History of the Kullak family and Ublick


Told by Dr. Horst Kullak-Ublick, notes by Kurt Michael Kullak, Carl Wilhelm Heikel Kullak made the final redaction and added family data. 

.

Ublick, the family goods for generations

.

The history of our family and the history of Preussen (Prussia) are very closely related. In my research I found (Horst Kullak narrating) under the title "The country of Prussia - Ostpreussen and the German Order an historical overview of the development of this country from its beginning until the end of the 300 years of domination by the German Order (1230-1525)”: The last "High Priest" of the Order in Prussia, Albrecht von Brandenburg-Ansbach, dissolved this State and appointed himself the first "Count of Prussia" (1525 – 1568). Originating from this date is a written document about Ublick in which Count Albrecht on July 23, 1557 writes in his will: (it is written in old German, difficult to understand and translate). “the lease of the Ublick property transferred from the family Von Czedwitz to the family von Lehwalt” It remained with this family until the last lessee, General Friedrich the Great, died without heirs in 1780. Thus the property reverted back to the Crown.

The Tatars in the 17th Century Prussia had survived the 30 year war (1618-1648) without major problems. But then followed the incursions during the mid-century by the Tatars from the east, particularly in Masuria, where they ravished the country. They robbed and plundered all they could lay their hands on; they abducted children, young men and women; they killed the old and sick; and finally burned down the villages and towns where they had been. The abducted people and other plunder were offered for sale on the oriental markets of Istanbul, Buchara, and other cities. They left behind destroyed and deserted landscape.

At this time Friedrich Wilhelm the Great, Count of Brandenburg (1640-1688), was the governing Count of Prussia. He ordered the towns and villages to be rebuilt. He brought in new settlers, established garrisons to defend the borders and let new cities and towns to be established. A general reconstruction and agricultural consolidation commenced. The ravished land took on new contours. Then Louis XIV of France in 1685 lifted the edict of Nances which since 1598 guaranteed the Hugenots (Protestants) religious freedom and, thus, they fled from France. In return, the Great Count established the edict of Potsdam, permitting the Hugenots a save haven in Brandenburg-Prussia. Many Hugenots settled in Berlin; the farming community preferred to settle in Prussia. The Hugenots were an important factor during the next centuries in the population growth of Prussia until their dispersal in 1945. Many French names existed.

Ublick had not been spared by the Tatars. The destruction required a new beginning and reconstruction. It required people with energy, determination and a spirit of pioneers. At this point the Kullak family took over the

goods of Ublick in Masuria.

.

The origins of the Kullak family

.

During the invasions of the Tatars all written documents had been destroyed. A few documents survived in private hands and were later found in the Central Archives in Konigsberg and Berlin. Some information was passed on verbally. From this verbal history, particularly passed on by my grandmother Elise Kullak - Romeyke, a deep well of information, came a lot of the history (Horst Kullak narrating). Elise came from the estate of PAMMERN, not very far from Ublick. Her family had an authentic origin in the beginning of the development and growth of Prussia. She stood and lived like an oak in the gray past of the land from which she sprung forth.

 

About 1680 the Kullak family took over the lease of the Ublick estate from the family von Lehwalt. It is not known where the Kullak family lived before but family papers indicate that they originated from the Tatars themselves; settled down orderly in Prussia. "KULLAK" means "Storm" in tatarish; in Russian it means "Fist". In any case it seems that the Kullaks came from the East.

Since the Tatars dominated the South of the later Russian Empire and some of the wealthier moved to the western areas and mixed with the Slavs, it is rather likely that this is the origin of the family in Prussia. Pictures of our manly ancestors indicate such an origin. Sadly much documentation got lost in the various wars and it is difficult to find exact evidence of the origins. I can only pass on the legend. (Horst Kullak narrating).

The Kullak family in Ublick 

.

