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Map Letter Report
Notes 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
On this webpage I bring Georg Neumann‘s map. After that follows a letter from Georg Neumann to me, which consists of one page covering letter and of 4 pages of a report and then still this map, which is brought here at the beginning of this webpage. After that follow notes from me.
Georg Neumann Dieburg, 02.03.1994
Gisela and I wish you all the best for your birthday and for the new year of your life. . . .
I have recently written a small article for the Marienburg home newspaper and looked through old records for the preparation. On that occasion I remembered your question regarding the events in January 1945, about which we had spoken at your visit last year. Cause was a report about 1945, for which our cousin Waltraud Hilke had asked me several years ago. I thought that you perhaps still have interest in such a summary and send you a copy of my carbon copy. The map, of which is spoken of in the text, I cannot copy, but I have drawn up replacement for you and stuck in the data from January 1945 as coloured dots. For the advance of the Soviet army I have used data from the literature, which I have standing with me. The report is of course related to my own experiences, but when you add the diary of your mother, you certainly have a complete picture.
In the meantime I have also read the book about the Salzburg emigrants and learned a lot with it. Afterwards I have written to the Salzburg organization in Berlin on the basis of your reference and asked for information. I received a quite interesting answer, which though contained no reference to the family of my father. This family is probably not known at all to the organization, because the "Gollub" was indeed probably only created about 1930. So when I want further clarity, I probably have to try to find suitable sources myself.
Most hearty greetings, also from Gisela,
Dr. Georg Neumann
Am Forst 51
23. September 1989
Report about war experiences from the years 1944 and 1945
Beginning August - 20.11.1944
Building of trenches and tank trenches (so-called "shovel deployment"), first for about 4 weeks near (see map X: Grünhagen at the Damerauer See), immediately afterwards in Niedermühle, railway station Schirpitz at the railway line Thorn - Bromberg, finally 1 week as camp guard near Kulmsee.
Uncle Bruno was instructor in Potsdam. In the middle of January 1945 he had leave and was visiting Kranthau for a couple of days. On the 19.01.45 he was on the return trip and interrupted it in Marienburg to visit us.
Uncle Bruno did not feel well (flue?) and lay down on the sofa in the living room for the after-lunch sleep. While he was sleeping, one of our customers – an engine driver – reported to my mother about the critical situation at the front, from where he had just come with a train. My mother passed this on to Uncle Bruno. He listened to the next radio news and decided to go back to Kranthau and to organize the immediate escape. Because of his uncertain state of health he asked me to accompany him.
In the evening Uncle Bruno and I went direction Allenstein to Horn with a scheduled train (according to timetable reprint of 1941 it could have been 19:45 o’clock) and walked afterwards to Preuß. The train was overcrowded with military and travelled completely blacked out.
Early in the morning Uncle Bruno rode to Reichau. When he arrived with Aunt Emma, Charlotte and Regina in Kranthau, I no longer know exactly, but I believe it was the same evening.
During the day also in Kranthau a horse carriage was prepared for the escape. Also refugees, who were quartered with Preuß, prepared themselves to travel on (compare report of Aunt Lina in Ellinor’s documentation page 224/225).
During the whole day one heard constantly a far, dull booming.
About 10 o’clock our trek departed from Kranthau, and that is first to Mohrungen. The intention, to carry on to direction Maldeuten, was given up due to the very slippery and overcrowded road. We instead drove in north direction to Hagenau. Since the road had been used little, it was heavy driving in the deep snow. We reached Hagenau about in the evening and stayed overnight there. Before that Uncle Bruno phoned Löpen.
- 2 –
On this day Hitler youth leaders in Marienburg went from house to house to gather male youth – allegedly to clear snow in the fortifications before the town. My mother prepared for her own escape, by preparing piece-goods with bedding, clothing and silver for railway transport. An acquaintance brought it for her to the dispatch of goods on the opposite side. Some of it reached Hamburg and came 1946 or 1947 to Bad Salzdetfurth with the help of a sister of my father.
