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Werder (Havel)


Werder (Havel) is a city with around 26,000 inhabitants in the Brandenburg district of Potsdam-Mittelmark in the agglomeration of Berlin. As a state-approved resort, Werder is also known nationwide for the spring tree blossom festival, which is one of the largest public festivals in Germany.



Origin and naming
Werder probably emerged from the merging of a handicraft local market town with the adjoining church. A formal founding of the city or the granting of city rights has not been documented, nor is there any walling. The legal designations of the city of Werder and settlement designations indicate for the years 1317, 1330, 1375 oppidum, 1459 stat, 1474 Flecken (Bleke), 1542 civitas, otherwise Städtlein (1580), Mediatstadt (1768), Stadt (1801).

On the Havel Island, among other things, finds of Slavic shards are known on the Mühlenberg on the southwestern bank of the Werder and 3.5 km north-northwest of Werder on the western bank of the Havel, in the south of Werder a Slavic castle wall is assumed (the latter without archaeological evidence). The Kietz in the Fischerstrasse area was probably the old fishing settlement.

Middle age
On August 26, 1317, the vir strictuus Sloteko, truchess of Margrave Waldemar von Brandenburg, and his two brothers, the milites Richardus and Zabellus, sold the small town (oppidum) Werder along with 46 Hufen fiefdom in the direction of Zauche at the behest of their liege lord for 244 marks less a quarter mark of minted Brandenburg silver to the Cistercian monastery Lehnin. The confirmation document of the margrave does not represent the first mention of the city of Werder. Rather, the town, which is presumably equipped with a wooden bridge, is already mentioned in a certificate from Waldemar dated April 5, 1317. The two documents fit in with the state expansion of the Lehnin monastery, which is also reflected in the purchase of the village of Leest along with the interest levy in Werder in 1339, the transfer of ownership of the village of Phöben to the monastery on November 15, 1343 or the comparison between abbot and Monks von Lehnin and the von der Groeben brothers dated October 18, 1352.

The gradual development to a local craft market is reflected in the statutes of the guild of shoemakers and tanners of the old town of Brandenburg from April 30, 1424, where shoes are sold in the market towns of Rathenow, Ziesar, Potsdam, Ketzin, Lehnin, Briesen (Mark), Werder and Pritzerbe is limited. The Elector and Margrave Friedrich II. Of Brandenburg, who had confirmed a comparison between the Lehnin monastery and the knight Georg von Waldenfels on September 20, 1459 (on Thursday St. Matheus evening) in Werder, then allowed the Lehnin monastery on October 21 1459 to hold a fair in Werder on the Sunday Laetare during Lent or on the Sunday immediately before the Martinsfest. Even if one cannot speak of a granting of town charter, the entries on Werder in the land book of Charles IV from 1375 and as a parish of the provost of Brandenburg in the register of the diocese of Brandenburg from 1459 show that the town gradually gained sovereign and ecclesiastical importance.

Nevertheless, their tariffs were pledged several times by the sovereign to the Neustadt Brandenburg due to financial difficulties. A weakening of the sovereign is also evident in disputes with the local nobility. In a kind of wisdom, the mayors, councilors and municipality of Werder reached a settlement with the von Hake brothers, who obviously also officiated as Schulzen, and the farmers of Geltow on December 5, 1474 about seeds, cattle pastures, rights of way, grain transport, river use, Fishing and others. In another border dispute on July 19, 1533, a certain Bastian Tesickendorf zu Werder wanhrachtigk is mentioned among several servants of the abbot von Lehnin. In the absence of further evidence, it must remain open whether it is the pastor or - what is also possible - the clerk and school teacher who are also literate.



The Werder parish was visited by the Chancellor of the Margraves of Brandenburg, Johann Weinlob, just two years before the secularization of the Lehnin Monastery in 1540. According to this, the Holy Spirit Church was subordinate to the Abbot von Lehnin as landlord and the Lords of Rochow as patron saints, that is, the pastors were appointed with the consent of the latter and levied by the former. Associated with the parish church was the church of St. Andreas in Geltow as the second benefice (commenda). If you follow the contemporary register of the annual expenses at the town hall, there was a chaplain and a sexton in addition to the pastor. The latter also worked as a town clerk and schoolmaster, lived in the school house and lived on the taxes of his students, the yarn people and the parishioners. The equipment of the Heilig-Geist-Kirche was more extensive than elsewhere: the rectory included two hooves, eight meadows, a garden with three ounces of hay, a fishery, a pound of candle wax, the grain tithe, but not the meat tithe of 200 communicating believers, the deaths -, the marriage and child bed tax as well as an annual banquet. From the deserted Feldmark Zernow (probably located near the Zernsee), at the instigation of those von Rochow, no more taxes have been received for fourteen years. The pastor's inventory showed u. a. a brewing pan, a brewing basin, two chipboard beds, seven bowls and seven old pewter jugs. Church property had fallen from three to two goblets and from five to three godparents, what remained were a monstrance made of gilded brass and three meadows (including one with the name Marien horne), 10 instead of 13 pounds of wax, a vineyard, three pieces of land (on the Mountains), a piece of flat field (located in front of the heather), five pieces of Beiland in Petzow (Im Petzouschen feldt) and several interest rates. Töplitz, Schmergow, Glindow, Petzow and Phöben are named as neighboring parishes. During a further visitation in 1541, all the village pastors of the Lehnin monastery were given the evangelical catechism, so that a transition from Werder to Lutheran teaching can be assumed at this point at the latest.

From the Thirty Years War to the first third of the 20th century
During the Thirty Years' War the city was sacked by Swedish troops in 1637 and 1641.

Second World War
During the Second World War, a small satellite camp of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp was set up on March 20, 1943. These prisoners, as well as prisoners of war who were housed in the Lichau cellar on Friedrichshöhe and on a Havel barge, had to do forced labor. Before and during the war there was an airfield in the north of the city, which, together with facilities in Wildpark West, served as Air War School III for aviation training until it was relocated to Oschatz in Saxony in May 1944. After the end of the war, the Red Army (a group of the Soviet Armed Forces in Germany) settled on this site, which was stationed there until the final withdrawal in 1992. In early 1945 at the end of the war, the railway bridge, Baumgartenbrücke and Strengbrücke were blown up.

From 1945 to 1989
At the beginning of the 1950s, the first youth opposition groups against the GDR regime and the Soviet occupying power emerged. Some of them were sentenced to death by a Soviet military tribunal, others had to do forced labor for several years.