Zirkwitz:  a village of large holdings and peasants

as translated from the Chronik des Kreises Greifenberg written by Von Dr. Albert Ulrich aus Woedtke

Administrative region:    Zirkwitz
Church Region:             Zirkwitz
RR Station:                  Guetzelfitz
Distance:                      Greifenberg 13 km
Distance:                      Treptow 12 km
Area:                            1362 hectares
Inhabitants:                   511

Located at the intersection of county roads Treptow-Cammin and Greifenberg-Standdoerfer, the prominent church points to the location of the village and the incredible stories indicate a living place with a historical past.  Even though only a village of average size, it is important as the center of other surrounding dwellings.

In 1321 and 1325 there was a Teslaw von Zirkwitz and one also finds the name Ganskin von Zirkwitz who is a valet and vassal of the monastery.  The interplay of ownership becomes apparent only with the appearance of the nobles von Woedtke.  In their genealogy is noted Henning von Woedtke on Woedtke and Zirkwitz, married to Maria von Manteufel.  1462-1485 are living here Simon and Priskus on Woedtke and Zirkwitz as well as Kurt on Zirkwitz.  As military duty of the nobles in 16th century, must Albrecht Woitke de Czirkewitze provide 3 horses and he has Simons and Fritzens Gudt.

In the register of 1628 are noted: the Woitken at Zirkwitz, 3 small cottages 3 Kossaeten (small landholders) one miller, one potter Wulff, 5 small cottages 4 Kossaeten and one shepherd.  The small number of cottages points to other part owners who were not mentioned.  In 1655, owner Adrian von Woedtke with small farmers Joahim, Davis and Peter Zimdarse, the Kossaeten Ohm, Kasten, Niemoth and Ganske.  A tablet in the Church shows that H.K. von Knessen, born 1660, passed on in 1720, was the lord of Zirkwitz.

In 1766 Adrian and Niklas von Woedtke are owners.  In 1717 St. von Woedtke is owner with peasants Goedeke and Hannemann, the Kossaeten Kope and Streich.  The planting comprises each 2/4 lh, 16 measures of rye (3k) 8 measures of barley (4.k) 12 measures of oats (2 1/2 K).  They serve the whole week with their team of 2 horses and during harvest using a 3 horse team, the Kossaeten with one person on foot and a 2 horse team.  During harvest they get beer, the peasants of von Woedtke get 3 lunches.  The abandoned farmsteads became that way before recorded time, but 3 of them are now small cottages with people living in them while 1 was used as a sheep farm.  In addition, there was one small cottage on a field belonging to a knight's property.

In 1743 the chamber counsel von Woedtke sold his large holding in Gross Zapplin with 2 peasant farms for 1500 TI (unit of currency) to major G.L. von Kameke.  However, the same had to give the property back because the families which were beholden to the original owner had the right of first refusal and so the general major Egaart von Woedtke exercised this option.  Upon his demise in 1756, his 4 sons inherited the whole and the register mentions Woedtke, Zirkwitz and Busalr, taxable value: 40,000 TI.  Then, Ltnt. Heinrich von Woedtke took over Zirkwitz for 16,500 TI later exchanging it for Buslar (county Pyritz) belonging to his brother, major F.W. Woedtke.  At this time, a Kasimir von Grumbkow also named as part owner of Zirkwitz.

Fridrich Wilhelm von Woedtke sold his forest manor with its small wooden cottage locatec in the forest of Pribbernow, to J. Wesenberg, presently owner of Ruetzow, for the sum of 1,000 TI.  He also leaves Zirkwitz tp jos brother major Leopold Woedtke.  It is to be noted that the same leopold already in 1770 instituted the separation of the acreages and meadows between the propertyof the nobles, the parish and the peasants.  The corresponding map shows the names of peasants: Wagnerin, Zimdars junior, Rode, Erdman der Schulze Hemmerling, Zimdars senior and the Kossaeten Weber, Labs and Ziemer.  In 1776, the King gave 4,700 TI for improvements fnd from this 4 half farms and a sheep farm has been built as well as an outer farm complex on the way to Guetzelfitz, named Heidhof.  At the same time, parish priest Stenger started improving the parish holdings and he even built a dutch outer farm complex.  In 1789, one von Muenhow was part owner of Zirkwitz.

