85 Schütte, Die Tucheler Haide, 13. Little historical literature has been written on the topic of arson in the German context. Regina Schulte's historical anthropological study of rural life in Upper Bavaria touches on the issue, identifying arson as a personal act of vengeance (i.e., burning homes or barns) within village society. Such attacks, she argues, did not aim to upset the local social order, but to undermine the economic welfare of a particular family. Setting state forests alight, while certainly a different undertaking in scale and intent, bore some similarity to village arson. Both intended to destroy the property of those seen as having perpetrated injustice according to local mores. Thus these assaults on state property bore much in common with the German peasants' attacks on forested property in the 1848 Revolution. See chapter II of my dissertation, Wilson, “Nature and Nation,” and Schulte, The Village in Court.

86 Riesenthal's work, the first detailed account of the heath in this period, did not suggest that forest fires stemmed from political malice. See Riesenthal's depiction of forest fires in the heath in Riesenthal, Bilder aus der Tucheler Heide, 13.

87 Schütte, Die Tucheler Haide, 22–23. The radical nationalist Adalbert Luntowski attempted to fill in the gaps Schütte left. Despite a lack of official statistics, Luntowski stated that an astounding 16,000 hectares had burned during the Kościuszko Uprising of 1794, and at least another 30,000 hectares went up in smoke following Napoleon's defeat of Prussia and the erection of the Duchy of Warsaw in the years 1807–1808. See Luntowski, Westpreußische Wanderungen, 63–6.

88 Schütte, Die Tucheler Haide, 22–23.

89 The fire of August 30, 1863, in Schütte's own forest district (Woziwoda, later renamed Schüttenwalde) consumed more than 1,250 hectares alone. This amounted to more than half the forests in the area burned that year and more than a quarter of all state forests put to the torch between 1860 and 1889.

90 Schütte, Die Tucheler Haide, 22–23.

91 Letter from Czersk petitioners to Königliche Regierung Marienwerder, May 21, 1888, APB, Czersk Nr. 16.

92 Letter from Königliche Regierung Marienwerder to Oberförster Feußner, May 23, 1888; letter from Oberförster Feußner to Königliche Regierung Marienwerder, June 16, 1888, ibid.

93 Schütte, Die Tucheler Haide, 41.

94 Mühlradt, Ein Besuch in Grüntal, 39–44.

95 Luntowski, Westpreußische Wanderungen, 61.

96 Review of Johannes Mühlradt, Die Tucheler Heide in Wort und Bild, in the Deutsche Forstzeitung 8 (August 1908). Cited in Mühlradt, Johannes, Die “Tucheler Heide in Wort und Bild” in Beurteilung der Presse (Grünthal: Selbstverlag, 1915), 14.

97 Denkschrift betreffend die Ergebnisse der Forstverwaltung im Regierungsbezirk Marienwerder in den Jahren 1901, 1902 und 1903 (Marienwerder, November 1, 1904). Regierungsbezirk Marienwerder, Abt. für direkte Steuern, Domänen und Forsten, 12–16, APB, Bülowsheide, Nr. 67.

98 Luntowski, Westpreußische Wanderungen, 63–6. On the school strikes, see Kulczycki, John J., School Strikes in Prussian Poland, 1901–1907: The Struggle Over Bilingual Education (Boulder: East European Monographs, 1981).

99 Pyne, Stephen J., Vestal Fire: An Environmental History, Told through Fire, of Europe and Europe's Encounter with the World (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1997), 199200.

100 Wernicke, Erich, “Erdkundliche und naturwissenschaftliche Schülerwanderungen in der Tucheler Heide,” Monatshefte für den naturkundlichen Unterricht 5, no. 1 (1912): 14.

101 Wernicke, Wanderung durch die Tucheler Heide, 13. The limits on the use of Polish in schools from the 1870s were eased during the Caprivi Era, but returned in 1894. State pressure on Polish-speakers and Catholics in the region canceled any goodwill Prussia gained with its economic initiatives. Balzer, Die preußische Polenpolitik, 230; Kulczycki, School Strikes in Prussian Poland, 210.

102 Luntowski, Westpreußische Wanderungen, 63–6.

103 Wernicke, Wanderung durch die Tucheler Heide, 26–27.

104 Luntowski, Westpreußische Wanderungen, 74.

105 Wernicke, Wanderung durch die Tucheler Heide, 26.

106 Luntowski, Westpreußische Wanderungen, 85–86.

107 Bernhard Fernow, who went on to become the founder of American forestry, cited in Andrew Rodgers, Denny, Bernhard Eduard Fernow: A Story of North American Forestry (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1951), 16.

108 Schütte quoted in Wernicke, Wanderung durch die Tucheler Heide, 16–17; Luntowski, Westpreußische Wanderungen, 61–63. Poachers, unlike wood thieves, could only operate in daylight.

