The period of Prussian rule in Warsaw has traditionally received little attention and is usually interpreted as an early climax of Prussian-German expansionism in Poland. Yet it was also a time when, under the influence of the Enlightenment, a number of important educational initiatives developed in the city.
"Without doubt, Warsaw is a gathering place for revolutionary and evil people who receive their direction from abroad and especially from France."1  With these words, in early 1797, the Prussian minister Heinrich von Buchholtz, himself a long-time resident of the former Polish capital, concluded his exhortation for stronger control of public security in Warsaw. The city had become Prussian two years earlier as a result of the last of the three partitions of Poland-Lithuania partitions of Poland-Lithuania In the course of three partitions in 1772, 1793 and 1795, Poland-Lithuania was divided between the Russian Empire, Prussia and the Habsburg Monarchy and disappeared from the political map of Europe as a sovereign state until 1918. . But it was not without reason that the partitioning powers were worried about a Polish revolution on the
pol. Wisła, deu. Weichsel

The Vistula is the longest river in Poland. Its headwaters are the Czarna Wisełka (Little Black Vistula) and the Biała Wisełka (Little White Vistula), whose sources are located in the Silesian Beskids, at the mountain Barania Góra. After 1,048 longitude, the Vistula flows into the Baltic Sea east of Gdansk (Vistula Delta or Vistula-Nogat Delta). The large catchment area of the Vistula also extends to parts of Belarus, Ukraine and Slovakia.

,2  as the French revolutionary armies had just won unexpected victories on the battlefields of the Rhine and in northern Italy. While Józef Wybicki was writing "Poland is Not Yet Lost" (Polish: Jeszcze Polska nie umarła)3 in exile in Italy, many of the remaining republicans in Warsaw were hoping for a rapid advance of the young Napoleon into Central Europe.4  Buchholtz therefore complained how, in the city, where the constitution of May 3, 1791 constitution of May 3, 1791 The Konstytucja trzeciego maja, adopted by the Quadrennial Sejm (1788-1792), Poland's parliamentary assembly, is considered the first modern constitution in Europe. Aligned with the ideas of the Enlightenment, it aimed at a comprehensive modernization of the Polish-Lithuanian state. had been adopted a few years earlier, a rabble was wreaking havoc, including “many who quite openly show themselves to be Jacobin-minded [...] as well as a large number of Frenchmen and foreigners of low status, who stir up the common people out of sheer malice."5
From the center to the periphery
In fact, Warsaw had benefited from the developments of the Enlightenment and, from the middle of the 18th century, had flourished into a lively European metropolis. The city had also grown rapidly, contrary to the general Polish trend,6  and by 1790 it had a population of over 100,000,7  which was roughly the size of Hamburg or Venice. Under 
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth
lit. Abiejų Tautų Respublika, pol. Rzeczpospolita Obojga Narodów, deu. Polen-Litauen, deu. Erste Polnische Republik, lat. Respublica Poloniae, pol. Korona Polska i Wielkie Księstwo Litewskie, lat. Res Publica Utriusque Nationis, deu. Republik beider Völker

As early as 1386, the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania were united by a personal union. Poland-Lithuania existed as a multi-ethnic state and a great power in Eastern Europe from 1569 to 1795. In the state, also called Rzeczpospolita, the king was elected by the nobles.

's last king Stanisław August Poniatowski, modern educational institutions such as the Cadet School (Polish: Szkoła Rycerska) were established, where a new generation of political and military elites was trained.8  However, as a result of the events of 1794 and 1795 – the failed uprising led by the school's most famous graduate Tadeusz Kościuszko, in which the citizens of Warsaw also took a lively part,9  and the subsequent Third Partition of Poland – the city found itself reduced to a provincial town virtually overnight: Warsaw now became part of the province of South Prussia South Prussia The province of South Prussia was formed from areas of the Second and Third Partitions of Poland and essentially comprised the historical region of Wielkopolska. The western part of the province became part of Prussia again after 1815 as the Grand Duchy of Posen. , only a few kilometers from the border to Austrian territory.10  This new location on the eastern periphery of the Hohenzollern Monarchy came at a price: traditional economic ties were cut, and the political importance of the former capital and royal seat, which lost more than a quarter of its population, was reduced to that of a medium-sized administrative center.
While many disappointed supporters of Polish independence and especially most of the magnates magnates The traditional ruling class of the Polish-Lithuanian noble republic were called magnates, as in Hungary. Formally on a par with the very numerous other nobility (szlachta), they characteristically had enormous power and large property holdings. left Warsaw during this period, Prussian military and civil servants moved in and occupied former palaces such as the Krasiński Palace. The city was still scarred by the failed uprising against the partition powers: In the Praga district on the right bank of the Vistula, Russian troops had massacred the civilian population on November 4, 1794, a large number of intellectuals had gone into exile, and cultural life had come to a standstill. After a few years of increased police activity, however, the Prussian occupiers soon turned out to be the lesser of two evils for many: censorship was less strictly enforced than in the Austrian partition11  and the new administration under the provincial minister Otto von Voß showed a definite interest in reshaping the educational landscape in accordance with the principles of the Enlightenment. At a time when Berlin was becoming one of the most vital cities in Europe with a lively intellectual and social life, there were promising signs that a cultural revival on a small scale would also be possible in Prussia's second largest city on the banks of the Vistula.
Culture and education in the shadow of the black eagle
Probably the most lasting result of this development was the “Warsaw Society of Friends of Science” (Polish: Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Nauk, French: Société Littéraire), which was founded in 1800. Its founding members included renowned Polish Enlightenment thinkers such as Bishop Jan Chrzciciel Albertrandi, publicist Stanisław Staszic, and Jan Śniadecki, who later became rector of the University of
deu. Wilna, rus. Вильнюс, rus. Wilnjus, yid. ווילנע, yid. Wilne, bel. Вільня, bel. Wilnja, pol. Wilno

