Sunday, March 24, 2013

Geographical renaming: from Klein-Bresa to Brzezica

Klein-Bresa is a village in Silesia (Polish: Śląsk, German: Schlesien, Czech: Slezsko). After World War II, its name changed to Brzezica when the Allied (US, UK, USSR) powers signed the Potsdam Agreement in 1945.  This communiqué  put former German territories east of the Oder-Neisse line (identified by the Oder and the Lusatian Neisse rivers) under Polish administration. Today, Brzezica belongs to the Polish province (voivodeship) of Lower Silesia.

The German adjective “klein” in Klein-Bresa means “small,” indicating a small town or village. Big or small, almost all Silesian places underwent a name change after 1945 from a German/Silesian to a Slavic/Polish sounding designation. The name of the Silesian capital Breslau changed to Wrocław. During its history of over 1,000 years, Silesia has been at times more, but most of the time less autonomous. It has experienced various forms of policies and spoken dialects. An introduction to its complex and interesting history is available in three languages [1].

Klein-Bresa appears in Jochen Thies' biography of the Moltke family: Klein Bresa is mentioned as the location of a Moltke estate and also as a railroad link. Friedrich Ludwig Elisa von Moltke (1852-1927), a nephew of Helmuth Carl Bernhard von Moltke (known as the Prussian field marshal Helmuth von Moltke the Elder) and his wife Julie Zuckschwerdt (1862-1943) bought property in Klein-Bresa [2]. The Moltke estate in Klein-Bresa is not getting the same attention as the Moltke estate in Kreisau, where the great-grandnephew of the field marshal, Helmuth James Graf von Moltke (1907-1945) lived. The latter is known as a founding member of a resistance group based in Kreisau, Silesea. This Kreisau Circle opposed Germany's Nazi government. Helmut James was executed for treason by the Nazi government on January 23, 1945 [2].

Keywords: History, geography, languages, translation.

References and more to explore
[1] Trilingual History of Silesia:
[2] Jochen Thies: Die Moltkes. Biografie einer Familie. Piper Verlag GmbH, München, Ungekürzte Taschenbuchausgabe Oktober 2012; pages 141, 178 and 332.

No comments:

Post a Comment