About 7 o’clock our trek travelled on in direction Buchwalde. On the way we met Aunt Gertrud; she came from Löpen to meet us. My mother had asked her, to fetch me there. Now she accompanied us to Löpen, where we arrived about 14 o’clock at Gehrmann.
Still before it gets dark Aunt Gertrud and I went to the railway station Pollwitten (I am sure that the last piece was a march). We were lucky, because there stood a non-scheduled train ready to leave. It consisted of quite different kinds of wagons, presumably a construction help train, which was not occupied fully. The people came from the region of Osterode. The train was unheated, so that it was perhaps -10oC in it.
About at 20 o’clock the train reached Miswalde. There it was said the line to Marienburg is overcrowded, we had to travel to Elbing. That happened, and about at 23 o’clock the train arrived in the station Eschenhorst, about 8 km before Elbing (see attached map: Red markings)*).
[*) This sentence in brackets is crossed out]
At midday of this day my mother had left Marienurg with the train and with far too much hand luggage in direction west.
Since the train did not travel on, Aunt Gertrud and I got off about 2 o’clock. In the station building we heard that it was uncertain when the train would be able to travel on. In addition it was known that the Soviet tank head has reached already Miswalde hours ago.
This news caused us to march to Grunau at the railway line Elbing - Marienburg.
On the way we met no-one; only the incessant booming lay in the air. About in the morning we reached Grunau. In the village there was a military office, in which we enquired about travel possibility. That was not there, but we were told that Miswalde had been taken by the Soviets. Also at the station they were of the opinion there is little prospect of a train to Marienburg. So we went to the road Elbing – Marienburg at sunrise (c. 2.5 km).
The road was overcrowded with treks and military columns, which moved next to each other. Occasionally there was a hold-up, and at such an occasion we succeeded to be taken with by a truck of the "Organisation Todt". It transported office furnishings, and we sat on top of the furniture in biting cold. About at 11 o’clock we reached Marienburg.*)
*) About this time the trek Gehrm. (Preuß) Weiß must have heard fighting in the region Reichenbach and decided the detour over Markushof. [This remark is not as the rest of the letter in typewriter writing, but in handwriting.]
In about two hours we managed to change clothing, to eat warm and to tie some bundles, which fitted on my sledge. Then we walked through the town in direction Nogat Bridge.
- 3 –
About at the cinema "Capitol" the crew of a military truck picked us up. In slow speed it was going over the road bridge and as from Kalthof in relatively speedy speed, passed Dirschau on the south to Preußisch Stargard, the destination of the car. We arrived there about 18 o’clock. The NSV office assigned us into a soap factory, where emergency accommodation had been arranged with straw spilling. The two (?) stories of the factory were overcrowded with refugees.
About this time the Soviet tank head, coming from the south, broke east of Elbing through to the Frische Haff. (Source: Gustav Figuth: Marienburg 1945, Schild-Verlag 1985). The trek Gehrmann/Preuß/Weiß must have left this area shortly before and was presumably south west of the Drausensee (compare report of Aunt Lina and attached map: Blue marks) • • • • •
Wednesday, 24.01.1945 Aunt Gertrud and I camped in the ground floor of the soap factory. In a conversation that happened with a camp neighbour in the same room, Aunt Gertrud received the information that my mother could have also found accommodation in the soap factory. She immediately goes seeking and finds my mother quickly in the upper storey.
About this time the trek Gehrmann/Preuß/Weiß left Marienburg.
After sunrise Aunt Gertrud, my mother and I left Preußish Stargard by foot in direction Berlin. There was little traffic; I can’t remember refugee treks, and it seems as if the people west of the Weichsel River believed to be already safe.
A larger vehicle of the air force took us with to Schneidemühl, where we arrived in the evening. On the way there were no obstacles at all, but before Schneidemühl we had to – already in darkness - go on forest tracks round a just closed tank barrier: A soviet tank head had almost reached the town.
