Poles, Germans and Kashubians. Everyday life, customs and folk culture on the Hochpaleschken estate in West Prussia around 1900
The photo exhibition put together by the Herder Institute in collaboration with the Brüder-Grimm Museum Kassel, then shown in many locations in Germany and Poland and finally handed over to the Kashubian Open-Air Museum on permanent loan when Poland joined the EU, gives an impressive and artistically sophisticated view of life in a characteristic part of West Prussia, Kashubia, one hundred years ago.
West Prussia is an extremely interesting yet problematic region of East Central Europe: National and political affiliations have changed many times between the Middle Ages and the present day, and its ethnic, national and cultural complexity make this region “between Germans and Poles” a paradigm of complex German-Polish relations.
The photographs are a selection from a holding acquired by the Herder Institute from the descendants of Alexander Treichel. There are approx. 200 photographs from the time around 1890-1900 showing life and work through all seasons on the West Prussian Hochpaleschken/Wilcze Błota estate in the district of Berent/Kościerzyna, as well as neighbouring estates such as Altbukowitz, Altkischau, Kischau castle and others. Mainly shown are the lord of the manor Alexander Treichel, his family and inspectors, workers and servants employed on his estate when carrying out their work and during festivities.
The photographic documentation instigated by Alexander Treichel in around 1900 presents a really idyllic alternative to the problematic aspects of coexistence intimated in the past and the difficult proximity of different peoples and cultures and population groups with ethnic, linguistic and denominational differences. The photographs almost conjure up the peaceful coexistence of Poles, Germans and Kashubians – the latter as a type of minority.
To accompany the exhibition and with explanatory texts in German, Polish and Kashubian, the curators Bernhard Lauer and Hanna Nogossek have published a richly-illustrated catalogue in German and Polish. This publication contains written contributions on the history, region and culture of West Prussia, the estates in the region and on Alexander Treichel and his activities, as well as on the culture, literature and language of the Kashubians.
An exhibition by the Herder Institute and the Brüder-Grimm Museum Kassel.