- Prussian Lithuanians
group=Prussian Lithuanians (Lietuwininkai)
poptime= ~125,000 (by origin, due exceptional identity declaring is confusing)Fact|date=December 2007
region1 = flagcountry|Germany
pop1 = ~100,000Fact|date=December 2007
region2 = flagcountry|Canada
pop2 = ~20,000Fact|date=December 2007
region3 = flagcountry|Australia
pop3 = ~2,000Fact|date=December 2007
region4 = flagcountry|Lithuania
pop4 = ~2,000Fact|date=December 2007
region5 = flagcountry|United States
pop5 = ~1,000Fact|date=December 2007
region6 = flagcountry|Russia
pop6 = fewFact|date=December 2007
region7 = flagcountry|Argentina
pop7 = UnknownFact|date=December 2007
langs = German and Lithuanian
Old Prussians, Kursenieki, Lithuanians, Latvians
The term Prussian Lithuanians, Lietuwininkai [lt icon cite web |url=http://www.culture.lt/lmenas/?leid_id=3136&kas=spaudai&st_id=10495
title=Naujame albume – „Šiaurės Atlantidos“ reginiai |month=March 30 |year=2007 |author=Nijolė Strakauskaitė |accessdate=2007-11-12] (singular: Lietuwininkas), Lietuvininkai refers to a Western Lithuanian ethnic group, [cite book | last = Pėteraitis | first = Vilius | authorlink = | coauthors = Vaclovas Bagdonavičius, Albertas Juška and others | title = Mažosios Lietuvos Enciklopedija | publisher = Mokslo ir enciklopedijų leidybos institutas | date = 2003 | location = Vilnius | pages = p.577 | url = | doi = | id = | isbn = 5-420-01525-0 ] which did not form a nation“"Prussian Lithuanians" were not a nation, only an ethnic group, that fulfilled criteria required to ethnos (ethnie) by
Anthony D. Smith: common selfname or ethnonym, faith in common ancestry, common history, existence in historically stable territory, one or some signs of culture, solidarity feeling of a group” lt iconcite journal
title=Mažosios Lietuvos elito identiteto problema: kultūrinis diskursas
journal=Sociologija. Mintis ir veiksmas.
format=dead link|date=June 2008 – [http://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?hl=en&lr=&q=author%3A+intitle%3AMa%C5%BEosios+Lietuvos+elito+identiteto+problema%3A+kult%C5%ABrinis+diskursas&as_publication=Sociologija.+Mintis+ir+veiksmas.&as_ylo=2001&as_yhi=2001&btnG=Search Scholar search] ] and inhabited
East Prussia. The ethnolinguisticand ethnographic area of Prussia, later East Prussiain Germany, where Prussian Lithuanians lived prior to the Expulsion of Germans after World War II, was called Prussian Lithuania or Lithuania Minor( _lt. Prusų Lietuva", "Mažoji Lietuva;Dubious|date=March 2008 [Examples of self-naming and the naming of their country in this article are given first from authentic Prussian Lithuanian orthography] _de. Preußisch-Litauen", "Kleinlitauen) in contrast to the Grand Duchy of Lithuaniaand later the Republic of Lithuania(Lithuania Major).
Unlike the rest of
Lithuanians, who remained Roman Catholicafter the Protestant Reformation, most Lietuwninkai became Lutheran-Protestants (Evangelical-Lutheran).
There were 121,345 speakers of Lithuanian in the Prussian census of 1890. Almost all fled or were expelled after
World War II, when East Prussia was divided between Polandand the Soviet Union. The northern part became the Kaliningrad Oblast, while the southern part was attached to Poland.
Ethnonyms and identity
Prussian Lithuanians usually named themselves in the general term "Prussians" ( _lt. Pruſai, _de. Preusch) [Here is the example of the use in the text of the first half of the 18th century
"Ogi dabar jau mes, krikščionimis būdami prūsai,
Mes lietuvninkai taip baisiai ryt nesigėdim"
cite web |url=http://anthology.lms.lt/texts/6/tekstas/2.html
title=Metai. Vasaros darbai. |month= |year=1760-70 |author=Kristijonas Donelaitis |accessdate=2007-09-12
"But now we, too, although we are Christian Prussians,
Yea, we Lithuanians, we surfeit ourselves too much"
cite web |url=http://www.efn.org/~valdas/summer.html |title=The Seasons. Summer Toils
month= |year= |author=Kristijonas Donelaitis |accessdate=2007-09-12] which itself appeared after the state dependence. In order to express their distinctive ethnic identity from other Prussians, the names Prussian Lithuanians ( _lt. Pruſû Lietuwiai", "Pruſû Lietuwininkai", "Pruſißki Lietuwininkai, _de. Preußische Litauer), or simply Lithuanians (plural: _lt. Lietuw(i)ni(n)kai", singular: "Lietuwininkas, _de. Litauer) were used. Prussian Lithuanians regarded themselves as Lithuanians ("Lietuwininkai") only for themselves - they did not realize and did not want to realize they were the same people with Russian [http://forum.istorija.net/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=3515&mid=51305#M51305] - Lithuanians. They had always better living conditionsFact|date=March 2008 had slight contacts with Lithuanians under the rule of the
Grand Duchy of Lithuaniaand Russian Empire. This was possiblyFact|date=October 2007 the ground for the exonym's Samogitians ( _lt. Źemaicziai, _de. Szameiten) appearance, which was used by Lietuwininkai to refer to Lithuanians. Such referring to Lietuwininkai as Lithuanians ( _de. Litauer), and referring to Lithuanians as Samogitians ( _de. Szamaiten) was usual in East Prussia. A Lithuanian press that was published in Tilsitduring the Lithuanian national revivaladmitted the separate identity of Prussian Lithuanians: "who has better knowledge of Lithuanians living on the Prussian side, can clearly note that Muscovite Lithuania with its inhabitants is a country with which they are completely unacquainted; they even have no desire to know it, since they do not consider those whom they call "Samogitians" as members of their own tribe; in their opinion Samogitian is the same thing as Muscovite or Pole."cite journal
title=Mažosios ir Didžiosios Lietuvos integracijos problema XIX a. - XX a. pradžioje
journal=Sociologija. Mintis ir veiksmas.