The soldiers drove us to the railway station. There we waited afterwards, in the middle of a large crowd of people, for a train in direction west. During this time there were detonations away; the light went out, and all waiting people streamed into the pedestrian tunnels. When after a while calmness occurred again and the light was switched on, an occupied military hospital train pulled in at the platform. We succeeded getting in there among the first, and we were allowed to stay. Only about 24 o’clock the train left Schneidemühl.
In the evening of this day the Soviet advance reached the outer defence ring of Marienburg (Source: G.Figuth see above)
About at 11 o’clock the military hospital train reached Küstrin. Since it was to travel on to Sachsen, we have left it. About 12.30 o’clock we left Küstrin with a scheduled train in direction Berlin. After repeated changes we arrived at about 18 o’clock with the S-bahn in Potsdam. Aunt Elly was immediately able to put us up with neighbours.
- 4 –
Our stay in Potsdam lasted exactly two weeks. On Monday, the 29.01.1945, Uncle Bruno returned to Potsdam. Upon his advice we tried to obtain accommodation in West Germany, also for Aunt Elly and Monika. Marlies Schneider reacted immediately with a telegram; she has accommodation ready; we are to come quickly. When it was definite that Uncle Bruno’s unit would move out on the 08.02.1945, we planned the departure for the 09.02.45.
About at 3 o’clock we travelled – now five of us – with the first S-bahn to Berlin. At daybreak in the Potsdamer Bahnhof (Potsdamer station), Berlin, we got on a scheduled train to Halberstadt; arrival c. 13 o’clock.
We were wrongly advised to get off there, because the train travelled to Goslar, so that from there we would probably have arrived still the same evening in Bad Salzdetfurth. After long waiting time only in the evening a train to Hildesheim came, which departed about 19.30 o’clock.
About 1 o’clock (at night) arrival in Groß-Düngen. Overnight stay on benches and chairs in the waiting room. C. 9.40 o’clock departure, c. 10.00 o’clock arrival in Bad Salzdetfurth
Signed G. Neumann
Attachment: Map section
To read this webpage it should be opened in two windows in the browser, so that the map is on one side, and the text on the other.
First something about orientation. On top the blue area is the Baltic Sea. More exact the Danzig Bay. The city of Danzig is on top at the left. The tip of the Hela peninsular is at the very top to the left. The map is therefore one of the few maps, which shows this area with German names, but does not come from the time before the war, because it shows the border of what is today Poland, in the south, and Russia in the north (Königsberg): the thick red dotted line, about horizontally. It starts on the Frische Nehrung and then proceeds on the main land in direction east. The left part of the map is West Prussia and the right East Prussia. The map is quite detailed, and one can recognize many details, particularly when one presses Strg and + and therefore enlarges the map. There is for example the Autobahn from Elbing to Königsberg. The original map, which Georg used, therefore comes from the time after the war and his entries from the year 1994, a gift, which I received at my 55th birthday.
Above this just mentioned border is Heiligenbeil, situated close to the Frische Haff. My ancestor Gottfried Lembcke was born 1741. He was tenant at Rissilz, I did not find that place, and has married Juliane Roeckner on the 22.11.1776 in Heiligenbeil. In the family tree he is on the father’s side the oldest forefather and Lembckes, or later Lemkes, were Salzburger. Heiligenbeil is therefore for me the earliest place of my descent.
Further to the left is Frauenburg, also near the Frische Haff. It is the place of Copernicus, 1473-1543, who made the idea of the solar system popular; this was only known before his time to spiritual awakened people, but they became less and less and so it fell into oblivion. The constantly increasing ignorance of mankind leads directly into the abyss, and the two world wars are examples of it.
The map Kingdom of Prussia, shows the Ermland and the date 1772 and also that Frauenburg is in the Ermland. This can be an indication that Frauenburg did not belong to Prussia before 1772.
