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Challenge

Ostbalticum

The region which is the focus of Project Ostbalticum was ravaged not only by the war. In its wake came a planned and deliberate destruction designed to erase the character of the territory which after the war found itself within new borders. In would seem in retrospect that this post-war devastation was located in the northern fragment of former East Prussia which after 1945 became a province of USSR (and subsequently, of the Russian Federation).

The fate of Königsberg was sealed and its past is now only partly discernible in the townscape of the modern capital city of the Kaliningrad Oblast. The tragedy of Königsberg does not in any way detract from that of Warsaw or Lviv (Lwów) but it is an illustration of a wider phenomenon typical for the region under discussion: the city was bombed during the war and was plundered after the war, finally, it was remodelled according to a new blueprint. A similar scenario was put into effect at other locations where, as a result of consistent action, many elements of material culture and spiritual legacy were obliterated. This is demonstrated particularly well (on Prussian territory) by the fate of the Albertina (Albertus-Universität Königsberg) – famous university of Königsberg – and the equally renowned Prussia-Museum. Both these institutions had had a strong impact on the outlook of intellectual life, and the community developed around them helped to shape the outlook of elites everywhere in the region. But the war and its aftermath destroyed both the social tissue and (to a great extent) the material potential of this world.

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  • The Polish Army Museum plundered by the Wehrmacht during the Warsaw Rising in 1944 (R. Matuszewski, J. Koziomor 2007, 53).
  • The Polish Army Museum plundered by the Wehrmacht during the Warsaw Rising in 1944 (R. Matuszewski, J. Koziomor 2007, 53).
  • The ruins of Königsberg Castle in 1969. (A. Valuev 2008, Fig. 1).
  • The ruins of Königsberg Castle in 1969 (A. Valuev 2008, Fig. 2).
  • A case with items surviving from the collections of the Prussia-Museum, 1990. (Ch. Reich, W. Menghin 2008, Fig. 2).
  • A case with archival material surviving from the Prussia-Museum, 1990. (Ch. Reich, W. Menghin 2008, Fig. 3).
  • Tenkieten. Pieces surviving from the collections of Prussia-Museum. Now in Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte in Berlin (Ch. Reich, W. Menghin 2008, Fig. 5).
  • Caspar Hennenberger’s map of Prussia – 17th century edition (T. Nowakiewicz 2008, Fig. 1).

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