format=dead link|date=June 2008 – [http://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?hl=en&lr=&q=author%3A+intitle%3AMa%C5%BEosios+ir+Did%C5%BEiosios+Lietuvos+integracijos+problema+XIX+a.+-+XX+a.+prad%C5%BEioje&as_publication=Sociologija.+Mintis+ir+veiksmas.&as_ylo=2001&as_yhi=2001&btnG=Search Scholar search] lt icon] They were proud they were better Fact|date=October 2007 Lithuanians. Such isolate, fluid and exceptional identity was similar to Masurian identity towards
Poles. Loyalty to state, great religiosity and mother language were three main priorities of self-identification, and ethnocentrismwas not actual.Loyalty to state power, great religiosity and mother language were three self-identifying priorities of "mažlietuviai"cite journal
title=Mažosios ir Didžiosios Lietuvos integracijos problema XIX a. - XX a. pradžioje
journal=Sociologija. Mintis ir veiksmas.
format=dead link|date=June 2008 – [http://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?hl=en&lr=&q=author%3A+intitle%3AMa%C5%BEosios+ir+Did%C5%BEiosios+Lietuvos+integracijos+problema+XIX+a.+-+XX+a.+prad%C5%BEioje&as_publication=Sociologija.+Mintis+ir+veiksmas.&as_ylo=2001&as_yhi=2001&btnG=Search Scholar search] lt icon] Prussian Lithuanians usually referred to themselves as Prussians or Germans when living outside Germany. It was quite usual for Prussian Lithuanian to be a German and Lietuwininkas, to speak Lithuanian and be a German in the same time. Local self-designating terms found in literature, such as "Sziszionißkiai" ("people from here") , "Burai" ( _de. Bauern), were neither politonyms nor
ethnonyms. Another similar term appeared in the Memel Territoryduring the interwar years – "Memellanders"cite journal
title=Memellander/Klaipėdiškiai Identity and German-Lithuanian Relations in Lithuania Minor in the Nineteenth and Twentieth centuries
journal=Sociologija. Mintis ir veiksmas.
guote=Memellanderers defined themselves separately not by ethnicity but by birthplace. Traditionally they were more enclined towards the German element and German structures but they did not regard themselves as German. They did not regard themselves as Lithuanian either.
format=dead link|date=June 2008 – [http://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?hl=en&lr=&q=author%3A+intitle%3AMemellander%2FKlaip%C4%97di%C5%A1kiai+Identity+and+German-Lithuanian+Relations+in+Lithuania+Minor+in+the+Nineteenth+and+Twentieth+centuries&as_publication=Sociologija.+Mintis+ir+veiksmas.&as_ylo=2001&as_yhi=2001&btnG=Search Scholar search] ] ( _lt. Memelanderiai, _de. Memelländers, translated as "Klaipėdiškiai" in modern Lithuanian historiography). There were people who signed in the censae they were Memellanders by nationality, however. The term "Lietuvininkai" [de iconcite book | last = Vėlius | first = Norbertas | authorlink = Norbertas Vėlius | coauthors = et all | title = Lietuvininkų kraštas | publisher = Litterae universitatis |date=1995 | location = Kaunas | pages = | url = http://pirmojiknyga.mch.mii.lt/Leidiniai/lietkrastas.de.htm | language=Lithuanian| id = | isbn = 9986-475-03-1 ] or sometimes a neologism unknown to Lietuwininkai themselves, "Mažlietuviai", is used in the modern Lithuanian historiography.
Antagonism between ethnic groups
In the relations between Prussian Lithuanians and Lithuanians (including Samogitians), despite having the same language,
antagonismwas frequent. It was based possibly mostly on the different religion, because religion was a very important factor of consciousness in earlier times and was identified with nationality, similarly as for the Dutch peoplein the Netherlandsand Belgium. Antagonism could be seen in the Memel Territoryafter it was incorporated into Lithuania. Inhabitants of Lithuania (sometimes called "Didlietuviai" ("did-" is Lithuanian for "big", "great")) did not trust Prussian Lithuanians in the Klaipėda Regionand tended to think of them as "not real Lithuanians", as was well-known since the first years of the autonomous status of the Klaipėda Region.cite web
title=Didlietuviai: an example of committee of Lithuanian organizations' activities (1934–1939)
accessdate=2007-09-12] The nationalistic policy, especially after the 1926 coup d'etat, was caried out by the nationalistic oriented state. Such policy led only to failures only; some Prussian Lithuanians resigned their nationality in the
censuses and to express difference from Lithuanians signed themselves as "Memellanders".
The antipathy was strong: when Prussian Lithuanian writer Ewa Simoneit chose the side of the policy of the Lithuanian Republic (she officially became
Ieva Simonaitytė); she was condemned by relatives, friends and neighbours. [lt icon cite web |url=http://www.samogit.lt/KULTURA/simonaityte.lt.htm |title=Ieva Simonaitytė ir žemaičiai
month=March 15 |year=1997 |author=Elena Bukelienė |accessdate=2007-09-12] Only one Prussian Lithuanian (
Dovas Zaunius) worked in the government of Lithuania, between WWIand WWII. The antagonism persisted till the end of the World War II, when East Prussia had gone.
Origin of ethnonym
The name "Lietuwininkai" (as "litovniki") was mentioned in 1260 by
Novgorodchronicles by the first time and meant "Lithuanians". The ethnonym was common during the 15-18th centuries among Lithuanians living in the Grand Duchy of Lithuaniaand the Duchy of Prussia. "Mes Wladislaus Ketwirtassis Isch Diewo Malones Karalius Lenku Diddisis Kunigaikschtis Lietuwniku Guddu Prusu Mosuriu Szemaicziu Inflantůsa Smolenska Czernichowa etc. Priegtam ir Schwedu Gothu bei Wandalu Tewiksztinis Karalius etc."