Mohrungen is south of Heiligenbeil, so about in the centre of the map. Mohrungen is the place of my birth. To the right of Mohrungen is the Narien See, Lake Narien, and at its western end in the south was our farm situated, where I lived until the 21st of January 1945. That is the blue dot with the number 21. written on it. Kranthau is the place and lies on the 20th meridian. Here the escape started and ended on the 29.03.1945 on the 10th meridian east in Bad Salzdetfurth.
The blue dots, on which the dates of January 1945 are written, and the blue spotted line show the course of our escape in East and West Prussia and the red entries the movements of the Soviet army. There are 4 dots with the entry 23., two blue ones and two red ones, and they indicate that the crossing point was perhaps reached by us before the time when the Soviets reached it, but perhaps also after that, and that we used a gap to cross it. On the 24th it then became once again close. There the Soviets came from both sides. That with the gap could be in connection with what my mother writes that from Löpen to Marienburg at least 70 km were travelled. On the 23.01.1945 the journey began in the morning in Löpen and after 18 hours we put into Marienburg at 3 o’clock at night, on the 24.01.1945. We therefore left Löpen at 9 o’clock. That is about 4 km/h. The distance from Löpen to Marienburg is about 40 km; therefore not much more than half of the 70 km and this gives the appearance that apparent detours were travelled, but these detours were part of the guidance, or rather providence, to guide us so that we were at the right place at the right time and reached the crossing point then, when it was safe.
For me this map of Georg, and therefore the 23rd of January 1945, is a thing, which I remember again and again. It gives me the firm faith in my confession that the Lord saves me from all trouble.
This statement that the Lord saves me from all trouble indeed does not mean that we do not get into dangerous situations. It also indeed does not mean that we will automatically be saved out of every dangerous situation. What it means is that we will then be saved out of dangerous situations when we do this saying, and when we believe that, what we say. The walk with God is the decisive thing. To again and again call God into memory makes a difference.
Jesus says in Matthew 24:20: Pray that your flight will not take place in winter.
And that is what happened to us. It took place in winter. Again and again the diaries mention snow being a problem. There was biting cold. Biting wind. The road was slippery. Children were frozen stiff. Finding accommodation was a big problem.
But all this is no problem for God. God can save – if we want him to save us. If we agree with God and do not speak words against the word of God.
Still a remark to Georg’s map. On his map is Posilge printed, but the escape route, which he has entered by hand, goes past to the north of Posilge. Posilge is about 15 km east of Marienburg. In the escape diary is this: "At Brodsende or Posilge, at a crossroads, we met veterinary surgeon Major Jäschke from Mohrungen, very well known to me, who had the assignment with some soldiers to bring a remonte (young horses) depot over the Weichsel River." But the escape diary does not say directly that we travelled through Posilge, it says "at" and "or" and therefore it can be that Georg’s map is quite correct. In addition there are maps that show Markushof and Brodsende rather as areas and not as distinct places.
One can see Kahlberg on the Frische Nehrung. On the 2.7.1939 a staff outing was made there. Cadinen and Tolkemit are also seen, on the mainland next to the Frische Haff. In Cadinen a picture was made, which was in the family album, and in Tolkemit a change took place from 3 motor cars to a steamer.
Tannenberg can be found at the bottom to the right, south of Osterode and east of Dtsch. Eylau. Tannenberg is the symbol of the invasion of the Russians in the First World War; also then my mother and my grandmother fled already, only that they then returned again to the farm. And this experience has probably caused that in the Second World War such a return was considered as possibility and may have influenced decisions.
^ Note 11
Georg Neumann reports about Tuesday, the 23.01.1945, 2 o'clock in the morning: one knew, "that the Soviet tank front had already reached Miswalde around 23 o'clock". This 23 o'clock was therefore on Monday, the 22.01.1945. And his map shows that the Soviet advance took place east of the Drausensee (Drausen Lake).
When one now looks at the Home Map of district Mohrungen Part1, the the crossing of the Oberländer Kanals is possible east of Hirschfeld, see also the map "Umgebung von Elbing", and Hirschfeld lies north of Miswalde and between them is a road and on this road, halfway, lies Reichenbach.
