Villa Martha, at 68 Hermsdorferstrasse, Bad Warmbrunn. Today it’s Cieplicka 68, Cieplice Śląskie-Zdrój, a part of Jelenia Góra. This address has popped up in your suggestions a few times, and I have to admit, I’m quite drawn to this villa as well, especially since we share a name.

Villa Martha currently / Fot. Marta Maćkowiak

Unfortunately, this time I didn’t find much – in the address books from 1927 and 1930, there’s mention of Marie Succo. In 1939, alongside her, now a widow, there’s also Ilse, webmeisterin (not a webmaster, but a weaver) with the same surname. Perhaps a daughter?

Archival photos of the building. On the left, a view from the garden side / Źródło: Polska-org

And that’s it. The trail has gone cold for now. At least I got some practice taking photos with the camera.

Contemporary view of the building / Fot. Marta Maćkowiak

Do any of you happen to know any stories about this building? Post-war tales are welcome too; feel free to share them in the comments!

Sources:

  • Polska-org pl

The Last Apartment at “Pod Lwem”

When I saw that advertisement, I couldn’t just pass by indifferently. Tiled stove, space, light, layout… One can only imagine how beautifully life must have been here once.

Interior of the building on Mornicka Street / Photo by Dudek Real Estate Agency

Morcinka Street in Jelenia Góra (Hirschberg) was originally known as Kirchhofweg, then changed its name to Friedhofstrasse in 1921, and finally Uhladstrasse from 1935. Before 1922, this area was a distinct village called Cunnersdorf.
 
As of 1916, records show that Drosdek, the owner of the Löwen Apotheke on the ground floor, resided here. Today, in the same location, there is still a pharmacy that pays homage to its former name, “Pod Lwem” (Under the Lion).

Historical view of the building / Source: Polska-org.pl

In that same building, there were residents like barber Meßner, Pastor Ratsch, and the Rosemann couple – Curt, a bank board member, and his wife Martha.

In 1939, Hermine Seidel still resided here along with legal trainee Werner Loecher, court inspector Georg Loechel, painter Paul Krause, pharmacist Odo Wanke, and, of course, Heinrich Drosdek, the owner of the pharmacy.

On July 28, 1928, 69-year-old Heinrich married 56-year-old widow Anna Luise Maria Pelz née Mannigel, originally from Nysa (Neisse). She was the daughter of merchant Richard Mannigel and Maria née Vietz. They shared 11 beautiful years together – unfortunately, on February 18, 1939, Anna Luise passed away due to diabetes and kidney failure.

Death certificate of Anna / Source: State Archives in Wrocław, Jelenia Góra branch

Heinrich lived here until his death. On July 22, 1944 his son, Dr. Walter Drosdek, a medical doctor, reported to the Civil Registry Office that his father, a Catholic and the son of the gunsmith Anton Drosdek and Katharina née Stanek, born on November 10, 1858, in Gliwice (Gleiwitz), had passed away on July 21, 1944, at 8 a.m., due to heart failure.

Death certificate of Heinrich / Source: State Archives in Wrocław, Jelenia Góra branch

And shortly after, both the apartments and the pharmacy changed ownership, marking a new chapter in the building’s history. Do you happen to know anything about the people who lived there after the war?
 
I hope this remarkable 160 m2 apartment finds a new owner who will give it a second chance at life.

Interior of the building on Mornicka Street / Photo by Dudek Real Estate Agency

Photos of the apartment: Dudek Real Estate Agency (Biuro Nieruchomości Dudek)

Źródła:

  • Polska-org pl
  • Archiwum Państwowe we Wrocławiu oddział w Jeleniej Górze (State Archives in Wrocław, Jelenia Góra branch)
  • Biuro Nieruchomości Dudek (Dudek Real Estate Agency)

Friedrich von Bernhardi – author of the book that started World War I and his villa in Jelenia Góra (Hirschberg)

I felt that someone exceptional lived in this house, but I did not expect that the pre-war owner of the villa at today’s ul. Tkacka 19 in Jelenia Góra (pre-war Warmbrunnerstrasse 104 in Cunnersdorf) would turn out to be the author of the book that supposedly triggered World War I.

