|~ Two Souvenir Steins from the Province of
By Ken Stroud
I have a Mennonite family heritage from Prussia,
sought steins from that region for many years. The cities of Elbing and
were the two largest areas of substantial Mennonite settlement during
I have had a tourist type stein from Elbing for some time, and was
when I was able to purchase a stein from the city of Danzig. The pottery stein from Elbing is at left in
the photo, while the porcelain stein at right is from Danzig.
West Prussia was established as a province of the
Prussia in 1773. It was dissolved in 1829 and merged with East Prussia
the Province of Prussia, then re-established in 1878 when the merger
reversed and it became part of the German Empire. From 1918, West
Prussia was a
province of the Free State of Prussia within Weimar Germany, but as
the Treaty of Versailles, subsequently lost most of its territory to
Polish Republic and the Free City of Danzig. It's admittedly contorted
West Prussia was notable for its ethnic and
diversity due to immigration and cultural changes, with the population
mixed over the centuries. Since the early Middle Ages the region was
by numerous Slavic and Baltic peoples, such as Pomeranians in the
region, Old Prussians and Masovians in Kulmerland, and Pomesanians east
Vistula River. Later Germans followed. Germans were also the largest
West Prussia until its dissolution in 1922, with large numbers of
Poles, Mennonites, and Jews also settling in the region.
Suffice it to say, when these steins from the
Elbing and Danzig were produced, both cities were a part of Germany.
today as Gdansk, and Elbing, now known as Elbląg, are today part of
The stein on the right in the photo is porcelain
the Danzig Langenmarkt with the distinctive Rathaus tower (which is
there), and if you look closely you can see Neptune’s fountain. The stein features a lithophane in the base
which shows men drinking around a table.
The second stein is pottery with a picture of the
Rathaus (which unfortunately was destroyed in WW II).
Of note, this is a very generic stein body
and there are Edelweiss flowers around the picture which of course are
nowhere near the Baltic!