Heinrich Dusemer

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Heinrich Dusemer von Arfberg (died 1353 in Bratian) was the 21st Grand Master of the Teutonic Knights, serving from 1345 to 1351.

Dusemer hailed from Swabia and joined the Teutonic Order in 1311. As a young knight he fought against the Lithuanians. Legend has it that he frequently would duel with Grand Duke Vytenis. Owing to his bravery and fighting prowess, he advanced in the Order's hierarchy quickly.

In 1318 he becomes a member of a convent on a castle in Labiau and in 1329 Komtur of Ragnit. In 1333 he became the Vogt of Sambia and in 1334 the Komtur of Brandenburg (Frisches Haff). A year later, Dusemer became the Grand Marshal and the Komtur of Königsberg. In 1339 he came into conflict with Grand Master Dietrich von Altenburg and as a punishment was degraded. He was sent to Strasburg where he took over the komturship. He was reinstated by the next Grand Master, Ludolf König.

On 13 December 1345, the Order's capitulum in Marienburg chose Dusemer as the next Grand Master, as after several defeats the Order needed someone with battlefield experience. Shortly after being chosen the Grand Master, Dusemer retaliated and attacked Lithuania in a campaign which ended with a total victory over the Lithuanian army by the Strawa River on 2 February 1348.

The planned conquest of Lithuania had to be averted, however, as the Black Death had reached Prussia and forced Dusemer to withdraw his army from the conquered lands. Although the Order was able to regroup afterward, Dusemer decided to resign as the Grand Master. After Winrich von Kniprode was named as his replacement, Dusemer settled in Brattian where he did not hold any important functions.

Dusemer died in 1353 in Bratian and was buried in the Marienburg Castle in a mausoleum under the Chapel of St. Anna.


  • Friedrich Borchert: "Die Hochmeister des Deutschen Ordens in Preußen." In: Preußische Allgemeine Zeitung, 6 October 2001.

Grand Master of the Teutonic Order
Preceded by
Ludolf König
Succeeded by
Winrich von Kniprode