Back to another post about Malbork Castle….
The Germans had a marvellous idea in the 1870s that they would create a large and impressive statue of Frederick the Great (1718-1786) which would stand two metres high. Frederick was the King of Prussia between 1740 and 1786 and responsible for the First Partition of Poland, which was to ultimately destroy the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The aim of their great statue was to have four figures underneath it, each of whom was an important Teutonic Grand Master.
Hermann von Salza, Grand Master from 1209 until 1239, who secured the status of the Teutonic Order.
Siegfried von Feuchtwangen, Grand Master from 1303 until 1311, who moved the Teutonic Order base to Prussia.
Winrich von Kniprode, Grand Master from 1351 until 1382, the longest serving holder of the office.
Albert of Brandenburg-Ansbach, Grand Master from 1510 until 1525, who turned the Order into a Protestant one following the Reformation (it’s been Catholic again since the 1920s).
The aim of this little arrangement was to show the continuity between the Teutonic Order and the Prussian Kings, with the statues placed in the central courtyard of Malbork Castle which would make them hard for visitors to miss. The statues were all designed by Rudolf Simering and they were unveiled on 9 October 1877.
Unfortunately, like a lot of things at the castle, they were badly damaged during the Second World War. The statue of Frederick the Great has been entirely lost, although the four Grand Masters are still here and have since been repaired and restored. Their arrangement today looks a bit random, but they once stood in each corner of the grand monument that had Frederick the Great on top of them. I’m not sure what Frederick the Great would have thought about all this…..