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Karvaičiai / Karwaiten
coat of arms
coat of arms
State : Lithuania Lithuania
District : Klaipeda
Municipality : Neringa
Founded : before 1509
Coordinates : 55 ° 23 '  N , 21 ° 4'  E Coordinates: 55 ° 23 '  N , 21 ° 4'  E
Time zone : EET (UTC + 2)
Status: Lost place
Karvaičiai / Karwaiten (Lithuania)
Karvaičiai / Karwaiten
Karvaičiai / Karwaiten

Karvaičiai ( German  Karwaiten ) was a place in the Memel district in East Prussia , which drifted in the dune sand and went under in the 18th century. The former village site is now in Lithuania and belongs to the field of self-government community Neringa in Klaipėda district (Memel) .

Geographical location

The former Karwaiten was nine kilometers northeast of Nida (now Lithuanian: Nida) in the northern part of the Curonian Spit . Neighboring villages were the still existing places Perwelk (today Lithuanian: Pervalka) and Preil (Preila). To the northwest of the village was the Karwaitener Berg , which was 59.4 meters high.

The road from Marienburg (West Prussia) (now Polish: Malbork) to Riga (now Latvian: Rīga) ran through the Karwaites (still exists today as a Lithuanian regional road KK 167 and Russian trunk road R 515 between Selenogradsk (Cranz) and Klaipėda (Memel) ), which has been used by numerous travelers.

Place name

The place name came in 1519 as Grawaitten , 1540 as Crawaytenn , 1614 as Karwaiten and was later differentiated into Old Karwaiten and New Karwaiten.


Karwaiten was mentioned in 1509 when the Komtur von Memel , brother Michel von Swabia , renewed Karwaiten's jug justice towards brother Benedikt Langerfeld . In 1541 90 people lived here, including eleven fishermen and five semi- fishermen .

Already at that time the village was silted up from the west by drifting fine dune sand , from which the village suffered severely in the years that followed. In the autumn of 1614 15 farmsteads were already vacant, in 1641 only the jug and a fisherman's house remained, and the chapel was blown away.

At the beginning of the 18th century the village moved to the south and sought protection in the forest not far from the Curonian Lagoon . The Kruger was the last resident to leave the place.

In 1737 a school was built in the New Karwaiten that has now been built, and after a year a church with a pastorate. But less than 30 years passed here before the dunes began to migrate again and the village emptied of people. The last inhabitants lost their fight against nature: the pastor's house was also blown away, with only one room left to live. In 1779 the church could only be entered from the bell tower, in 1786 it was completely closed.

In the winter of 1791 the fate of Karwaiten was decided: furious storms and sand drifts destroyed all but four of the houses. The inhabitants fled to Nidden , Schwarzort (Juodkrantė) and Neegeln (Nagliai). The decline of the New Karwaites is illustrated by the number of students: 1781 = 28, 1785 = 13, 1788 = 9, 1791 = 6, 1795 = 2, 1797 = no students. In 1797 the last inhabitant left the village, which was completely buried under the dune sand.


Church building

In his visitation report from 1569, the Samland bishop Joachim Mörlin mentioned next to the church in Sarkau (today Russian: Lesnoi) also a chapel in (old) Karwaiten. It later had to be closed due to silting up. In 1738 a new church with a pastorate was built in New Karwaiten. After less than four decades, this church also had to be abandoned because - like the whole town in 1797 - it was blown by the sand of the dunes. In the Karwaiten Church, services and sermons were always held in Lithuanian as well as German as the official language.


Church life in Karwaiten was shaped from the beginning by the Lutheran Reformation , whose prominent Samland representative, Bishop Joachim Mörlin, visited the churches on the Curonian Spit as early as the middle of the 16th century. From 1569 to 1709 Karwaiten was cared for by the pastor in Kunzen (Russian: Krasnoretschje, no longer existent). Because of the size of his parish, he only came to worship in Karwaiten every third Sunday. In 1709 Karwaiten was subordinated to the deacon (subordinate clergyman) of the Lithuanian Church (= country church of St. James) in Memel , who was beach preacher and from 1709 to 1740 parish priest. From 1740 Karwaiten with its newly built church was an independent parish with its own clergy. However, from 1787 the pastors lived in Schwarzort , and Karwaiten belonged to this parish in its last years before it was completely silted up.

Pastor in Karwaiten (1741–1786)

The following were officiating as clergy in the Karwaiten parish between 1741 and 1786 as evangelical clergy:

  1. Johann Friedrich Preuss, 1741–1743
  2. (Vacancy)
  3. Johann Friedrich Czerniewski, 1753–1764
  4. David G. Zudnochowius, 1764-1781
  5. Gottfried Grunwald, 1781–1782
  6. Christoph E. Schwarz, 1782–1786

Personality of the place

  • Ludwig Rhesa (born January 9, 1776 in Karwaiten; † August 30, 1840), Protestant theologian, consistorial councilor, is considered a pioneer of Lithuanian culture in the German-speaking area

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Location information East Prussia picture archive: Karwaiten
  2. Karwaiten - GenWiki
  3. Nijolė Strakauskaitė, The clergy of the Curonian Spit regarding their lituanist cultural activities in the 16th-20th centuries . Century , 2008 - Translation by Arthur Hermann (PDF; 5.2 MB)
  4. Friedwald Moeller, Old Prussian Protestant Pastor's Book from the Reformation to the Expulsion in 1945 , Hamburg, 1968, page 94
  5. Friedwald Moeller (as above), page 62