Dietrich von Altenburg

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Grand Master's coat of arms of Dietrich von Altenburg

Dietrich von Altenburg († October 1341 in Thorn ) was the 19th Grand Master of the Teutonic Order from 1335 to 1341.


He was a son of Burgrave Dietrich II of Altenburg († 1303). As owners of the imperial burgraviate Altenburg, his family held a prominent position in the Pleißenland . His brother Albrecht IV succeeded his father in 1303. Since he died in 1329 without any male offspring, Dietrich von Altenburg was the last of his line.

In 1307 he entered the order. From 1320 to 1324 he was Commander of Ragnit and from 1326 to 1331 he held this position in Balga (Honeda) .

From 1331 he led the war against Poland as an order marshal and conquered Kuyavia under its duke Wladislaw Lokietek for the order . He was very active militarily, although he always tried to achieve a lasting peace with Poland.

As Grand Master he dealt intensively with the construction and expansion of the order castles : 1335 Angerburg, Burg Lötzen , 1336 Insterburg, Baierburg an der Memel; Construction of paths paved with ditches through the "wilderness"; Continuation of fortification work in Marienburg and Schwetz; A huge order castle was built in Danzig on the site of the old ducal castle.

In the Marienburg he began the expansion of the Marienkirche, the construction of the main tower, erected the statue of the Madonna and completed the Chapel of St. Anne. He built the first permanent bridge over the Nogat with a bridge gate .

Dietrich von Altenburg issued a number of changes to the rule of the order regarding the provisions on penance and spiritual exercises. Furthermore, for reasons of modesty and simplicity, the wearing of personal coats of arms and the use of personal seals was prohibited. The Grand Master should only use the black cross with the golden cross and the imperial eagle.

After an illness he died in October 1341 in Thorn ( Polish : Toruń ), where he stayed to conclude a contract with Poland. He was the first Grand Master to be buried in the Annenkapelle. His grave slab can still be viewed.


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