Ludwig Kasner

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Ludwik Marian Kaźmierczak in Polish Blue Army uniform, with then-fiancée Margarethe

Ludwig Kasner ( Ludwik Marian Kaźmierczak; Posen (Poznań), German Empire, 28 October 1896 – 1959, Berlin) was a German[1] policeman of Polish ethnicity[2][3][4] who worked with the Berlin Police. He was the paternal grandfather of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose birth name Kasner had been Germanized from Kaźmierczak by Ludwig Kasner in 1930.

In 2013 Ludwig Kasner received media attention in Poland and Germany after a new book shed light on Angela Merkel's family background. This was not only due to Kasner's being of Polish origin, but also because Kasner's nephew had provided a photograph of him in the uniform of the Polish Blue Army (also known as "Haller's Army") which had fought for Poland's independence in the late stages of World War I.[5][6][7]

Life[edit]

Ludwig Kasner was born out of wedlock to Ludwik Wojciechowski and Anna Kaźmierczak (1867–1943), ethnic Poles and citizens of the German Empire from Posen (now Poznań, Poland). His mother was the daughter of Bartłomiej Kaźmierczak (born 1828) and Apolonia Bielejewicz (1826-1903). The Kaźmierczak name derives from Jan Kaźmierczak, an 18th-century Pole from the Poznań area.

In 1915, during World War I, Ludwig was drafted into the German Army and fought on the western front before being taken prisoner of war in France. He subsequently joined the Polish Blue Army, which fought for Polish independence on the side of the Entente Powers; it is not known whether he took part in fighting against Germany.[8] With the Blue Army, he returned to Poland to fight in the Polish-Ukrainian War and the Polish-Soviet War.[9]

After returning from war, in the aftermath of the Treaty of Versailles, Ludwig opted for German citizenship and relocated to Berlin, the hometown of his fiancée Margarethe.[10] He worked in the Berlin Police, last in Berlin's Pankow district, and was promoted twice, reaching the rank of Hauptwachtmeister ("chief watch master", the most senior constable rank). In 1926 their son Horst Kaźmierczak was born.

In 1930 the family Germanized their surname from Kaźmierczak to Kasner.[11] They still kept in touch with the Polish side of the family, visiting them in Poznań several times in the 1930s and receiving visits in Berlin from Polish relatives. Despite the surname change, Ludwig Kasner's nephew Zygmunt Rychlicki said Kasner always stayed true to his Polish roots.[12]

Ludwig Kasner was raised a Catholic, but in the 1930s the family converted to Lutheranism, and his son became a Protestant pastor.[13]

Even before the 2013 media reports about Ludwig Kasner, Angela Merkel had said in 1995 that one of her grandfathers was originally from Poland; and in 2000 she had reiterated that she was one-quarter Polish.[14]

Ancestry[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kornelius, Stefan (2013). Angela Merkel: The Authorized Biography. Richmond: Alma Books. p. 14. ISBN 978-1846883071. 
  2. ^ Stefan Kornelius (10 September 2013). "Six things you didn't know about Angela Merkel". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 10 September 2013. Retrieved 29 October 2013. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Kornelius, Stefan (2013). Angela Merkel: The Authorized Biography. Richmond: Alma Books. p. 14. ISBN 978-1846883071. 
  5. ^ Polnische Erregung über Angela Merkels Herkunft, Die Welt
  6. ^ All in the Family: Chancellor Merkel's Heritage Pleases Poles, Der Spiegel
  7. ^ Merkel's Polish roots emerge in new book, The Local
  8. ^ Schuller, Konrad (22 March 2013). "Großvaters Krieg". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Retrieved 29 April 2014. 
  9. ^ Dziadek Angeli Merkel był w armii Hallera. Walczył z Niemcami? Gazeta Wyborcza (Poznań), 23 March 2013
  10. ^ Kornelius, Stefan (2013). Angela Merkel: The Authorized Biography. Richmond: Alma Books. p. 14. ISBN 978-1846883071. 
  11. ^ Kornelius, Stefan (2013). Angela Merkel: The Authorized Biography. Richmond: Alma Books. p. 14. ISBN 978-1846883071. 
  12. ^ The German chancellor's Polish roots, DW
  13. ^ Six things you didn't know about Angela Merkel, The Guardian
  14. ^ Kanzlerin Angela Merkel ist zu einem Viertel Polin, Die Welt

Literature[edit]