Contemporary view of the villa formerly owned by Friedrich von Bernhardi / Photo by Marta Maćkowiak

The first German who passed through the Arc de Triomphe after the Prussians entered Paris. One of the most controversial German militarists. Friedrich von Bernhardi lived and died in Jelenia Góra (Hirschberg), specifically in Cunnersdorf, a village annexed to Hirschberg in 1922.

Friedrich Adam Julius von Bernhardi

Friedrich was born in St. Petersburg, Russia, on November 22, 1849, as the son of diplomat and historian Felix Theodor Bernhardi and Charlotte Friederike Julie (née Krusenstern), Baltic Germans. His maternal grandfather was Admiral Adam Johann Ritter von Krusenstern (Baltic Germans were recruited into the Russian administrative apparatus and the officer corps of the Russian army), the commander of the first Russian circumnavigation expedition and a co-founder of the Russian Geographical Society.
 
When Friedrich was 2 years old, the family moved to Cunnersdorf, an area known as the Little Post Office District in Jelenia Góra.

Friedrich’ s grandfather, Adam Johann Ritter von Krusenstern

During the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871), he served as a cavalry lieutenant in the 14th Hussar Regiment of the Prussian Army. At that time, he had the honor of leading the parade that marched under the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. From 1891 to 1894, he was a German military attaché in Bern, later the head of the military history department at the Great General Staff in Berlin, and then became a commanding general the VII Corps of the Army in Münster, Westphalia.
 
In 1909, he retired and devoted himself to writing, focusing on his favorite subject, which was military affairs.
 
His most famous work, Deutschland und der Nächste Krieg or Germany and the Next War, published in 1911, is considered a book that supposedly triggered World War I. In it, Bernhardi openly advocated for Germany to attack France and Britain, anticipating their moves.
 
Friedrich was also considered one of the most controversial militarists. He asserted, among other things, that war is a “biological necessity” and is in accordance with the “natural law upon which all laws of nature are based, the law of the struggle for existence.”
 
He also believed that war ensures development and that it was war that “forged Prussia hard as steel.” The rallying cry was to be: “World power or downfall,” and he advocated for an aggressive stance for Germany.
 
When the war finally broke out, Bernhardi was reinstated into active military service. Initially stationed in Poznań, in September 1915, he was transferred to the Eastern Front, where he commanded near Slonim and later in Volhynia. In 1918, due to health reasons, he retired from military service and returned to his family estate in Cunnersdorf.

Contemporary view of the house and photos of preserved historical interior details / Source: private archive

Friedrich was married twice. His first wife, Helene Agnes von Klitzing, whom he married in Berlin on January 19, 1881, hailed from Lüben, present-day Lubno in Wielkopolska (Greater Poland), and was the daughter of Max von Klitzing and Louise, owners of the now-ruined manor in Kłębowiec.
 
Helene Agnes passed away at the age of 31 on July 6, 1890, and 2 years later, Friedrich married for the second time. At the age of 44, on July 19, 1893, he married Katherine von Colomb in the Evangelical Church in Cassel. Katherine was born in Berlin and was the daughter of Prussian General Wilhelm Günther Von Colomb and Klara Louise von Binger.

Friedric’s father-in-law, Wilhelm Günther von Colomb

Katharine also passed away first – on April 5, 1929, in her home at Warmbrunnerstrasse 104 (today ul. Tkacka 19), having lived for 75 years. Friedrich, at the age of 80, departed a year later – on July 10, leaving no descendants.

Death certificate of Katharine von Bernhardi (left) and Friedrich von Bernhardi (right) / Source: State Archives in Wrocław, Jelenia Góra branch

Thank you very much to the owners for sharing these beautiful interior photos.