As mentioned before, the Kullak family around 1680 leased the Ublick estate. One hundred years later, in 1788, Gottlieb Daniel Kullak bought the entire estate with all the outposts, villages, etc from the Prussian State. His headstone commemorates his purchase. After its destruction by the Russians in 1945, the grave was restored and renewed in a central place of the old family cemetery. The Estate at the time of the purchase was about 3,000 hectares (over 6,000 acres) in size. To it belonged the villages of Buwelno, Janowen, Stotzken and the forestry of Oskarzin. Ublick is located on a lake by the same name, which in 1800 belonged entirely and around 1900 two thirds belonged to the Estate. Land, forest, and lake combined into a beauty of nature in the heart of the Masuria which even today’s visitor can appreciate.

Gottlieb Daniel married Euphrosina Elisabeth Bartikowski. After the purchase of Ublick by Gottlieb Daniel in 1788, he and his son Leopold (1787 – 1829) started the construction of the castle which they also completed. This construction demonstrated the meaning of ownership and confidence of his owner. Leopold married to Friederike Cruger (1795 – 1866), they had three children, Anton Theodor, Julius and Xaver.

.

Anton Theodor (1816 – 1861)

.

Brought limited contribution to the economic development of the estate. He traveled a lot. He installed hot houses in the area between the castle and the lake terraces where he grew mostly southern plants, which he had obtained through his travels. His lavish life style required selling parcels of the Estate. After his early death - he died at 45 - the Estate was managed for 10 years by his widow Leopoldine Alexandrine Theodora Dohman (1818 – 1870).

They had five children: Leopold, Friedrich Wilhelm, Elise, Franz Oskar Xaver and Julius.

Leopoldine came from Lyck where her father was a government official. Her mother Wilhelmine Henriette von Boyen had her origin at the Estate Kreuzberg in Ostpreussen. She was the niece of Field marshal General, Prussian Army reformer and Minister of War Hermann von Boyen (1771-1848). He planned and built the fortification Feste Boyen on the narrows of the lake in the Masuria by Loetzen which was still useful in 1914 against the Russians. Anton Theodor aside from his botanic interests, stood out as a church benefactor. The church in Rastenburg (today Ketrzyn) was practically financed by him. In Koenigsberg he maintained close contacts with the botanic institute of the University. There, he contributed to among others the park by the lake at the castle, the picturesque section of the residence and University City. Trees and plants came from his hot houses. Even the swans on the lake of the castle (Schlossteich) had been a gift from Ublick - two or three pairs yearly.

.

Friedrich Wilhelm (1855 – 1908)

 

Friedrich Wilhelm (my grandfather - Horst narrating) was only 6 years old at the time of his father's death. The administration of Ublick was temporarily in the hands of strangers. He joined the Leibhusaren-Regiment 1 (horse cavalry) in Danzig and served several years as an officer. At the age of 25 he took over Ublick. The same year he married Elise Romeyke (1861-1945) who then was only 19 years old. She was heir and later the owner of her father's estate Pammern in the county of Lyck. Her mother died at her birth and thus she was raised by her grandmother Anna Gregorius until the age of 15 when she was sent to a finishing school in Switzerland. Both marriage partners were individual strong characters. It demonstrates pragmatism that the couple found their respective areas of responsibility in which they respected their individual roles. Elise was in charge of the estate. Friedrich Wilhelm dedicated himself to politics and was a member of the Prussian parliament. In 1904 he was named as a life-long member of the Prussian Senate. Ublick under the administration of Elise and Friedrich Wilhelm became the central focus of social life in the Masuria. The close proximity of Arys with its troop training facility brought high ranking local and foreign visitors to this distant place. The officer corps of the Russian garrison on the other side of the border participated in the horse-back and hunt activities in Ublick. The Russian governor of Lomza as well as the commanding general of Konigsberg was frequent guests, and particularly the future Fieldmarshal General Frhr.v.d.Goltz (Pascha).

