Paul von Rusdorf

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Paul von Rusdorf, after Christoph Hartknoch : Old and New Prussia . 1684.
Grand Master's coat of arms of Paul von Rusdorf

Paul von Rusdorf (also Paul von Rußdorf ; * around 1385 in Roisdorf near Bonn; † January 9, 1441 in the Marienburg Order Castle ) was the 29th Grand Master of the Teutonic Order from 1422 to 1441.


He came from a ministerial family .

In 1410 he joined the order. In 1412 he was the keeper of Rastenburg, 1413–1416 Vogt zu Leipe, Tuchel and Mewe, 1416–1419 Oberster Tressler and 1419–1422 Grand Commander . On March 10, 1422 he was elected Grand Master for the resigned Michael Küchmeister .

After the Battle of Tannenberg in the First Peace of Thorn, the Teutonic Order was forced to pay contributions to Poles that brought it to the brink of financial ruin. This development was promoted by the military conflicts with Poland-Lithuania that broke out again and again despite the peace agreement .

The Peace of Melno Lake in 1422 was one of the few successes of Rusdorf. It brought a certain stability, although the conflicts with Poland and in Prussia continued during his term of office. The order renounced Shamaites and Nessau . In addition, a right of resistance for the Prussian estates in the event of a breach of peace was incorporated into the contract.

After the death of Grand Duke Vytautas in 1430, the order opened the attack on Lithuania. In 1435 the "Eternal Peace" of Brest with the new Polish King Władysław III. closed. The residents of both countries were given the right to participate in foreign policy.

Since the order was forced to levy high taxes from the Prussian estates and Hanseatic cities , constant domestic political disputes pervaded the entire rule of Paul. The estates demanded a say in the government of the order state, which was rejected. Eventually they organized themselves in the Prussian Federation , which was founded on March 14, 1440 in Marienwerder . However, Paul refused to approve the federal statutes.

At the same time, a protracted conflict broke out within the order between the Grand Master and the German Master Eberhard von Saunsheim . He tried to obtain a right of control and supervision over the Grand Master by using forged documents (the so-called Orselen Statutes).

Ultimately, Paul von Rusdorf, completely worn down and ill by the constant quarrel, resigned as Grand Master on January 2, 1441 and died a week later in the Marienburg Order Castle , where he was buried like his predecessors in the St. Anne's Chapel.

The reign of Paul von Rusdorf marked the climax of the internal crisis of the order, which was characterized by quarrels, intrigues, the formation of parties and a decline in discipline within the order.


Web links

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