109 Letter from Regierungsbezirk Danzig to Oberförsters, July 14, 1872, APG, Nr. 92/17.

110 Schmitt, Land und Leute in Westpreußen, 56–58.

111 Polizei-Verordnung, March 23, 1884, Bundesarchiv Koblenz, B245/175, b.96–100.

112 Schütte, Die Tucheler Haide, 22–23; Luntowski, Westpreußische Wanderungen, 63–6. Schütte noted that this practice had already been instated in the 1830s. Luntowski observed that it continued at the time of his writing.

113 Quoted in Luntowski, Westpreußische Wanderungen, 78. Friedrich II had also recognized this goal, seeking to inculcate in “the common man . . . a Prussian character” by releasing Polish peasants from serfdom (although he did not accomplish this in his lifetime). He also hoped that a few diligent German farmers and schoolmasters, through their interactions with the Poles, would be able to enlighten the locals. We should be clear, however, his project was a “civilizing,” not a Germanizing, one. Hagen, Germans, Poles, and Jews, 43–44.

114 Schmitt, Land und Leute in Westpreußen; Wernicke, Wanderung durch die Tucheler Heide, 34–36; Wagner, Die preussische Verwaltung des Regierungsbezirks Marienwerder, 102–109.

115 Borne, “Die Oedlands-Ankäufe und Aufforstungen,” 404.

116 Mühlradt, Ein Besuch in Grüntal, 17–18.

117 Ziesemer, Johann, Die Provinzen Ost- und Westpreußen (Berlin: W. Spemann, 1901), 12; Schütte, Die Tucheler Haide, 44.

118 Schütte, Die Tucheler Haide, 48.

119 Saekel, , “Aus der Tucheler Heide,” Deutsche Forstzeitung (1906): 438439.

120 Wagner, Hermann, “Die Land- und Forstwirtschaft,” in Die deutsche Ostmark, ed. Ostmarkenverein, Deutsche (Lissa: Eulitz, 1913), 328.

121 U. H. Wagner, Die preussische Verwaltung des Regierungsbezirks Marienwerder, 102–103.

122 In 1892, there were about 136 foresters working in the heath. See Borne, “Die Oedlands-Ankäufe und Aufforstungen,” 406; Schütte, Die Tucheler Haide, 44; Wernicke, Wanderung durch die Tucheler Heide, 12; Luntowski, Westpreußische Wanderungen, 61; Ziesemer, Die Provinzen Ost- und Westpreußen, 12.

123 The county of Tuchel, almost entirely covered by the heath, contained only 27,000 inhabitants in 1878. See Nachweisung über den Ankauf und die Aufforstung von Ländereien im Interesse der Landeskultur (Regierungsbezirk Marienwerder, September 17, 1878), G.StA.-P.K., I HA Rep. 87D, Nr. 2412.

124 Paul Langhans, “Karte der Tätigkeit der Ansiedlungskommission fuer die Provinz Westpreußen und Posen, 1886–1896,” Petermanns Geographische Mitteilungen (1896): table 9.

125 Bericht über die Verwaltung und den Stand der Angelegenheiten des Kreises Tuchel für das Rechnungsjahr 1896/7 (Tuchel: n.p., 1897), 6.

126 Balzer, Die preußische Polenpolitik, 231.

127 Report on the meeting of the Staatsministerium, June 8, 1904, G.StA.-P.K., I HA Rep. 87ZB, Nr. 152, b.93–94. Podbielski had a reputation as a zealous enemy of the Poles. In his previous position as Imperial Post Master General, Podbielski refused to allow the delivery of mail using Polish place names instead of German (or Germanized) ones. See records relating to Podbielski's libel case against the Polish publisher Casimir von Rakowski, G.StA.-P.K., I HA Rep. 87ZB, Nr. 368, b.53–58.

128 Neubach, Helmut, “Reichstagswahlen 1881 in Westpreußen,” Westpreußen Jahrbuch 31 (1981): 121126; Jähning, Bernhart, “Die Bevölkerung Westpreußens um 1900,” Westpreußen Jahrbuch 42 (1992): 1620.

129 Jähning, “Die Bevölkerung Westpreußens um 1900,” 16–20.

130 Wierzchoslawski, Szczepan, Polski Ruch Narodowy w Prusach Zachodnich w Latach 1860–1914 (Warsaw: Polska Akademia Nauk, 1980), 73, 131, 187. At the same time, the Prussian three-class voting system likewise returned improving results for German parties. In the 1903 Landtag elections, for example, left liberals won in the urban centers (Danzig, Elbing, Thorn), while National Liberals, Free Conservatives, and Conservatives succeeded in the countryside (indeed, a National Liberal represented the Polish bastion of Tuchel in the heart of the heath). No Center delegates managed to win a seat in the provincial delegation, owing to the small number of German Catholics, and the Poles only managed to win a few seats. See Report from the Ministry of the Interior (Anlage zu Ib. 4668) on the Ansiedlungskommission, G.StA.-P.K., I HA Rep. 87B, Nr. 9694.

