Abschwangen massacre

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Abschwangen (now Tishino, in Pravdinsky District) was a small village near Preussisch Eylau in East Prussia some 30 km south of Königsberg, today Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia and the scene of a massacre of German civilians in August 1914.

Prelude[edit]

After Russian troops started their first World War I offensive in East Prussia in August 1914, they reached the small village of Abschwangen on August 27, 1914 without struggle, and marched through. On August 29, 1914 a German Cavalry reconnaissance unit of four soldiers came to the unoccupied village, confronted a Russian car crossing through and opened fire on this automobile. One Russian officer, a member of the Trubetskoy family, was killed, and the car returned to the village of Almenhausen (now Kashtanovo), some 5 km east of Abschwangen.

The massacre[edit]

After the return of the car to Almenhausen, the Russian troops executed nine civilians (Mayor Prang, Farmer Stadie, Hermann Marienberg and six unknown refugees), who were by chance standing next to them and burned down 70 buildings out of 81 existing houses. At the same time some other troops marched to Abschwangen, where they started to execute the male inhabitants and burned down houses and farm buildings. In Abschwangen 78 buildings out of 101 existing were destroyed. During the massacre, 65 people (28 locals, 37 refugees from southern East Prussia) were killed:

  • from Abschwangen: Brüderlein, Fritz; Dombrowski, Fritz; Dunkel, Franz; Eggert, Johanna; Freimuth, Karl; Friedel, Walter; Frisch, Hermann; Gendatis, Franz; Großmann, August; Heinrich, Richard; Hochwald, Albert; Judel, Lina; Kemmer, Julius; Kösling, Friedrich; Krause, Ernst; Küßner, Karl; Lange, Christoph; Naujoks, Friedrich; Oppermann, Albert; Packheiser, Gustav; Regotzki, Karl; Riemann, August; Riemann, Franz; Riemann, Karl; Rosenbaum, Franz; Schröder, Friedrich; Waschkau, Gottfried; Witt, Elisabeth;
  • from Allenau: Burblies, Gustav; Hinz, Friedrich; Hinz, Karl; Reimer, Albert;
  • from Bönkeim: Barteleit, Johanna;
  • from Böttchersdorf: Gawlick, Richard; Gawlick, Rudolf; Hensel, Franz;
  • from Budweitschen: Schippel, Wilhelm; Willuhn, Karl;
  • from Darkehmen: Forstreuter, Karl;
  • from Dettmitten: Arndt, Franz; Arndt, Wilhelm; Arnswald, Otto; Ewert, Friedrich; Grube, Richard; Mischke, Friedrich; Naujok, Gustav; Petschkuhn, Karl; Petschkuhn, Otto;
  • from Dommelkeim: Nelson, Emil;
  • from Korschen: Diester, Ewald;
  • from Kortmedien: Görke, Ernst; Holz, Ernst; Motzkau, Gustav; Saul, Gustav; Schirrmacher, Johann; Schoen, Gustav;
  • from Langendorf: Czibold, Fritz; Dudda, Michael; Marwinski, Paul; Rogowski, Christian; Wicesanski, Michael;
  • from Löwenhagen: Hollstein, Leopold;
  • from Schlangen: Marquardt, Bernhard
  • one Unidentified;

Aftermath[edit]

Due to the German success at the Battle of Tannenberg, Russian troops retreated from the Abschwangen region, and the village was recaptured without a struggle by German troops on September 3, 1914. A memorial was built to the 74 killed civilians in 1924, but it, like the whole village, was destroyed during World War II in 1945.

References[edit]

  • Horst Schulz, Preußisch Eylau - eine Kreisstadt in Ostpreußen, Lübeck 1998 (German)
  • Horst Schulz, Der Kreis Preußisch Eylau, Verden 1983 (German)