[Ger-Poland-Volhynia] Free English language book on German villages in Mazovia

Jerry Frank FranklySpeaking at shaw.ca
Sun Feb 15 16:20:44 PST 2009

I have been debating myself for some time now whether to include that 
link from our website or not. The entire book is a very long download. 
If you want to browse through the village descriptions yourself, start at:


Opposite the search box on the right side you will see an arrow. Click 
that to work your way through the villages. You can also use the search 
box to find a specific village but it will require an exact spelling 
match and you will struggle with switching between Polish and English 
language pages.

The reason I have been reluctant to include the link even though some of 
the villages details are excellent, is that the entire website and book 
are based on the blatantly false premise that these are Dutch (Holland) 
villages. Almost every village is described as being founded by Dutch 
Colonists though a handful do make reference to Evangelical (Lutheran) 
Germans. In fact, the opposite is true. 99% of the villages shown were 
founded or settled by Germans. Only a small handful had Dutch 
(Mennonite) settlers. Lest someone assume that this is a Dutch vs. 
Deutsch confusion, the Polish language uses two distinctly different 
words to describe them so confusion is unlikely - Holenderski vs. 
Niemieckie. Further more, the website name clearly references Holland.

In the introduction, this statement is made:
"The Dutch were the first colonists. In the 18th century, they were 
followed by German farmers from Lower Germany as well as Polish 
peasants. The Dutch settlers were nicknamed Olęder, which was the 
Polonized version of the noun "Dutchman" ("Holender" in Polish). Olęder 
signified not only the nationality of the settlers, but also the system 
of farming that originated in Holland. The system, which granted 
considerable freedom to the colonists, was based on the perpetual lease 
of land, with only cash rent payable to the landowner."

The author has the right idea but seems to forget that the term which 
describes the land ownership / village government style instituted by 
the Dutch Mennonites in Prussian regions can also apply to any other 
ethnic group, German, Polish or other, that operate under similar rules. 
The fact that there were numerous Hollendry or Hollendry style villages 
along Wisla River does not mean that all those villages originated as 
the result of Dutch settlement.

I have tried to correspond with the authors and supporters of this site. 
All addresses, including that of the webmaster, result in bounces. It's 
a shame that such quality presentation is tainted by such very poor and 
far reaching research.

Bottom line - some good content in this material regarding the villages 
but treat most references to Dutch as being German.

Jerry Frank
Calgary, AB

Worth Anderson wrote:
> In 2004, Polish historian Jerzy Szalygin published in Polish, "Catalogue of monuments of Dutch Colonization in Mazovia."  This book lists alphabetically each German village, usually with a map excerpt to show the location, and information (often with pictures) on any surviving pre-War German buildings.  The excerpt for Rakowo appears at the bottom of this e-mail, to give a flavor of the information.
> I thought this was an amazing source when I first learned about it, but it gets better.  Szalygin's book has been translated into English, and is available as a free download at: <http://holland.org.pl/art.php?kat=art&dzial=ogolne&id=ebook&lang=en>.  While you're at the website, poke around; it is full of interesting information.
> Worth

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