Wladislaus IV, by the Grace of GodKing of Poles, Great Duke of Lithuanians, Belarusians, Prussians, Masurians, Samogitians, in Inflanty, in Smolensk, in Chernigov etc. And King of Swedes, Goths and Vandals etc"
title=Vladislovo IV 1639.03.22 raštas
author= Wladislaus IV
accessdate=2007-09-12lt icon] Other forms of the ethnonym "Lithuanian" were used in ancient times. "Lietuviai (sg. Lietuvis, Lietuvys)" became most popular of them in the
Grand Duchy of Lithuania(and is current ethnonym), and "Lietuwininkai" (Lietuwininkas, Lietuwninkas, Lietuwnîkas) remained used among Prussian Lithuanians of Prussia. The term Prussian Lithuanians ("Preußisches Litauens") appeared in the 16th century in German texts. The term Lithuania Minor ("Kleinlitaw") was first used by Simon Grunau, between 1517 and 1527.
The word itself is derived from the name of
Lithuania("Lietuva") with an agent's suffix "-ininkas" added (Lietuv-a + -ininkas > Lietuvininkas). The agent's suffix"-inink-" is common in Lithuanian. For example: "darbas" (a work) - "darbininkas" (a worker), "lankas" (a bow) - "lankininkas" (an archer), "bitė" (a bee) - "bitininkas" (an apiarist). The shortened form of the suffix, "-nink" was used by Lietuwininkai themselves, therefore their name is often used in an original form "Lietuwninkai".
Usage of this term is problematic. The main argument not to use it is, that in Lithuania Minor the term "Lietuwininkas" basically just meant "Lithuanian", being a
synonymof the word "Lietuvis" (= "Lithuanian"), not the name of a separate ethnic sub-group.Dubious|date=March 2008 Moreover, the name "Lietuwininkas" had been used by all Lithuanians as the ethnonym, while the name "Lietuvis" was a later innovation. Although this term was not accepted by many people, including some prominent Prussian Lithuanians, presently the word "Lietuvininkas" means a person from Lithuania Minor, and never a Lithuanian in general.
Culture and Traditions
The Prussian Lithuanians settled in the state of the Order and during the centuries were affected and influenced by German lifestyle,
German culture, German ordnungand German language. Prussian Lithuanians adopted cultural values and social conventions of the German state, but preserved Lithuanian language,"Lithuanians living in the lands governed by the Order and then by the dukes of Prussia (after 1525) were strongly affected by German language, lifestyle and culture. The acculturation process increased during and following the Reformation. Gradually the Prussian Lithuanian adopted cultural values and social conventions of the German state whilst retaining a separate identity and the Lithuanian language."] traditions and folk culture. For centuries Prussian Lithuanians lived in different political, confessional environment from other Lithuanians and evolved into a separate ethnic group. The common German state united Germans and Prussian Lithuanians,, traditions, folk culture. "The sense of homeland and common communication in German united Germans and Lithuanians in Lithuania Minor"] was their home-state and Prussian Lithuanians viewed its rulers as their own rulers"Loyalty to state and proud of "own" German state through two centuries became inherent elements of identity."] It was usual to have portraits of rulers at home, Prussian Lithuanians were great patriots of Prussia and also Germany.
pietistcongregational movement was strong among Prussian Lithuanians: evangelical fellowships ( _de. Versammung, _lt. Surinkimininkai) were active like in the rest of the German Empire. About 40% of Lithuanians belonged to such fellowships in Prussia. Members of fellowships lived according asceticprinciples."Main principles of the old fellowships were worship, poverty, fast, kindness, justice, honesty and patience ... rejection of bodily pleasures and worldly delights: abstinence from alcohol, tobacco, satanic card playing, wicked books."]
Prussian Lithuanians were more commonly villagers until the industrial times; the towns were not big. Those who went to the major towns,
Königsbergand Memel, most usually became German speakers and later Germans. The feudal mentality is reflected in the poem called "The Seasons" by Kristijonas Donelaitis. As all peasants of the feudal organization they respected their rulers very much. "The Seasons" criticizes Prussian Lithuanians' efforts to follow the German style of life, because the German life style was linked with usually sick noblemen and instilled for Lithuanians they should do their duties, not to envy those who went to the German towns, not to complain or be lazy and try to work as much as is needed for the good of a peasant.
World War II, virtually no Prussian Lithuanians remained in Russia's Kaliningrad Oblastand only a small number survived in the Lithuanian SSR. Any heritage of the society which formerly lived at Germanic and later Nazistate were being destroyed, not looking whether it was German or Prussian Lithuanian etc. Both Germans and Prussian Lithuanians lived together, thus nearly all churches and cemeteries of Prussian Lithuanians were destroyed, especially in Russia. The local traditions of Prussian Lithuanians are nearly vanished today due to Germanization policy, Naziadverse actions and especially Sovietdestruction. A better situation occurred in the former Memel Territory but even there some churches and cemeteries were destroyedFact|date=October 2007.
The person could have only one variant of surname. Prussian Lithuanians surnames are such: The
patronymic with suffixes "-eit-" and "-at-". It has the same role what for example English "-son" does in the surnames "Abrahamson, Johnson" etc. Examples include: Abromeit, Grigoleit, Jakeit, Kukulat, Szameitat, etc.
Another type of Prussian Lithuanian surnames are with the endings "-ies, -us": Kairies, Resgies, Baltßus, Karallus, etc.
The dual namingDubious|date=March 2008 (of Lithuanian and German forms) was usual and acceptable among Prussian Lithuanians and even highly educated and pro-Lithuanian oriented Prussian Lithuanians as
philosopher Wilhelm Storost, famous Prussian Lithuanian linguist Georg Gerullishad always preferred the surname of the German style, used to sign with it and had never changed it.
The difference between female and male surnames in everyday speech existed. While officially the wife of Kurschat (Prussian Lithuanian "Kurßaitis" or "Kurßatis") also was called Kurschat, in the Prussian Lithuanian language forms were used in speech: the form of a wife's surname was Kurßaitê / Kurßatė and the form of a unmarried woman was Kurßaitikê / Kurßaitukê etc.
Prussian Lithuanians had been usually bilingual since the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century"Living in a German state the "Mažlietuvis" was naturally prevailed upon to integrate into state political life and naturally became bilingual in German and Lithuanian. Especially after the industrialization and modernization of Prussia the "Mažlietuvis" was bilingual. This bilingualism is a constant characteristic up to the end of World War Two."] The German language used by Prussian Lithuanians belongs to
Low Prussiandialect of Low German, Mundart des Ostgebietessubdialect.