After the split, Poland was recognized as a monarchy by the Vienna Congress. Since 70% of its territory belonged to Russia, the Czar therefore was also King of Poland. The administration was handled by governors selected by the Czar. The northern administration belonged to the earlier mentioned governor of Lomza, Baron v. Korff, who was a member of a German Baltic family. Friedrich Wilhelm spent time in Berlin because as part of his obligations. He participated in several of the yearly trips by the Kaiser to the Northlands. He was a guest on the yacht of Hohenzollern during the opening of the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal in 1895 (today it is called the Northsea Canal). The Kaiser visited Ublick in regards to some maneuver in Arys and commended Friedrich Wilhelm on several occasions. It has been asked why Friedrich Wilhelm did not receive a title of nobility considering his high position and visibility, particularly after being named to the Prussian senate. This is a valid question! The answer is very simple: Friedrich Wilhelm died in the year 1908 unexpectedly at the early age of 53. All plans and hopes the family had expected, died with Friedrich Wilhelm at his zenith. Friedrich Wilhelm's siblings Friedrich Wilhelm had three brothers and one sister.

Leopold (-1908)

The first-born of the manor was not meant to be the heir. He became an officer in the Dragoner Regiment 1 in Tilsit and became known as a superb rider and horseman. At times he was a member of the Remonte Commission in Ostpreussen. He married a wealthy woman Margarethe Leiner. They had two daughters, Edith (1887-1945), married Gruber, who starved to death during the occupation of Konigsberg by the Russians. She was an elegant and well to do lady, who managed a large house. She became a widow at an early age. The second daughter Ruth (1889-1978) married to Karl Funfstuck, she died in Frankfurt in 1978, where she had fled at the end of the war with her husband, a member of the Bank der Ostpreussischen Landschaft.

Friedrich Wilhelm was the second son, as mentioned before, he took over the estate.

Franz Oskar Xaver (1856-1908)

The third son, first bought a small estate close to Konigsberg. The situation became a little tight and he decided to try his luck in Argentina. Within 15 years he had accumulated a large land holding he called his own. With great wealth and large family he returned to Ostpreussen and settled on the Schlossteich (lake of the castle) in Konigsberg. He died in 1908. His Spanish Paraguayan wife Maria Delia Zeballos (1881-1933) returned with her three sons and three daughters to South America after WWI. They settled on a large farm called “Estancia La Horqueta" in Formosa, the north of Argentina, next to the border with Paraguay. She herself lived mostly in San Bernardino, Paraguay, close to the capital city Asuncion, where she "held court" at her residence.

The children are:

Oswald (1900-1978)

Leopoldine (1901-1980)

Wilfried (1987-?)

Edith (Ditha) (1904-1965)

Oscar Francisco Walter (1906-1974)

Delia Sara Zaida Kullak (1907-1942)

.

Their descendants live in their third and fourth generations in Paraguay, Argentina, Chile, Germany and the USA.

Julius, the fourth son went to Schlesien (Germany) where he married Margarethe Von Seidlitz. Nothing more is known about him. The couple did not have an easy life. Their only daughter Ilse born 1896 married a Dr. Heckert in Nuremberg, they had two children, but this marriage dissolved after WWII. Elise (1854-1930) the youngest married Heinrich de la Terrasse, an officer of the Kurassier Regiment Graf Wrangel in Konigsberg. They had two daughters - Elka and Ema. Ema became a sister of charity. With the Russian occupation of Konigsberg in 1945, both sisters stayed with Elka’s husband Felix Jaffa in the large house with a park in a suburb of the city. Felix Jaffa was of Jewish origin although he was christened after his birth; his parents had also converted. He owned several manufacturing plants and was quite wealthy. He lived for the beautiful arts, particularly music. He was a very talented pianist. In his generous home he offered concerts. Since this couple did not have any children, they adopted a son, Wolfgang and a daughters Hildegard and Ursula. After Germany's take-over by the Nazis, Felix being a "non-Arian" had problems. He transferred his entire fortune to his adopted children. At the beginning of the war in 1939 he was forced to wear the yellow star all Jews had to wear and, thus, he never left his house and park. The family tried to make his life as bearable as possible and protected him from the outside. He lived this way until the occupation by the Russians in the spring of 1945. As the Russians entered (plunder) the house, he, his wife Elka and sister-in-law Anna, were shot to death on the terrace because they were "capitalists".

