THE town Friedrich Ferdinand HOHENHAUS called home, Deutsch Krone (or 'German Crown' in English), located about 250 km north-east of Berlin, is credited with a turbulent history and more than a touch of mystery.
The area has a long and proud Polish heritage. Several residents of Walcz (pronounced something like Varlch in English) have contacted me to point out that the name Deutsch Krone was only applied to the town long after it had been founded by Polish-speaking people. Whatever its origins, it seems clear that this part of Europe played host to numerous invasions and battles throughout the centuries.
Evidently, the name Walcz is linked to a former Polish King and was probably originally Walczen (meaning village of Walcz?). One correspondent assures me that it was founded in the 12th century and today hosts a population of about 28,000 people. Officially it is in the province Wojewodztwo Zachodniopomorskie, whose capital is Szczecin to the north.
An unconfirmed report says Deutsch Krone was previously also known as Arnskrone by its German-speaking residents. Situated in the province of Posen, West Prussia, it's said to have been settled by the German-speaking people from 1303 to 1368; recaptured in 1772 and re-occupied until the end of WW2.
From the Middle Ages until the late 18th century, various invaders are said to have included soldiers for Sweden and France. During WW2, the surrounding hills were host to many fierce battles between German and Russian troops.
I've read that the 1938 population of Deutsch Krone was about 15,000. After WW2, this dwindled to fewer than 7000 residents. Nevertheless, during my visit to the town in March 1992, I was surprised to see that some of the older sections had retained a degree of their old-world charm and distinctive architecture.