Sources:

  • private archive
  • Archiwum Państwowe we Wrocławiu oddział w Jeleniej Górze (State Archives in Wrocław, Jelenia Góra branch)

Jewish Cemetery in Jelenia Góra (Hirschberg)

The Jewish community in Jelenia Góra (formerly Hirschberg) was quite modest, with a peak population of only 450 people. Nevertheless, the city had two Jewish cemeteries.

Cmentarz żydowski w Jeleniej Górze

New Jewish Cemetery in Jelenia Góra on Sudecka Street / Photo by Marta Maćkowiak

Old Jewish Cemetery 

The first, so-called “old” cemetery, was established between 1818 and 1820 in the vicinity of Nowowiejska, Na Skałkach, and Studencka streets. Today, there is no trace of this cemetery. No tombstones or cemetery architecture have been preserved, and a public square now stands in its place. After the resolution to close the cemetery was adopted by the City Council Presidium in Jelenia Góra in 1957, the liquidation process began in 1961.

Map of Jelenia Góra featuring the marked location of the old Jewish cemetery / Source: Fotopolska.eu

Fotografia prawdopodobnie starego cmentarza żydowskiego w Jeleniej Górze

Photograph, likely depicting remnants of the old Jewish cemetery according to Fotopolska users, year 1928 / Source: Fotopolska.eu

New Jewish Cemetery

In 1879, a kilometer away, the second Jewish cemetery was established on today’s Sudecka Street. It is said to have survived the war in fairly good condition – both the tombstones and the mortuary building did not suffer significant damage.

The mortuary building

Facing the street stood a beautiful mortuary building, which was set on fire during Kristallnacht in 1938. Surprisingly, the structure survived the war, and until 1972, it was inhabited by Leon and Maria Grzybek, the caretakers of the area. The Grzybek couple, quite fittingly named (Grzyb means ‘mushroom’ in Polish), tragically died due to mushroom poisoning. The cemetery was ultimately closed almost 100 years after its establishment, in 1974. The last burial in this building took place in 1959, and at that time, the Jewish community in Jelenia Góra consisted of 20 families.

Dom przedpogrzebowy w Jeleniej Górze

Mortuary building at the Jewish cemetery in Jelenia Góra / Source: Okruchy z historii Żydów na Śląsku (Fragments from the history of Jews in Silesia), Warsaw 2014 via cmentarze-zydowskie.pl

Mortuary building at the Jewish cemetery on Sudecka Street in Jelenia Góra / Source: Polska-org.pl

Mortuary building at the Jewish cemetery in Jelenia Góra – building in the bottom right corner / Source: Polska-org.pl

Chevra Kadisha

In Jelenia Góra (Hirschberg), there was also Chevra Kadisha, a charitable burial association that dealt with organizing funerals and supporting mourners. In the early 1930s, Chevra Kadisha of the Jewish community in Jelenia Góra had its headquarters at Warmbrunnerstrasse 17 – today’s ul. Wolności.

The People

Today, one part of the cemetery serves as a parking lot. Along the sidewalk, likely on the site of the mortuary, there is a boulder with a commemorative plaque, and further back, you can find several well-preserved tombstones.

Seven of them have been deciphered, and each will be the subject of a dedicated article: Rosel Aptekmann, Mathilde Buttermilch, Wilhelmine Danziger, Betty Ucko, Herman Cohn, Fritz Singer, and Leon Goldgraber, a representative of the post-war Polish community.

Cmentarz żydowski w Jeleniej Górze
Cmentarz żydowski w Jeleniej Górze
Cmentarz żydowski w Jeleniej Górze

“The bitter death will not separate love” – inscription on one of the tombstones at the Jewish cemetery on Sudecka Street in Jelenia Góra.

Sources:

  • www.cmentarze-zydowskie.pl
  • Landesarchiv Berlin
  • Polska-org.pl
  • Fotopolska.eu
  • https://jeleniagora.naszemiasto.pl/w-jeleniej-gorze-po-niektorych-nekropoliach-nie-ma-sladu-co/ar/c1-9047541

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