Lithuanian language of Prussian Lithuanians could be divided into two main dialects:
Samogitian dialectand Aukštaitian dialect. Prussian Lithuanians did not classify their language themselves. Standard language is quite similar to standard Lithuanian except for the number of German loanwords. The Lithuanian languagewhich had been spoken in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and later Russia was influenced by Polish and Belarusian languages, while in Prussia – by German language. Thus while Lithuanians used Slavic loanwords and translations, Prussian Lithuanians used German loanwords and translations, in addition to earlier Slavic loanwords.
Prussian Lithuanian literature
The literature in Lithuanian language has appeared earlier in the
Duchy of Prussiathan in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. The first book in Lithuanian was published in Königsbergin 1547 by Martynas Mažvydas, émigréfrom Samogitia, while the first Lithuanian book of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was printed in 1596 by Mikalojus Daukša. Many other authors who wrote in Lithuanian were not Prussian Lithuanians, but local Prussian Germans: Michael Märlin, Jakob Quandt, Wilhelm Martinius, Gottfried Ostermeyer, Sigfried Ostermeyer, Daniel Klein, Andrew Krause, Philipp Ruhig, Matttheus Praetorius, Christian Mielcke, Adam Schimmelpfennig, etc. The first Lithuanian poet Kristijonas Donelaitiswas from East Prussia and reflected Prussian Lithuanian lifestyle in his works. The first newspaper in the Lithuanian language "Nuſidawimai apie Ewangēliôs Praſiplatinima tarp Źydû ir Pagonû" was published by Prussian Lithuanians too. Prior to World War I, the government and political parties financed Prussian Lithuanian press.
The Prussian Lithuanian
Orthographywas based on German style, while in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania it was primarily based on Polish. Prussian Lithuanians used Blackletter. The differences show that Lithuanians were not reading Prussian Lithuanian writings and vice versa and the cultural communication was very limited. The attempts to create a unified newspaper and common orthography for all Lithuanian speakers in the beginning of the 20th century were unsuccessful. After 1905, modern Lithuanian orthography was standardized while Prussian Lithuanian orthography remained the same – German Blackletter, a noun was begun with a capital letter, letters ſ, ß, ʒ were used, a construction of sentences was different compared to Lithuanian.
Books and newspapers that were published in Lithuania in Latin letters were reprinted in Blackletter in the
Memel Territoryin 1923-39. The Prussian Lithuanian newspaper "Naujaſis Tilźes Keleiwis" ( _de. Neues Tilsiter Wanderer) had been published in Blackletter till 1940 in Tilsit, when was closed by Nazis. After Germany had occupied Polandin 1939 and Suwalki trianglehad been directly attached to the Third ReichLithuanians of Punskwere unable to read "Naujaſis Tilźes Keleiwis" and failed to comprehend it.
The territory where Prussian Lithuanians lived in ancient times was inhabited by Old Prussian, Old Prussian, Scalovian and Curonian (by the sea) tribes. During the wars between
Lithuaniaand Teutonic Orderthe area approximately between the rivers Alleand Memel became almost uninhabited,cite book
publish=Lietuvos rašytojų sąjungos leidykla
isbn=9986-39-112-1] local tribes resettled (voluntary or by force) either in the
Monastic State of the Teutonic Knightsor in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. This uninhabited area was named Wildernessin chronicles.
After the 1422
Treaty of Melno, a stable border between the two states was established. Better living conditions attracted Lithuanians and Samogitians to settle in state of the Teutonic Order.cite book
publish=Lietuvos rašytojų sąjungos leidykla
Masuriansand Curoniansmigrated into Prussia at the same time. After 1525, last Master of the Order Albert became duke of Prussia and switched to Protestantism, Prussian Lithuanians became Protestants too. Although Lithuanians who settled in Prussia were mainly farmers, in 16th century there was an influx of educated Protestant immigrants from Lithuania, such as Martynas Mažvydas, Abraomas Kulvietisand Stanislovas Rapolionis(known by their Latinized names Martinus Mosvidus, Abraham Culvensis, Stanislaus Rapagellanus in Prussia) who became first professors at the Königsberg University.
By the will of
Albert, Duke of Prussia, church services for Prussian Lithuanians were held in the Lithuanian language. In writings of 16th century, the term Prussian Lithuanians ("Preußisches Litauens") appeared for the first time. In 1526, Simon Grunauused the term Lithuania Minor ("Kleinlitaw") for the first time. Martynas Mažvydaswas a zealous Protestant and urged to stop all contacts between Prussian Lithuanians and Lithuanians of Lithuania wishing to stop Catholic influence. [ lt icon cite web |url=http://xxiamzius.lt/numeriai/2006/03/01/zvil_00.html |title= Kodėl mes išlikome? |year=2006 |author=Bernardas Aleknavičius |accessdate=2007-10-15] Since then, Prussian Lithuanians participated or were involved in all events of Prussia: in religious, cultural, social life, wars etc.
In 1708, the
Kingdom of Prussiawas devastated by plague, especially its easternmost part, where Prussian Lithuanians lived. About 50% of Prussian Lithuanians died. To compensate loss of population king Frederick II invited settlers from Salzburg, Pfalz, and Nassau. Persecuted Lutherans brought strong pietismmovements. These movements became very popular among Prussian Lithuanians.
From the mid 18th century, a majority of Prussian Lithuanians became literate; in comparison, the process was much slower in the Greater Lithuania.