Miswalde and Reichenbach, north of Miswalde, and then Hirschfeld, again north of Reichenbach, are all three shown on Georg's map.
We left Löpen on the 23.01.1945 at 09:00 o'clock, and to Reichenbach it is less than 8 km and with 3,9 km/h with a sleigh, we were then 2 hours later, therefore at 11 o'clock in Reichenbach.
And at the same time, therefore on the morning of the 23.01.1945, the Soviet tanks advanced then further to the north, from Miswalde to Reichenbach, only further to the west, and busy cutting off our way to the west.
Still in Löpen we heard gun fire and Löpen is only 6 km east of the road from Miswalde to Reichenbach, from where these shots may have come from.
And in Reichenbach we again heard gun fire, "from the other side", and that will have been from the south, because we did not travel further as planned:
In the morning we departed from Löpen in the greatest hurry. As there was good sleigh path, it now went quickly onwards to Reichenbach. Here we now heard gun fire from the other side. For that reason we now did not travel as planned over Christburg-Stuhm, but direction Posilge, through the flats past Markushof. Enormous treks from all ways approaching the main road.
The second reason for the change of direction therefore seems to have been that on the "main road", therefore the one to Christburg, was too much traffic.
The point of intersection of our route and that of the tanks was therefore probably the place Reichenbach, and to escape from this place was therefore decisive.
We therefore also left Reichenbach, since there was good sleigh path, quite quickly, and therefore moved away from that place, which was probably shortly afterwards reached by the tanks.
And the gun fire could have even come from the tanks, because they shot at everything with their machine guns what came into their sight, and tanks of the Wehrmacht were probably absent and so we heard no tank cannons.
And the new snow, which was discovered early on Tuesday, the 23.01.1945, and led us to travel on with sleighs, was the work of God, to let us get away quickly.
And since there was good sleigh path, it now also caused us to move forward quickly to Marienburg, also just before there that town was surrounded by tanks.
From Löpen to Marienburg it is less than 40 km, but the escape diary writes that the escape route was at least 70 km, and that was perhaps, because detours were travelled. And the detours were probably travelled to avoid blocked roads.
For aunt Gertrud and cousin Georg this point of intersection of their escape route and the route of the tanks was Miswalde.
On Monday, the 22.01.1945, in the evening, they walked to the railway station Pollwitten, and travelled with a train to Miswalde, which they reached about 20 o'clock, and at 23 o'clock they reached the railway station Eschenhorst, to the west of the Drausensee. At this time, at 23 o'clock, also the tanks reached Miswalde, therefore 3 hours after they had left Miswalde.
From Löpen to the station Pollwitten it is somewhat more than 5 km. From Löpen to the station of Miswalde it is somewhat more than 8 km. And from the station of Miswalde to Marienburg it is somewhat more than 36 km. When Gertrud and Georg would not have walked to the station Pollwitten, but immediately to the station Miswalde, then they would have had to walk only 3 km more, but would have arrived long before the tanks, and when they then had carried on walking, what they could have done easily, since they had no luggage, and also blocked roads would not have held them up, they would have arrived long before the tanks in Marienburg. But that is actually not what it is all about.
Also the people of our trek could have walked on foot from Löpen to Marienburg, exactly like Gertrud and Georg, or could also have ridden on horses. But what it is all about, is indeed to let go, according to the given circumstances, and according to the given degree of willingness, of material goods, and then still to get rescued. God always has possibilities to rescue, even so it appears impossible humanly seen.
But all this being rescued helps very little, when the rescued people do not draw the obvious conclusions from it for the rest of their life and learn to always rely on God and to again and again return in thoughts to God and to learn to live a life completely with God.
And so it will be at the end. After the great earthquake only few survivors will draw the obvious conclusions and live the short time until the real end so, that they also take part in the rapture, therefore being rescued, and do not end in the abyss.
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