A Kashubian Heritage

By: Peter von Pazatka Lipinsky (First published in 2000)

Historians will have a difficult time finding much written material about a little known ethnic group of people, called the Kashubians. In a document dated in the year 1238, Bogislav 1. Called himself " The Duke of Kashubia and Duke of Pomerania." (Now the Polish province of Pomorskie.)

In the year 1268, "Bishop Hermann of Cammin" mentioned the Kashubians as a ethnic group of people living in the area of Pomerania. The Kashubians never achieved any political influence in Pomerania, due to their relatively small numbers. In the district of Bytow, the census from 1905 showed only 1035 Kashubians. In all of West-Prussia, the Kashubians accounted for approximately 4% of the total population. The Kashubians are of Slavic descent, but they are not Polish or German. In the last 30 years or so, strong efforts have been made by the Polish government to preserve the Kashubian heritage. The "Kaszubskie" museum in Bytow reflects this commitment.

When I visited the birth place of my Great-Grandfather, I walked along the main road leading right through the middle of the little sleepy village of Glizno in the province of Pomorskie. My thoughts went back many years ago and I tried to visualize what my Great-Grandfather looked like and what kind of work he did to make a living. Most likely my Great-Grandfather had to work on the land, which is not very good farming land, at least in this area. The land is so poor, that one of the local folklore says: "A Jackrabbit will need 1000 Acres of pasture to feed himself and he will still have to steal more food to survive".  So how did my ancestors farm the land?

A visit to the Kashubian museum in the City of Bytow will enlighten the visitor considerably, how our ancestors carved a living out of the relatively poor soil. The Kashubian museum is located in the old castle in the City of Bytow. The castle dates back to the Teutonic Knights and the 14th century. The museum opened in 1972 and on display is a large number of items depicting the life of the early Kashubian farmers. The collection of items on display consists of at Least 2,500 different items, ranging from wooden eating utensils to beautiful hand painted pottery and needle artwork. A row of oil portraits of all the old Pomeranian Dukes is also on display. Since 1992 the museum is located in the north wing of the castle. In 1980 the south wing of the castle was converted into a hotel and restaurant. After spending several hours viewing and examining all the different displays, a visit to the restaurant will restore anybody's energy.

The menu features local specialties at very reasonable prices.

Visitors to the castle will also have a very good view of the surrounding fields, forest and lakes from the top of the towers. The beauty of the landscape will explain, while this part of Pomerania is also known as the " Kashubian Switzerland ". It has been said that the weary traveler staying at the hotel in the castle will hear and see around midnight the ghost of the old Dukes, who used to live at the castle. They just want to see from time to time if everything is in order. Of course you don't have to believe the ghost story. But why don’t you find out for yourself? I did.

For more information you should contact:

Obiekt Hotelowo - Gastreonomiczny

Zamek

77 - 100 Bytow

ul. Zamkowa 2

Pomorskie, Poland

 

 

 

"My Kashubian Heritage" was first published in 2008.  Only a very limited number of copies were printed. It was never intended to sell copies of this book to the general public. However, a copy of this book has been placed  in several archives and museums in Poland and in a few genealogical  libraries in Canada, Germany and U.S.A.