Lithuanian national revivalmovement of the late 19th century was mostly ignored by Prussian Lithuanians; integrational ideas with Lithuania and Lithuanians were not understandable and not acceptable."Daugumai mažlietuvių integracinės Didžiosios ir Mažosios Lietuvos apraiškos buvo nesuprantamos ir nepriimtinos" "For a majority of mažlietuviai integrational ideas between Lithuania proper and Lithuania Minor were not understandable and not acceptable".] "All the national revival movement's ideas were alien to them".] The idea of Lithuanian-Latvian unity was more popular than idea of unity between the Lithuanians and the Prussian Lithuanians during the 1905 revolution in Lithuania. cite journal |last=Pivoras |first=S. |year=1998 |url=http://www.leidykla.vu.lt/inetleid/ist-stud-6.html |title= Lithuanian - Latvian cooperation in resistance to the national oppression in the end of the 19 |journal=Lietuvos istorijos studijos |volume=6 |pages=] One of the leaders of the Lithuanian national movement Vincas Kudirkacalled Prussian Lithuanians as "Lithuanian speaking Germans" Fact|date=October 2007. The first Prussian Lithuanian elected to Reichstag, Johann Smalakies, was a fierce German agitator for the integrity of the German Empire. Two dozen pro-Lithuanian oriented and self-proclaimed representatives of Prussian Lithuanians signed the Act of Tilsitwhere the idea to detach Prussian Lithuania from Germany and unite it with Lithuania was expressed; such an idea was not supported and not accepted by majority of Prussian Lithuanians."Resuming integrationist problems in turn of XIX-XX centuries Lithuania Minor and Lithuania Major, for majority of "mažlietuviai" integrational ideas between Lithuania Major and Lithuania Minor were not understandable and not acceptable."] Loyalty to the state was strong, even Georg Sauerweinwho was actively defending minority rights had to deal with it. In 1879, in newspaper "Lietuwißka Ceitunga" he published poem "Lietuwininkais esame mes gime" and 7th stanza was dedicated to William I. Though later Georg Saurwein for his anti-state activity was asked by Prussian Lithuanians to leave Prussian Lithuania.
There was no national
Germanisationpolicy until 1870; Prussian Lithuanians voluntary adopted German language and culture. cite journal
last = Arnašius
first = Helmutas
title = Vokiečiai Klaipėdoje
url = http://ausis.gf.vu.lt/mg/nr/2002/078/078vok.html
journal = Mokslas ir Gyvenimas
accessdate = 2007-10-30
year = 2002
volume = 7-8
language = lithuanian
quote = Šis procesas nebuvo skatinamas kokių nors germanizacijos užmačių, jis savaime brendo aukštos ir žemos civilizacijų bei kultūrų sankirtoje.] In 1811 a teacher's seminarium for Prussian Lithuanians was established in Karalene near
Insterburg, after Memel Territory was detached where lived majority of Prussian Lithuanians due lack of students was closed only in 1924. After the Unification of Germanyin 1873, German language learning was made compulsory in state schools. The German culture provided a possibility for Prussian Lithuanians to adopt Western European cultural values through the German language. Interestingly, Prussian Lithuanians were proud being able to read German and were part of German cultural area.Galima teigti, kad vadinamoji germanizacija, priešingai nei polonizacija ir rusifikacija LDK, lietuviams Vokietijoje pirmiausia leido įsijungti į bendrą Europos kultūros plėtros eigą, atnešė raštą suformulavus bendrinės savosios kalbos pagrindus, į šią veiklą įsijungus visam būriui vokiečių kilmės kunigų liuteronų, o vėliau ir inteligentijos. Vokiečių Kleino, Sengstocko, Gisevijaus, Quandto ir daugybės kitų kilnių lietuvių kalbos ir tautiškumo puoselėtojų vardai, prie kurių, kaip matėme, prisidėjo ir ne vienas klaipėdietis, visiems žinomi ir neprivalo būti čia toliau minimi. Natūralu, kad jų, kaip dvasininkų, veikla apsiribojo tikėjimo puoselėjimu rašant ir verčiant tam tikro pobūdžio veikalus, kurie ir sudaro lietuvių literatūros pradmenis bei branduolį. Pažvelgus į ankstyvąją lietuvių literatūros bibliografiją, būtų galima susidaryti įspūdį lietuvininkus skaičius vien pamaldžias knygas ir giedojus giesmes. Taip anaiptol nebuvo. Pietistai, kurie draudė sau skaityti pasaulietinę literatūrą, sudarė tik palyginti nedidelę, nors ir raiškią lietuvininkų krikščionių mažumą – gal tarp 11 ir 18 gyventojų procentų. Versti į lietuvių kalbą labiau skaitomą pasaulietinę bei mokslinę literatūrą nebuvo reikalo, nes ji visiems buvo prieinama vokiečių kalba – lietuvininkai jau buvo tapę, šalia anglų ir prancūzų, Europoje pirmaujančios aukštosios vokiečių kultūros dalimi. Tuo jie ne be pagrindo didžiavosi.]
Germanization of non-German nationalities of Prussia, started since 1873, was met with concern by many Prussian Lithuanians. Such developments evoked a cultural movement of Prussian Lithuanians. On 1879, a
petitionfor the return of Lithuanian language to schools was signed by 1230 Prussian Lithuanians from the district of Memel, 3000 - from Heydekrug, 3700 - from Tilsitand 4400 from Ragnit. Another similar petition of 1896 was signed by 6228 Prussian Lithuanians from the district of Memel, 4407 - from Heydekrug, 9518 - from Tilsitand 2905 from Ragnit. [lt icon [http://lrytas.lt/?data=&id=11919032961191434646&sk_id=&view=4&p=3 Ko neįstengė suprasti Lietuvos valdžia ir klaipėdiškiai 1923-1939 metais?] ] The install of German language in schools was met positive, because Prussian Lithuanians for wanted to learn German.Nepaisant to, kad vos ne pusė mokinių Klaipėdos apskrityje buvo lietuvininkai, nei čia, nei kur nors kitur Mažojoje Lietuvoje, kaip, beje, iš viso tarp Prūsijos mažumų, minėta Prūsijos švietimo ministerijos nuostata dėl vokiečių kalbos įsisavinimo nesukėlė jokio pasipiktinimo, o greičiau buvo sutikta palankiai.] In 1921, French administration made a survey in Memel Territory that showed that only 2,2% of Prussian Lithuanians would prefer Lithuanian language schools.prancūzų administracijos Klaipėdos krašte 1921 m. vasarą buvo surengta gyventojų apklausa tarp save dar lietuviais laikančių piliečių, kuria norėta sužinoti apie jų norus leisti vaikus mokytis grynai lietuviškose mokyklose. Dar 1910 m. visame krašte 71 156 gyventojai laikė save šeimose vokiškai, o 67 259 – lietuviškai kalbančiais. Dabar pasirodė, kad iš pastarųjų tik 11,2 proc. pageidavo lankyti lietuviškas pamaldas, o net tik 2,2 proc. norėjo, kad mokyklose būtų kalbama ir rašoma lietuviškai.] In contrast to the Russificationpolicies and the Lithuanian press banin the Russian Empire, the Lithuanian language and culture was not persecuted in Prussia: Prussian Lithuanians could publish own newspapers and books, even Lithuanians from Russia published own books and newspapers, like " Auszra" and " Varpas" in Germany. Lithuanians viewed to such difference of the situation with envy. [cite web