In 1780 there is noted with Brueggemann: Zirkwitz with a sheep farm in the village, outside located Heidhof a windmill a preacher, a potter, 8 peasants that were former Kossaeten, with the smith 4 Kossaeten one woodsman and 24 fireplaces.  There also was mentioned the from former times inherited "cowcourt" where disputes were settled between cattle minders and owners under supervision of the preacher and a church elder this taking place in front of the alter.

Major Leopold von Woedtke declared bankruptcy and had to sell in 1785.  The lot was bought by Ernst von Muenchow, as the highest bidder, for 19,900 TI.  This included all the mill equipment and the right to will to his descendants.  In 1779, Zirkwitz passes to Julius von dem Osten who was the chairman of Osten county and lived on his property in Wisbu. 

The von dem Osten on Plathe acquired by exchange all the inherited parts of the Karnitz family who had the lord's rights over Zirkwitz after the Woedtke family.  The chairman Osten sold all this to Johann Jacob Zitzwitz his son's father in law.  That Zitzwitz had first married the widow of mill master Loeper and as second marriage the daughter of pharmacy owner Steffen in Greifenberg which explains his buying power as the price was 37,500 TI.  After his death, the heiress is a daughter married to Ltnt. Friedrich A. Ch. von dem Osten.

The tax value of the property was 36,000 TI.  Following his demise, 10 siblings inherit the lot, 8 choose to be paid off and 2 sons: Karl Otto and August Friedrich Willhelm take over.  The jurist Karl Otto leases the property to his brother to be managed.

In 1827 there are noted: Zirkwitz with leaseholds Johanneshof and Heidhof, the main church one windmill and 230 inhabitants who are: Schultz Erdmann, peasant Erdmann, buedner Witt, smith Nitz, potter Groth, miller Pankow, woodsman Resemann, shepherd Riek, day laborers Weber, Mueller, Post, Wegner Ollmann, Zirbel, Dreier Zimdars, Wegner, Hemmerlin, widow Brand.  In 1853, 2 farmsteads have horses the others do not.

The regulation of the peasant situation happens in 1817 and the separation 1820-1840 the suppression of the land duty in 1832.  Between 1835-1848 there is litigation of the condition of the Kaessaten because according to the law they were not necessarily subject to suppression.

After the death of von dem Osten the future of family bound property is difficult because nobody can manage to put together the capital needed to acquire it.  Therefore, the lot is leased to a family member von Dulong who runs the property like a race horse stable.  In this way the leasees get poorer and the property looses value.  Government and heirs push for a sale.  Wilhelm von Sydow who later bcame major get the property as the highest bidder for 500,000 M.  He was the former owner of Bychow, county Lauenburg and of Wendish-Pribbenow and was married to Sophie Philippine  von dem Osten.

1892, holding Zirkwitz has 559 ha, taxes taken in total 7547 Mark, there are 45 horses, 152 cattle with 77 cows, 842 sheep and 132 pigs.  Heir is son Albrecht who, after WWI created the outer farmsteads Bauske and Libau.  He chose these names as remembrances of his service as farming officer in the Baltics.  In Bauske there was a sheep farm and a barn.  In Libau, a peasant dwelling bought from widow Klug, lived an old inspector.

1914, Albrecht von Sydow on Zirkwitz there are 40 horses, 157 cattle with 60 cows, 373 sheep and 220 hogs.  The heir was the 3rd son Fritz von Sydow who bought in 1938 the farm holding Peterfitz in county Kolberg who died near the end of WWII at Berliln.  His sons, Heinrich, Albrecht and Friedrich, have been expulsed by the Poles together with their employees and all the inhabitants of the village in 1947.

Explanation of some terms: Kossaet--owner of a small farm      TI--unit of currency

                                M--Mark--unit of currency  Lh--unit of area = 19.65 hectares= 48.55 Acres