Photos by Joanne Becker 2002, with comments provided by Steven Schmidt.
The estate at Trieglaff belonged to the Familie von Oertzen. In
1820, Adolph von Thadden of Kreis Lauenberg married Henriette von
Oertzen and later bought the estates from his mother-in-law
(Trieglaff and Vahnerow, Batzwitz). We spent a week in Europe with
Adolph's great-great-grandson Rudolf (von Thadden). A von-Thadden
ancestor had been the first nobleman to defend Luther; Rudolf's
father founded Deutschen Evangelischen Kirchentages.
Sugar beets. A word about sugar beets from Minnesota Monthly:
Sugar beets had been grown in Europe to feed livestock. In the
1700's German chemists learned to extract high-quality sugar from
certain varieties of beets, an important discovery for countries
lacking tropical colonies. The first sugar beet extraction factory
began operating in Prussia in 1802. Sugar beets are triangular
shaped root plants nearly a foot in length and six inches in
diameter at the crown. At the processing factory, beets are cleaned
and sliced by machine into thin strips. When soaked in tanks of hot
water, the strips give up sugar in liquid form. After refining, the
liquid sugar is boiled until crystallized sugar grains emerge. About
95 percent of sugar-beet sugar is sold to food and drink
manufacturers. German immigrants brought sugar beets to the United
States in the early 1800's. Today sugar beets are grown in 16 states
between the Great Lakes and the Pacific Ocean.
A row of houses perpendicular to the manor, dwellings provided for
folks who held positions on the estate or in the village. Off the
picture to the right and now gone entirely was a separate house for
The main house was built in 1904. The red-tile
roof was no more than tarpaper when I visited as the buildings are
being restored, albeit slowly since workers are scarce. The same
owner now as when Joanne visited; he's been on the place for a decade.
This is the original house built in 1680, and pretty much as it looked. The major
difference is less of a main entrance than previously. This is one
of the very few structures in the entire village that existed in the 1830's.
The church was erected by Lutherans in 1850 and is
presently Catholic. There were two lutheran churches in the village,
both active until the Russians captured and occupied Trieglaff
during WWII. One morning they went out and blew up the old one.
The white house seen beyond the church at right of this photo had
belonged to my Kiekhaefer ancestors for several centuries; members
of my family were living there until displaced after WWII. When we
visited (unannounced) last month, the family living there now
fretted that the porch was cluttered but made us welcome to walk
around the farm (and meet their dog). As in Kiekhaefer times, a
stork's nest still rests in the same place on the barn roof.
The plaque is a moving tribute to what individuals can accomplish
when governments fail. It was jointly unveiled by my host and the
Bürgermeister of Greifenberg at a peace ceremony that made headlines
in 2002: "Pax Vobis (Peace to You). To the memory of the many generations of
German Trieglaffers who lived here and were happy, and with good
wishes for every blessing on those who today have made Trieglaff
The unveiling of the Pax Vobis plaque, September 8th, 2002. At the
left, the Hon. Andrzej Szczygiel, Bürgermeister of
Gryfice/Greifenberg, with Dr. Prof. Rudolf von Thadden.
Photos by Ben Pagenkopf 2009.