url = http://www.mazoji-lietuva.lt/article.php?article=136
title = Mažlietuvių identiteto problema
accessdate = 2007-11-12
last = Pocytė
first = Silva
year = 2003
month = October
language = Lithuanian
quote = Dar vyskupas Motiejus Valančius su pavydu žvelgė į gyvenimą Prūsijoje]
World War Iin August and September 1914, easternmost part of East Prussia, where Prussian Lithuanians concentrated, was captured by the Russian army. Russia was expelling civilians into central part of Russia. Due to harsh conditions 15–20% of the departed had died. Majority of Prussian Lithuanians not wanted to join with Lithuania.Apie norą susijungti su nuskurdusia Lietuva daugumai lietuvininkų negalėjo būti nė kalbos.] The war was followed by severe economical hardships and inflation in Germany, that had the influence on the acceptationDubious|date=March 2008 of attachment of Memel Region to Lithuania by Prussian Lithuanians. [lt icon [http://lrytas.lt/?data=&id=11919032961191434646&sk_id=&view=4&p=3 Ko neįstengė suprasti Lietuvos valdžia ir klaipėdiškiai 1923-1939 metais?] ] Dubious|date=March 2008
East Prussia's northern part beyond the
Neman Riverwas detached from the rest of body in the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, dividing the territories inhabited by Prussian Lithuanians between Weimar Germanyand Memel Territoryunder the administration of Council of Ambassadors. Organisation "Deutsch-Litauischer Heimatbund" ( _lt. Namynês Bundas) represented idea to return to Germany or at least create an independent state of Memelland and was represented by 30,000 persons both Germans and [also] Prussian Lithuanians.
In 1923, the
Republic of Lithuaniaoccupied Memel Territory, causing a general strike of the local populace, which was quelled by armed force [Andreas Kossert, Damals in Ostpreussen, p. 73, ISBN 978-3-421-04366-5] . According to the plan the leaders of the "rebellion", called the Klaipėda Revolt, should became local Prussians Lithuanians, but even most radicals declinedFact|date=October 2007. In the beginning, a situation in the Memel Territory was acceptable for Prussian Lithuanians. According to the secret report by Jonas Polovinskas-Budrys, a professional in counterintelligence, made in 1923, around 60 percent of local inhabitants supported the Revolt, 30 percent kept a passive stance and 10 percent were against, namely the supporters of " freistadt" status or Germany. [lt icon [http://lrytas.lt/?data=&id=11919032961191434646&sk_id=&view=4&p=4 Ko neįstengė suprasti Lietuvos valdžia ir klaipėdiškiai 1923-1939 metais?] ]
After the annexation of the Klaipėda Region, the Government of Lithuania started disapproving local inhabitants in public service: people from the Greater Lithuania were sent to assume public administration offices in the region. Prussian Lithuanians saw such
Lithuanizationpolicy as a threat to their own culture and began support German parties and even started name themselves as Germans. The forms of Lithuanization policy were not acceptable for Klaipėda region local Lietuvininkai people. Having no other alternatives, they started to nestle themselves with much more known for them German national identity] Inhabitants of Memel Territory preferred the "Freistadt" status comparable to that of Free City of Danzig.Klaipėdiečiai iš esmės siekė politiškai autonominio regiono statuso Europos sudėtyje, kokį turėjo ir Dancigas.] In census of 1925 Prussian Lithuanians 37626 declared themselves as Lithuanians, 34337 – by neologism "Memellanders" – wishing to express difference from Lithuanians. According to the pre-war Lithuanian view, the Memellanders were Germanised Lithuanians who should be re-Lithuanized According to the pre-war Lithuanian view, the Memellanders were Germanised Lithuanians who should be re-Lithuanised ] no matter they wanted that or not. Such policy led only to future dissolution and antagonism between Prussian Lithuanians and Lithuanians.The strong Lithuanization policy from Lithuanian State gave the inverse effect, reflected by anti-Lithuanian dispositions among Germans and local Lietuvininkai people. ] Prussian Lithuanians in Memel Territory continuously voted for German or German-oriented parties. On 4 March 1933, Adolf Hitlerpromised to return Klaipėda to Germany during the meeting in Königsberg. In 1935, Nazi activists Ernst Neumannand Theodor von Sassorganized a revolt against the Lithuanian government, participated by some Prussian Lithuanians, like J. Brinkies, M. Scheidereitis, H. Stallgies, W. Naujoksas, G. Wallatas, H. Lakischus, E. Awiszus etcFact|date=October 2007
The election results in Memel Territory clearly shows political aspirations of Prussian Lithuanians.Rinkimų į Klaipėdos krašto seimelį rezultatai ir jų dinamika šiuo atveju vienareikšmiai: net ir vis labiau į nacionalsocializmą linkusios provokiškosios partijos laimėjo vis daugiau balsų, atsverdamos net ir imigravusius iš Didžiosios Lietuvos gyventojus.] In 1939, the
Germanyreclaimed the Memel Territoryand the inhabitants were allowed to choose Lithuanian citizenship. Only 500 asked for optation, and only 20 were awarded it. Reunion of Memel Territory with Germany was met with joy by a majority of Memellanders."In March 1939 the majority of Memellander greeted the reunion with the Reich with joy"] Only about 40 pro-Lithuanian oriented Prussian Lithuanians emigrated to Republic of Lithuania. In 1940 when Republic of Lithuania was occupied by the Soviet Union, many of those emigrants returned back to Germany. Those who not returned were executed as traitors by Nazis.