Vilnius is the capital and most populous city of Lithuania. It is located in the southeastern part of the country at the mouth of the eponymous Vilnia (also Vilnelė) into the Neris. Probably settled as early as the Stone Age, the first written record dates back to 1323; Vilnius received Magdeburg city rights in 1387. From 1569 to 1795 Vilnius was the capital of the Lithuanian Grand Duchy in the Polish-Lithuanian noble republic. It lost this function in the Russian Tsarist Empire with the third partition of Poland-Lithuania. It was not until the establishment of the First Lithuanian Republic in 1918 that Vilnius briefly became the capital again. Between 1922 and 1940 Vilnius belonged to the Republic of Poland, so Kaunas became the capital of Lithuania. After the Second World War, Vilnius was the capital of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic until Lithuania regained its independence in 1990.

Already in the Middle Ages Vilnius was considered a center of tolerance. Jews in particular found refuge from persecution in Vilnius, so that Vilnius soon made a name for itself as the "Jerusalem of the North". Not least with the Goan of Vilnius, Elijah Ben Salomon Salman (1720-1797), Vilnius was one of the most important centers of Jewish education and culture. By the turn of the century, the largest population group was Jewish, while according to the first census in the Russian Tsarist Empire in 1897, only 2% belonged to the Lithuanian population group. From the 16th century onwards, numerous Baroque churches were built, which also earned the city the nickname "Rome of the East" and which still characterize the cityscape today, while the city's numerous synagogues were destroyed during the Second World War. Between 1941 and 1944 the city was under the so-called Reichskommissariat Ostland. During this period almost the entire Jewish population was murdered, only a few managed to escape.

Even today, the city bears witness to a "fantastic fusion of languages, religions and national traditions" (Tomas Venclova) and maintains its multicultural past and present.

. Among other things, they engaged with historical, linguistic, and literary issues and pursued and promoted the preservation of history and culture with recourse to antiquity.12  Within a short time, the most important intellectuals of the time had joined the Society, which expanded its circle in the following years and welcomed many new members from abroad, including none other than Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. After initial skepticism, especially on the part of the military, the authorities officially approved its founding in the summer of 1802, arguing that a ban would not be in keeping with political practice in the old Prussian provinces and would only "betray fear" and "breed bitterness”.13  The South Prussian provincial minister von Voß was quite willing to allow his new subjects to hold onto the memory of a Polish past if it helped to promote culture and science in "his" province.
Despite this pragmatic attitude, which sought to achieve a balance in Warsaw society, the old and new inhabitants of the city pursued very different lifestyles from one another, and their coexistence was not always harmonious. This is evidenced, for example, by the failure of the initiative of the famous theater director Wojciech Bogusławski to establish a German-Polish theater due to insufficient public interest. In other areas of social life, however, a Polish-Prussian rapprochement could be observed: For example, the newly established Musical Society flourished, partly due to the commitment of the young E.T.A. Hoffmann, who had been a civil servant in the city since 1804.14  In introducing new reform measures, the Prussian administration put less emphasis on prohibitions, preferring to promote individual flagship projects, which meant that a characteristic coexistence of "state" and private institutions also occurred in the educational landscape. According to a report from the Warsaw Chamber Warsaw Chamber Like Posen and Kalisch, Warsaw was the seat of one of the three South Prussian War and Domain Chambers. As the highest administrative authority at the provincial level, it was responsible, among other things, for the Catholic school system, which, unlike the Protestant system, was not coordinated centrally from Berlin. in 1803, there were no fewer than 80 private educational institutes for both sexes in the city,15  in addition to various church institutions. Carl Friedrich Fischer, the official responsible for the school system, criticized their tendency to "inculcate in the young Poles the light and pleasing mannerisms of French culture in order to make them all the more pleasant as members of society”.16
The Royal Lyceum as a reflection of Warsaw society
One man who embodied the alliance between the cultural efforts of Polish intellectuals and the initiatives of the authorities like no other was Samuel Gottlieb Linde (Polish: Samuel Bogumił Linde). Born in
deu. Thorn

Toruń is a Polish metropolitan and university city with almost 200,000 inhabitants and, together with Bydgoszcz (German: Bromberg), one of the two capitals of the Polish voivodeship of Kujawsko-Pomorskie (Polish: województwo kujawsko-pomorskie).

Toruń is situated in the historical landscape of the Kulmerland. Founded in the High Middle Ages under the Teutonic Order, the city joined the Hanseatic League in the 14th century. In the 15th century the city, like the rest of Kulmerland, Pomerelia or Warmia, fell to the Kingdom of Poland. In the course of the first partition of Poland-Lithuania in 1772, Toruń became part of Brandenburg-Prussia and was part of the Prussian province of West Prussia until the 20th century.

Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) was born here.

in 1771 into a German-speaking Protestant family, he, like many of his contemporaries, defies modern national classification as "German" or "Polish." In the winter of 1803, Linde arrived in Warsaw for the second time in his life. He had already traveled to the Polish capital from Leipzig in the spring of 1794 to work on his project of producing a Polish dictionary Polish dictionary Samuel Gottlieb Linde's life's work was the comprehensive “Dictionary of the Polish Language” (Polish: Słownik języka polskiego), published in five volumes in Warsaw between 1807 and 1814. , but had left the city again after the defeat of the rebels in the fall and continued his work in the following years in Vienna under the patronage of the art lover Józef Maksymilian Ossoliński.17  Now, almost ten years later, Linde returned, but this time as the rector of a modern flagship educational institution. At that time, the Prussian administration was trying to reform the higher-level schools: The Piarist and former Jesuit schools were subjected to greater control and were to be transformed into Prussian grammar schools, which was not as successful in Warsaw as was hoped. Under the auspices of the tirelessly eager councilor Fischer, who regularly came into conflict with his superiors, the Royal Lyceum was finally established in the Saxon Palace Saxon Palace Originally built in the 17th century and rebuilt several times, the Saxon Palace served as the residence of Kings August II and August III of the House of Wettin until 1763. At the end of 1944 it was destroyed when the Nazis razed the city of Warsaw. and combined progressive pedagogical approaches with training in practical life skills.18
Under the leadership of Linde, who was well connected as a member of the Society of Friends of Science in Warsaw, the Lyceum flourished within a short time. Already in the first year, it had around 300 German and Polish-speaking students19  and teaching was carried out with a multi-lingual approach. Not only was the composition of the student population a reflection of Warsaw society at the time, but also the large number of subjects taught, which included, for example, modern and classical foreign languages, geography and history, and mathematics and science.20  Thus, the social changes of the time, characterized by growing differentiation and specialization, were projected directly into the classroom. At the ceremonial opening of the Lyceum, which took place on January 2, 1805, in the Summer Hall of the Saxon Palace, Stanisław Kostka Potocki praised the founding of the school as being of great benefit "for the education of youth, and the spread of light, science and reason"21  – though not without a rhetorically deft reference to the preliminary work of the Polish Commission for National Education Commission for National Education The Komisja Edukacji Narodowej came into being in 1773 after the dissolution of the Jesuit order. Endowed with its capital, it began extensive reforms such as unifying the school system, producing uniform textbooks, and enhancing of the attractiveness of the teaching profession. in the 1770s and 1780s. In fact, most of the members of the school board, including Potocki himself, had already been active as educational reformers in the earlier School and Education Commission. Thus, in a sense, the Warsaw Lyceum represented a combination of Prussian and Polish reform efforts.
Upheaval and continuity
When the first French soldiers entered Warsaw on November 27, 1806, and were greeted with flowers by cheering crowds, it was clear that political upheaval was once again imminent after barely a decade of Prussian rule.23  The Prussian military and most civil servants fled the city, but a few continued to work under the new rule. Under Napoleon's suzerainty, most of the Prussian partition territory was now amalgamated with the Duchy of Warsaw Duchy of Warsaw The Duchy of Warsaw was created in 1806/07 under French protection and was expanded in 1809 to include a large part of the Austrian partition territory. Virtually completely occupied from 1813 after the defeat of the Grande Armée in Russia, it officially continued to exist until 1815. , and new institutions emerged, such as the Chamber of Public Education (Polish: Izba Edukacji Publicznej), which enabled the supervisors of the Lyceum to pursue their reform efforts within a larger framework. The developments of the Prussian period certainly cast a long shadow in this regard: for example, the steps taken in the following years toward the founding of a university in Warsaw, which finally began operating in 1818, would hardly have been possible without the staff of the Lyceum, and many of the new scholars, like the history professor Feliks Bentkowski, had been trained at Prussian institutions.22  Most of the cultural institutions of Prussian Warsaw also proved to be astonishingly stable despite the politically turbulent times: the Musical Society continued to exist until 1818, and the Scientific Society only folded in 1831. The Lyceum played a particularly significant role in this cultural flourishing; as evidence of this, we need not look further than one of its graduates, who was soon to achieve world fame – the young Frédéric Chopin.