I have just returned from another trip to East Prussia … And once again I realized how much this land was harmed. First, by the “winners” in 1945, then by communist politics. New people were settled there. And they were settled against their will. The politics did everything to disable them to love the new land… The communist propaganda did that by spreading the shadows of the recent past…. So, the people still do not feel the land, they do not feel the history nor understand it…
As it often happens during our short holidays – this time also we were provided with not very accurate map. So we had to move a bit according to our senses, and according to our notes.
Reconciled with the fact that we will not get to the famous Juditten, we decided to visit a familiar-sounding … Judyty.
Judyty is a village situated about 6, maybe 7 kilometers (4,35 miles) from the border with the formation, known as Kaliningrad. After World War II the border interrupted the duration of this land’s old history and culture. Heartless policies condemned it to a place in class B, and maybe even C or D…
Judyty as a property belonged to the von Kunheim family since the 16th century. Among the more and less known of that name – a man called Georg appears to us in the 16th century (he was son of Georg and Margaretha von Truchsess Wetzhausen from Łankiejmy). He was born in Wehlau (known for the treaties).
In later life he found himself among the courtiers of Duke Albert of Königsberg. He was among his favorite courtiers, a trusted and valuable one. So much so, that when he fell ill, the Duke brought him a famous doctor – “particularly dear” doctor Nicholas Copernicus from Frombork.
Georg was the son in law of Dr. Martin Luther. How he won the hand of his youngest daughter, I do not know (yet), but I sense the influence of Katharina von Bora.
When Margaretha died, Georg married Dorothea von der Oelsnitz.
The goods belonging to von Kunheim – also included Judyty.
The palace remained in the hands of the family until World War II. It was here that in 1928 the later famous Eberhard von Kunheim was born. Today we would say of him that he had a difficult childhood: his father was killed in a car accident in 1935. A quiet gossip spread that it might have been a political accident. As he was not among the supporters of the new politics. Mother – according to all encyclopedias – pershed in one of the Soviet camps after the war. Often it can be read that the fact that his father was against the Nazis – might have helped Eberhard in becoming a student in post-war Germany. After some experience after his studies he joined the BMW. For more than 20 years he was a director and president, and later chaired the board of the company. The times of his “reign” there were called the Kuenheim Era.
In Judyty there also was one of the oldest Trakehner horse breeding stables.
The Trakehner horses are still bred in the nearby Liski. By now it is officially allowed to call this race by its old name … And this happened only in 2005 when the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development finally authorized the opening of Trakehner herd book in Poland. It is astonishing how much the so called officials are still afraid of the tradition…
Today, Judyty is not half as great as it used to be…
And these words apply to all the old estates in East Prussia. One can only remember family stories, about how once it all looked.
By the way – one can “meet” the Kunheim family here and there, going around the former East Prussia … For example in Ketrzyn (Rastembork) in the castle there is a portrait of John Ernest von Kunheim. Like most of the family – he too rested after his death in the family tomb in Sępopol.
As for the descendants of Georg and Margaretha de domo Luther, one will meet them when reading the history or should I say History… Hunting for genealogy of the von Eulenburgs – one can meet residents of Judyty … Also tracing the ancestry of Paul von Hindenburg we find the Kunheims …
And one more thing – only after I stared at the picture of palace – gloomy and dark – I noticed that the famous lions are still there!!!!! Both were purchased in 1889 and finally returned to the place few years ago. After the new owner of the palace a few years ago gave them to the studs in Liski the locals protested so much, that the lions were brought back where they belong.