In Germany, Prussian Lithuanian
Georg Gerulliswas Minister of Education of Saxony in 1933 After Nazis came to power, from 1933 Prussian Lithuanian activists living in Germany were persecuted. Due coflict with Lithuania over Memel Territoryin 1938 Prussian Lithuanian toponyms were translated to German, thus Lasdinehlen (Lazdynėliai) were converted to Haselberg, Jodlauken (Juodlaukiai) to Schwalbental etc. Prussian Lithuanians in East Prussia made only small minority. Toponyms of Memel Territory after reunion with Germany were not renamed. Prussian Lithuanian newspaper "Naujaſis Tilźes Keleiwis" was closed only in 1940. On the other hand, church services in Tilsitand Ragnitwere held in Lithuanian language till evacuation of East Prussiain 1944.
World War II and after
The territory where Prussian Lithuanians lived, was the first land of German soil that felt revenge of Soviets onto Germans; Soviets made no distinction between Germans and Prussian Lithuanians. Gerda Meczulat the only one survived
Nemmersdorf massacreat least had Prussian Lithuanian origin. During the evacuation of East Prussia, Prussian Lithuanians, like other Eastprussians, were trying escape for the fear of revenge. Mass murders, rapes, and looting were common. After the end of fights people were returning to their homes, but returners were discriminated, put on starvation, were deported to Siberia. Later people were expelled from Kaliningrad Oblast, and later from former Memel Territory.Some Prussian Lithuanians expressed the protest against expel of the autochthons, Russian colonization of Lithuania Minorand the destruction of the whole country in the two Acts of Fulda.The events were a bit different in the former Memel Territory which was transferred to Lithuanian SSRin 1947. The majority of the population was evacuated and Lithuania as a state had been already occupied by the Soviet Union in 1940. There were about 20,000 local inhabitants in the former Memel Territoryby 1945, compared to 152,800 in 1939. The government of Lithuanian SSRfollowed the policy of Soviet Union and viewed to the local Lithuanians as Germanized Lithuanians. The agitators making promises of the safe returning and the restored property to the former inhabitants were sent to some DP camps. About 8,000 persons repatriated in the period of 1945-50. The promises had been never fulfilled by soviets, neither the property was returned. The returning people were viewed as Germans because of their Lithuanian-German bilingualism. Soviet Lithuanian official Antanas Sniečkusforbade the restitution for the returners. Russians and Lithuanians (in Klaipėda Region) usually already lived in these homes. There are known facts about the persons returned who were brutally not allowed to enter their own homes. Autochthonous people who remained in the former Memel territory were dismissed from their jobs and otherwise discriminated.cite journal
title=Trys knygos apie lietuvininkų tragediją
journal=Mokslas ir gyvenimas
3,500 people from the former Memel Territory were expelled by the authority of Lithuanian SSR people to
East Germanyin 1951. After the Konrad Adenauer's visit to Moscow in 1958, the former citizens of Germany were allowed to emigrate and the absolute majority of Prussian Lithuanians who were in Lithuanian SSR, similarly to many Lithuanians from Greater Lithuania fleeing from the coming Soviet occupation, emigrated to West Germany. The same process was among Mazurians in Poland. Only about 2,000 local Lithuanians remains in former Klaipėda Regionand virtually there is nobody of them in Kaliningrad oblast. The majority of Prussian Lithuanians lives in Germanytoday. After WW2 some groups of Prussian Lithuanians has settled in Canada, Australia. Separate ethnic and cultural identity is not strong as was, and is vanishing. After the collapse of Soviet UnionPrussian Lithuanians has not regained their property in Kaliningrad Oblast(former administrative part of Soviet Union) as well as in Klaipėda regionlt icon cite web| url=http://ausis.gf.vu.lt/mg/nr/98/3/03knygos.html| title=Tries knygos apie lietuvininkų tragediją| accessdate=2007-03-31 "Kai kurie ir iš nepriklausomos Lietuvos išvažiuoja į Vokietiją, nes čia ne visiems pavyksta atgauti žemę ir sodybas, miestuose ir miesteliuose turėtus gyvenamuosius namus. Vis dar yra net nebandomų sudrausminti piktavalių, kurie lietuvininkams siūlo "grįžti" į "faterliandą"." Tr.: Even some from independent Lithuania emigrates to Germany, because not for all property is returned. There are still persons who propose for lietuwininkai to "return" to "vaterland"] and Lithuania has not took actions to establish the formerly existed citizenship of former Memel Territory (administrative part of Lithuanian SSR in soviet times). According Lithuanian point of view Prussian Lithuanians are part of Lithuanian nation and Memel Territory was forcibly detached in 1939.
Points of view towards Prussian Lithuanians
Traditional Soviet Lithuanian point of view towards German point of view
The Prussistian pro-state ideology was upheld in the 18th century in East Prussia. ["Historiography of Prussian state was actually apologetical. […] all the inhabitants were called Prussians ( […] ), thus emphasizing the difference from other inhabitants of western German states". Citation
title =Mažoji Lietuva XVIII amžiuje: lietuvių tautinė padėtis
The German colonists of Lithuania Minor were shown as confessional martyrs by the German authors of 18th century. The German authors of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century were mostly interested in political issues. The colonization was described as the spread of higher culture in the Lithuanian society which was in the lower level of development by some authors. G. Schmoller thought it was "a demanding fight with the hostile forces of the other nation". By the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century the issue was investigated under the socioeconomic aspect. Some researches thought Prussian Lithuanians were industrious and economical, some thought that the strong peasantry had appeared only during the colonization of the Lithuania Minor. A. Keil, W. Borrmann thought that the purpose of the introducing of the German language in the new schools was the Germanization of the Prussian Lithuanian population. German researches did not do distinction between Lithuanians in Prussia and in Russia in the 19th century and thought this nation was facing its end and being changed by Germans, Russians and Poles. M. Friedeberg wrote in the end of the 19th century, that Germans were giving Lithuanians "true German culture". His ideas were rebuffed [Citation
title =Mažoji Lietuva XVIII amžiuje: lietuvių tautinė padėtis
isbn =5-420-00240-X] by G. Sauerwein. It was not unusual when Prussian Lithuanians were understood to be Lithuanian speaking Germans. [
"M. Friedeberg proclaimed, that "German culture has perform big goals in the land of Memel" and Lithuanian language was being banned only by those who were "not true Germans". Citation
title =Mažoji Lietuva XVIII amžiuje: lietuvių tautinė padėtis
isbn =5-420-00240-X] Johann Smalakies, a fierce German agitator for the integrity of the
German Empireand the first Prussian Lithuanian elected to Reichstag, referred to the inhabitants on the other sides of the border of the Germanyas Asians. It is seen that generally non-German nations were considered to be Asian and consequently only pro-Germanic Lithuanians welcomed. There were no democracyin Germany during the Naziperiod. The history became ideological and was used to ground the political deedsFact|date=October 2007.