.

Friedrich Anton Robert (1883- 1948) the last owner of Ublick

Meyers Orts- und Verkehrs-Lexikon of the German Reich in 1913 (Bibliographisches Institut Leipzig und Wien) gives the following description of Ublick: UBLICK, estate on a lake by the same name; Preussen, Ostpreussen, Regierungsbezirk Allenstein; Kreis Johannisberg, Amtsgerich Arys, Standesamt Arys, Bezirkskommando Lotzen; railroad station 1 km, rail Arys - Lotzen; population 263. Installations: Buwelno, Janowen, Stotzken, Forsterei (forestry), Brauerei (brewery), Muhle (flour mill), Meierei (dairy products). 

.

Friedrich Wilhelm did not leave a will because of his sudden death in 1908. Ublick was inherited by his wife Elise, his son Friedrich and his daughter Anita. Friedrich (Fritz) until then was an officer in the Ulanen-Regiment #12 in Insterburg. Then he took over the administration of Ublick. This was not easy next to his mother Elyse, who was only 47 years old. She was a strong and energetic person, and had been in charge for the last 25 years. The property encompassed about 1,500 hectares (6000 Morgen), of which half was forest. At the beginning of World War I in 1914, on the second or third day of the war, the castle and 48 other buildings of the Estate were burned down by the Russians.

.

My grandmother Elise (Horst talking) was able to flee in a carriage to West Prussia. With her went all the belongings of the Estate, distributed among several wagons. The irony of the situation was that Friedrich (Fritz) on the day of the Russians arrival in Ublick commanded a reconnaissance ride with the 1st. Kavallerie-Brigade. From the distance with binoculars he watched as the castle and other properties went up in flames. Only after the battle of Masuria in the end of 1914 and into 1915, Ublick in the midst of the war zone was recovered from the Russians. Friedrich was badly wounded in his leg during that winter and was unable to return to battle. Instead he commanded a reserve unit of his regiment in Gumbinnen. This gave him the opportunity and time to see after the reconstruction of Ublick. From Gumbinnen he socialized in a neighboring property called House Serpenten, were he got to know and love the eldest daughter Emma von Below (Ems) (1889-1931). She too was in the midst of rebuilding the property of her parents destroyed by the Russians. On October 24, 1917 they married in Serpenten.

During the war, Friedrich's sister Anita married Eberhard von Batocki, after a long engagement, he was a brother of the President of Ostpreussen. Eberhard was a lieutenant in the Kurassier-Regiment Graf Wengel in Konigsberg. At the end of the war the couple wanted to buy their own estate. This could only happen if Anita would receive her share of Ublick - in cash. Because of the tremendous war damages, including approximately 2,000 Morgen partially burned down, partially destroyed forest during the battle of Masuria; Friedrich was not able to raise that amount.

Thus, after 250 years of ownership, in 1919 he sold the property. He never overcame emotionally this decision and never did he return to Ublick. Only a small parcel remained in the family which was being taken care by his mother Elyse. The family cemetery was part of it. This cemetery had an entrance gate, which was copied from the entrance gate of the castle and probably built at the same time. This portal remained standing in spite of the wars. Horst Kullak: "During our first visit to Ublick, forty years after World War II (1985), this portal was close to falling down. The graves still existed but many of the stones, markers and crosses had disappeared or been destroyed - with exception of a few. After thorough consideration and successful negotiation with the current polish government, particularly with the Bureau of Historic Sites in Suwalki, we restored the portal and the cemetery during the years 1992/93. The cemetery was taken care by the Bureau of Historic Sites which is indicated on a granite inscription at the entrance".

.

Horst's grandfather Friedrich Wilhelm started using the double name Kullak-Ublick, although his father used only Kullak after loosing the estate. Horst himself, in memory of Prussia - Ublick – and the family history there, started using the double name of Kullak-Ublick in 1946, and passed it on to his children. And that's the end of the Kullak family in Ublick. But it continues in various parts of the world....