As promised last week, here some more impressions about Perleberg. This nice Prussian city was founded 1239 and features really nice, ancient timber-framed houses in the town center. And prides itself to be called “Rolandstadt” after a certain knight Roland. But there was no real knight of that name anywhere around PErleberg: it is a symbol for a couple of places, that became independent cities in the Middle Ages. The name Roland comes from a heroic liege of Emperor Charelmagne, a certain Hroudlandus, who was killed in action 778 at Roncesvalles. And of course, there is a monument of Roland right at the center. It represents a free city with its own court and independence of higher aristocracy. With that came also certain trading and taxing rights. Subsequently, that meant some wealth.
This wealth lead to nice housing of which the “Knaggenhaus” is a good example of. Built in 1525, the timber – frame is decorated with golf-painted lettering and wooden figurines, depicting Jesus and some saints. The lettering says: “Disteln und Dornen stechen sehr, eine falsche Zunge noch viel mehr. So will ich lieber in Disteln und Dornen baden, als mit einer falschen Zunge sein beladen” (upper line: Thistels and thorns are very stingy, but a false tongue all the more. So I’d rather bathe in thistels and thorns than be laden with a double-dealing tongue“) and “Seh vor dich, Treue ist misslich, Treue ist ein seltener Gast, wer sie kriegt, halte sie fest” (lower line: “Beware! Fidelity is rare and an infrequent guest, who can get some: hold on to it!“)
The red brick church – the gothic St. Jacobikirche – was first build in 1294. The interior is simple and very Protestant: quite sober. Being Austrian and therefor used to the Catholic baroque, very golden pomp and circumstance, I am still surprised to see those barren houses of prayer. I liked the nice wooden carving around the altar, though.
But the best discovery was a little note hanging in the vestibule. I discovered it while waiting for sweetheart, who went to the toilet.
It tells a moving story and of a tragedy: A trek of more than thousand emigrant Austrian protestants – having been banished from their homes in Pongau by the Catholic Archbishop of Salzburg – made their way through Perleberg from Sptember 27th – 29th, 1732. They were part of over 20 000 protestants fleeing Austria, being the last leg, leaving in Austria on July 30th. Took them two months to walk the over thousand kilometers by foot. The citizens of Perleberg welcomed their guests, housed and fed them, holding a public holiday on the 28th. Which was overcast by the death of a certain Magdalena Mudricken, mother of 5, who died the previous night. She was buried on the same day, as her husband with the kids and grandmother had to join the trek the next morning on their way to Königsberg. The panel was given to the town of Perleberg from the desendants of said exiles in 2004 to thank the community for their help.
What a nice and moving story to discover!