Traditional Lithuanian point of view
There were no
democracyin Lithuaniafrom 1926 to 1940 during authoritarianA.Smetona's regime and from 1940 to 1990 during the soviet times. Traditional (of interwar and especially of soviet period) Lithuanian historiography claimed Prussian Lithuanians were part of Lithuanian nation which lived under Teutonic, Prussian, later German yoke.cite book
isbn=5-420-00631-6 lt icon] Or|date=October 2007
The dependency to firstly
Lithuania Minorwas stressed and only secondly to Prussia. Lithuania Minor was, and to some extent still is, understood as a part of Lithuania, while, in fact, the territories had never belonged to Lithuania since the invasion of the Teutonic Orderto the territory until the Klaipėda revolt. Scaloviansand Nadroviansmistakenly attributed to Old Prussians by the Germans were proclaimedFact|date=October 2007 Western Lithuanians in the Soviet period. The Lithuanian authors usually denied settling of Lithuanians in the Wilderness. A. Matulevičius has thought that Nadruvians were western Lithuanians. He writes: "M. Toeppen and A. Bezzenberger determined the limit between Old Prussians and western Lithuanians (Skalovians and Nadruvians) which existed previous to the arrival of the German Order".Citation
title =Mažoji Lietuva XVIII amžiuje: lietuvių tautinė padėtis
isbn =5-420-00240-X] The "Great Colonization" of Salzburgers, which occurred in the 18 century after the plague, was viewed very negative. The Memel Territory was viewed as the ancient Samogitian land, especially during the interwar. Former Memel Territory is still viewed as Samogitian land, even monument for "Liberation of Samogitia" by soviet troops in 1944 still stands in Šilutė. [cite web
url = http://www.lrytas.lt/?id=11925586521190771672&view=4
title = „Žemaitijos išlaisvinimui" skirtą paminklą teko uždengti
accessdate = 2007-10-22
author = Aldona Aleksėjūnienė
language = lt] In interbellum times was considered that the Klaipėda region was unsuccessfully lost by grand duke
Vytautasin 1422 Treaty of Melnoand was legitimately returned in revolt in 1923. It was said in the political rhetoric: "the return of the land that was stolen by the Teutonic Order"Fact|date=October 2007. The existence of a separate Prussian Lithuanian identity and the name Prussian Lithuanians"It was impossible to write. Censorship rejected words "Klaipėdos kraštas", "lietuvininkai". There is no such administrative unit, - answered. - There are no "lietuvininkai", there are only "lietuviai"] was denied to be formerly existed as the ethnonymFact|date=October 2007 both during the interwar and the soviet times.Memellanders were not separated from Lithuanians."Traditional Lithuanian historical scholarship, also failed to leave separate room for Memellander, accounting them Lithuanian. According to statistics from January 20, 1925 in the Klaipėda region 59,315 declared themselves German, 37,626 Lithuanian and 34,337 called themselves Memellander/Klaipėdiškiai. Lithuanian scholars from the interwar author Rudolfas Valsonokas to modern authors such as Petronėlė Žostautaitė and Zigmas Zinkevičius regard the Klaipėdiškiai simply as Lithuanian. The existence of a local identity is relegated by these authors to the realms of weakness of national consciousness."] The names like "Szisznionißkiai", "Memelanderiai" were used as the evidence of low level of self-consciousness. The song Lietuwininkai we are bornis understood to be the anthem of Lithuania Minor in the traditional Lithuanian point of view. The small group of pro-Lithuanian oriented Prussian Lithuanians were proclaimed as the national heroes of Lithuania Minor in the traditional Lithuanian historiography and Martynas Jankuswho did not graduate from German or any other university was proclaimed Patriarchof Lithuania Minor, while no attention was made to the majority of the population, which speak German today, and their aspirations.Installation of German language in state schools was proclaimed a cruel Germanisation. It was obvious that Lithuania Minor(as it was part of East Prussia) disappeared due to policy of Soviet Union, but no criticism could be expressed during the soviet times. Pro-soviet Lithuanian authorities purely followed their chiefs in the attitude towards Prussian Lithuanians. The emigration of Prussian Lithuanians from the former Memel Territory in 1958-1960 was named the "Repatriation of Germans" ( _lt. Vokiečių repatriacija), while mostly all Lithuanian speaking people had emigrated from their homeland.
Notable Prussian Lithuanians
Christian Donalitius, Prussian poet
Franz Domscheit, German painter
Georg Gerullis, professor in Königsberg's Albertina University
Alfred Naujocks, the man who began the war
Wilhelm Storost, philosopher
Otto D. Tolischus, American journalist, Pulitzer Prizewinner
Lena Valaitis, German schlagersinger
Klaus Wowereit, mayor of Berlin
Notes and references
* [http://gauss.suub.uni-bremen.de/suub/hist/index.jsp?id=Kt.+I-896 Map of languages in East Prussia, as of 1900] [http://gauss.suub.uni-bremen.de/suub/hist/servlet/servlet.hmap?id=245837&blatt=0 large] de icon (red = German, white = Polish, blue = Lithuanian, yellow = Latvian /
Kurlandish, green = uninhabited or thinly inhabited forest)
* [http://annaberger-annalen.de/jahrbuch/1994/Annaberg%20Nr.2%20Kap4.pdf Christoph Kairies. Das litauertum in Ostpreußen südlich des Memelstromes im jahre 1921] de icon
* [http://www.online-ofb.de/memelland Online heritage book Memelland] de icon
* lt icon
* [http://www.lithuaniaminor.org/publications.html Publications Funded by the Foundation of Lithuania Minor] lt icon
* [http://lietuvos.istorija.net/kleinlitauen/verweise.htm Kleinlitauen] de icon
* [http://www.hab.de/ausstellung/postille/expo-34.htm Bilingual Chantbook of 1667]
* [http://www.hab.de/ausstellung/postille/expo-32.htm Bilingual Bible of 1727]
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