Finding more Prussian ancestors in Rawitsch was on the agenda in the afternoon.
Read part 1 of this ancestral visit here.
So far, I’ve found over 200 German-speaking ancestors who lived in Rawitsch. Beginning abt 1680 with my 6-g-grandparents, all the records I have found are Evangelische (Lutheran). On other trips, I’ve stood in ancient churches where my ancestors were born and married. However, in a region that has been as contested Posen, I wasn’t sure if the church would still be there.
Prussian Ancestors at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church
The first Lutheran church was built in Rawitsch in 1639, just a year after King Władysława IV signed the edict creating Rawicz as a city. Located on the town square, this half-timbered building burned in the town fire of 1707. Another wooden building was erected in 1724-1729. It too was destroyed in a town fire in 1801.
Then famed Prussian master builder Carl Gotthard Langhans designed a Neoclassical replacement church. Langhans’ best-known work is the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.
A third fire in 1915 destroyed all but the outside walls of the church. In the next reconstruction in 1915-1917, the present church retained Langhans’ design. Reinforced concrete substituted for wood. After the Second World War, the church became part of the Archbishopric of Poznan. The featured image above is the interior of the Kościół Świętego Andrzeja Boboli. Thanks to Wikimedia photographer Dawid Galus.
It was satisfying to be in the place, if not the actual surviving building, where my ancestors had worshipped.
As a medieval town, Rawitsch was once surround by moats and defensive walls. During the 1830s, the moat was filled in. Over the next few years, the City Beautification Association (formed in 1837!) planted the embankments with trees and shrubs. The path is now a park with a 3-kilometer walking path that preserves the original, rare rectangular shape of the town’s defensive walls.
Another great feature of the town is a memorial at what was the Lutheran cemetery. It is placed in memory “of the inhabitants of German nationality born in Rawicz in the name of reconciliation between the German and Polish nations.” Very generous, considering what the Poles suffered at the hands of Germans.
So, American sports bars are not my favorite places, with sporting events on many giant flat-screen TVs and a rowdy crowd cheering along. But the Restauracja Sportowa Rawicz.is a wonderful sportowa with excellent Polish food and beer, catering to locals and those using the sports field and city pool next door. I believe the excellent care and feeding of the non-genealogist spouse is essential. So Schnitzel all round and local beer for George and we were ready to resume our exploration of Rawitsch.
One of George’s rules is that you haven’t visited a place until you’ve had your picture taken pointing at the object of interest. Here is proof that George went all the way to Rawitsch and got some great Schnitzel in the bargain. And I found more Prussian ancestors. Win-win!