131 Wernicke, Wanderung durch die Tucheler Heide, 12.

132 Schütte, Die Tucheler Haide, 44.

133 “Summarische Nachweisung über die bei der Staatsforstverwaltung vorgekommenen Erkrankungen von Arbeitern . . . 1900,” Sammlung der Druckschriften des Preußischen Hauses der Abgeordneten, 19. Legislaturperiode, IV. Session, 1902, vol. II (Berlin: W. Moeser, 1902).

134 Meeting of the Staatsministerium, June 8, 1904, G.StA.-P.K., I HA Rep. 87ZB, Nr. 152, b.93–94; G.StA.-P.K., I HA Rep. 87ZB, Nr. 368, b.53–58.

135 Speech by Łosiński in Prussian Abgeordnetenhaus, February 13, 1907, 640–641, Landesarchiv Berlin, STA Rep. 01–02, Nr. 1814, b.40.

136 Schütte, Die Tucheler Haide, 47–48.

137 Borne, “Die Oedlands-Ankäufe und Aufforstungen,” 399–401. Borne's proposal received the endorsement of Conservative West Prussian Landtag delegate Bernhard von Puttkamer-Plauth in the 1897 forestry budget debate. See speech by Puttkamer-Plauth, Prussian Abgeordnetenhaus, March 8, 1897, 1399–1400.

138 Borne, “Die Oedlands-Ankäufe und Aufforstungen,” 405–406.

139 Luntowski, Westpreußische Wanderungen, 81.

140 Ziesemer, Die Provinzen Ost- und Westpreußen, 12.

141 Mühlradt, Ein Besuch in Grüntal, 80. Not everyone saw migrant labor as a necessarily bad thing. Schütte noted that the money sent home by girls working in domestic service infused needed cash into the local economy, and while they sometimes returned home pregnant and averse to agricultural labor, they also gained a solid knowledge of the German language and expanded their horizons. See Schütte, Die Tucheler Haide, 47.

142 Denkschrift betreffend die Ergebnisse der Forstverwaltung im Regierungsbezirk Marienwerder in den Jahren 1901, 1902 und 1903, 5.

143 Wernicke, Wanderung durch die Tucheler Heide, 12.

144 Luntowski, Westpreußische Wanderungen, 81–86.

145 Sohnrey, Heinrich, “Der Zug vom Lande,” Das Land 1 (1893): 192193.

146 Schütte, Die Tucheler Haide, 47–48.

147 Wernicke, Wanderung durch die Tucheler Heide, 34–36.

148 Johannes Mühlradt, “Die Tucheler Heide in Wort und Bild” in Beurteilung der Presse, 14.

149 Luntowski, Westpreußische Wanderungen, 67–70.

150 Mühlradt, Ein Besuch in Grüntal, vol. I, 37 and 101.

151 Ibid., 242 and 171.

152 Schütte, Die Tucheler Haide, 44.

153 Saekel, “Aus der Tucheler Heide,” 438–439. Such assessments were not limited to the impoverished heath. In 1907, an author describing the achievements of Prussia's Polish policy wrote “earlier one was able to recognize even at a great distance which village or house was Polish and which was German. This has completely changed. The Poles have become diligent, thrifty, and sober.” Hugo Ganz, Die Preußische Polenpolitik (1907), cited in Rosenthal, Harry K., German and Pole: National Conflict and Modern Myth (Gainesville: University Presses of Florida, 1976), 44.

154 Mühlradt, Ein Besuch in Grüntal, 39–44.

155 Steinert, Oliver, “Reichstagwahlen und Nationalitätenkonflikt. Eine Untersuchung anhand der Wahlergebnisse zwischen 1871 und 1912 im Regierungsbezirk Marienwerder,” Beiträge zur Geschichte Westpreußens 16 (1999): 125219.

156 For further accounts of resistance during the war, see Zybajło, Wiktor, “Ruch oporu w Borach Tucholskich w latach I wojny światowej,” Szkice Człuchowskie 2, no. 2/6 (1991/1996): 6672; and the reports in G.StA.-P.K., XIV HA Rep. 180, Nr. 19181.

157 Busdorf, Otto, “Der Schrecken der Tucheler Heide,” in Jahrhundertmorde. Kriminalgeschichte aus erster Hand, ed. Heiss, Peter and Lunzer, Christian (Vienna: Edition S, 1994): 198218.

158 Liulevicius, Vejas Gabriel, War Land on the Eastern Front: Culture, National Identity, and German Occupation in World War I (Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press, 2000).

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Central European History
  • ISSN: 0008-9389
  • EISSN: 1569-1616
  • URL: /core/journals/central-european-history
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Related content

Powered by UNSILO

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed