Steinort is a European place of remembrance, because it is a place where the most diverse stories and memories intersect, intertwine, and overlap. The interview project by Ulla Lachauer and Agata Kern explores these subjective strands of memory and reveals a number of different cultures of remembrance.

The whole of Eastern Europe is a kind of Pompeii. This Pompeii fascinates not only those who have lost their homeland, but also those who have had it returned to them and are reassimilating here.1

“The historical landscapes, the old and the new, superimposed and reflected in each other, are now invested with a double richness. The old transitional landscapes, where conflicts were complicated and often deadly, are now becoming visible. Almost everywhere we get to see not just one story, but, if we are attentive enough, at least two. Everything exists twice and three times: the
deu. Riesengebirge, ces. Krkonoše, pol. Karkonosze

The Krkonoše Mountains are a mountain range in the Polish and Czech part of Silesia. The highest peak of the Krkonoše Mountains is the Schneppe (Polish: Śnieżka, Czech: Sněžka) at 1603 meters.

deu. Danzig

Gdansk is a large city on the Baltic Sea in the Polish Pomeranian Voivodeship (Pomorskie) with about 470,000 inhabitants. It is lying on the Motława River (German: Mottlau) on the Gdansk Bay.

Historische Orte
deu. Königsberg, rus. Калинингра́д

Kaliningrad is a city in today's Russia. It is located in the Kaliningrad oblast, a Russian exclave between Lithuania and Poland. Kaliningrad, formerly Königsberg, belonged to Prussia for several centuries and was the northeasternmost major city.

, Masuria,
deu. Prag, eng. Prague, lat. Praga

Prague is the capital of the Czech Republic and is inhabited by about 1.3 million people, which also makes it the most populated city in the country. It is on the river Vltava in the center of the country in the historical part of Bohemia.

deu. Brünn

Located in the southeastern part of the Czech Republic, Brno (tsch. Brno) is the second largest city in the country after Prague, with a population of about 380,000. It replaced Olomouc as the capital of Moravia in 1641. Today Brno is the administrative seat of the South Moravian Region (Jihomoravský kraj) and an important industrial, commercial and cultural center. The university city is the seat of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Administrative Court of the Czech Republic.

, the
lat. Balticum, deu. Baltikum, deu. Baltische Staaten, deu. Baltische Provinzen

The Baltic States is a region in the north-east of Europe and is composed of the three states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The Baltic States are inhabited by almost 6 million people.

. The historical layers that are coming to light now make these places Europe’s most culturally rich treasuries.”2
The interview project initiated and carried out by Ulla Lachauer and Agata Kern around
deu. Steinort, deu. Groß Steinort

The village of Sztynort is located in the north of the Masurian Lake District on the Jez Peninsula between Jezioro Mamry, Jezioro Dargin and Jezioro Dobskie. Until 1928 the village was called Groß Steinort, then Steinort.

makes precisely this "mixedness" visible, by uncovering the intertwining and interlocking of the various stories. On the one hand, there is the memory of Count Heinrich von Lehndorff and his family, which is not infrequently a wistfully melancholy and romanticizing one. With Heinrich Graf von Lehndorff, who participated in the assassination attempt of July 20, 1944, and was executed in Ploetzensee on September 4, 1944, Steinort has inscribed itself not only in the topography of loss, but also in the map of German resistance history. The story of the resistance fighter, however, also camouflages the shadowy side of a German noble family, as Hans-Jürgen Bömelburg elaborates in his article. This exists alongside the all too easily idealized, almost rapturous view of the history of a large East Prussian estate with its castle and parks, which under the previous owner Count Carl Meinhard (Carol) von Lehndorff had in fact been quite run down prior to 1936 and was restored by Heinrich von Lehndorff.3
The following articles look at the history and present day of the village of Sztynort, starting with the world of the Lehndorffs, the noble Steinort family. Some benefit from a detached historical perspective, others are rich in nostalgia. Biographies spanning three generations are told personally and lovingly – by the people themselves or others. The interviews with the Lehndorff sisters, with Hanna Schygulla and Hans-Eckhardt Wenzel, for example, stand as important testimonies to the acts of remembering, experiencing and looking back on vanished worlds, and have in turn become important testimonies and sources of post-war remembrance culture.
Secondly, there are memories of the later, post-war history of the Steinort estate, which, for example, focus on the kindergarten in Steinort Castle and, above all, on the arrival and integration of the Polish population after 1945. When Maria Zarębska speaks of Lehndorff, who was also present in narratives of the postwar years, the focus is not on the resistance fighter, but on the hegemonic role of the noble family and its head at the time: "He was a count, they said, very rich, and he owned many people."
The third chapter of Steinort history is probably that of the reconstruction work that has taken place since the turn of the millennium. It is the story of enthusiasts like Bettina Bouresh, Wolfram Jäger, Hannah Wadle or Marek Makowski and Piotr Wagner. Certainly, a romantic view also plays a role here, but what prevails is the sense of a shared desire to develop Steinort into a meeting place of Germans and Poles, where the diverse stories of the place are held.
The interview project has uncovered these diverse layers of Steinort's history. Hopefully it will contribute to making Steinort a living place of exchange and encounter, where people can engage with European history and stories in all their complexity. Last but not least, it is to be hoped that Steinort will indeed become a European place of remembrance with high identity relevance for various European societies.4 
English translation: William Connor

Siehe auch