Pretzsch (Elbe)

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Pretzsch (Elbe)
Coordinates: 51 ° 42 ′ 58 "  N , 12 ° 48 ′ 28"  E
Height : 77 m
Area : 20.92 km²
Residents : 1595  (Dec. 31, 2007)
Population density : 76 inhabitants / km²
Incorporation : July 1, 2009
Postal code : 06905
Area code : 034926
Pretzsch from the southwest

Pretzsch (Elbe) was an independent town until June 30, 2009 and has been a town in the town of Bad Schmiedeberg in the Wittenberg district in Saxony-Anhalt since July 1, 2009 .


Pretzsch (west of Annaburg) sank in the Elbe floods in 2002

Pretzsch is located in the middle of the Elbe on the western bank of the Elbe and on the northwestern edge of the Dübener Heide nature park in the state of Saxony-Anhalt. Nearby cities are Bad Schmiedeberg, Kemberg , Torgau and Lutherstadt Wittenberg . Jessen and Bad Düben are located in a larger area .


Elbschifferkirche in Priesitz with a metal high water column in front of it

middle Ages

The town of Pretzsch can look back on over 1000 years of history. Pretzsch was first mentioned on July 21, 981 in a document from Otto II . At that time the place was in Gau Nizizi in the County of Diemars and was donated to the Memleben monastery . The beginning of the permanent settlement of the Pretzsch local area is documented in writing from the end of the Slavs. The Slavic ramparts were replaced by Burgwarde . The document from the year 981 also shows such a protective castle for the place Pretzsch (Pretokine) to monitor the administrative district and the Elbe shipments. A short time later - in the year 1004 - there is a second verifiable mention of the place. At that time, a considerable number of castle warden and localities in the Pretzsch neighborhood were already listed, which underlines the rapidly increasing settlement activity in the context of the Christianization of this area. When colonization began shortly afterwards, mainly settlers from Flanders came here, who had a lot of experience in draining the swamps and dykes of the rivers, which significantly promoted the urbanization of the area. At this time there were also the first attempts at a division between farmers who worked the land and so-called cottagers who had little reason for working and who pursued a craft in their own house (potter, drapery, blacksmith). With the settlers from Flanders, water power also gained in importance as a drive for mills of all kinds in the centuries to come. From the 12th century, with the almost complete expulsion of the Slavs, the Church and Christianity also gained more and more influence in the Pretzsch area. This was also evident in the construction of churches in almost every village. With the skipper's chapel in Priesitz and the church in Ogkel, two of the oldest witnesses of this settlement phase from the early 13th century are still standing today.

Church and town mill
Bathing alley and church

It was also at this time that the Löser family began to rule Pretzsch and another 35 surrounding villages. The Lösers, many of whose families were well educated and held influential positions at court ( e.g. Thammo Löser ), settled in Pretzsch Castle . The Lösers were soon elevated to the status of Hereditary Marshal , which of course also made it necessary to convert the previous castle on the Elbe into a representative building.

Reformation until the Thirty Years War

Pretzsch was, under the influence of the Löser family, who were close friends with Martin Luther , one of the first areas to follow the Reformation. Luther himself trusted the Hereditary Marshal at the residence in Pretzsch and was not only here to preach in the church, but also a welcome hunting guest of the house of Löser. With the castle growing in the course of the renovation work, its maintenance also required forced labor from the local population.

The castle gained importance not only as the residence of the Lösers, but also as a courthouse, in whose cellar vaults criminals were often tortured or judged against them. The castle chronicle documents a sharp increase in crimes in the 16th century. Convicted offenders were either hanged or beheaded. Those who could afford it had the opportunity to buy themselves free from their crime in a kind of contract. Part of such a contract of atonement was also the setting up of a cross at the place of the crime, usually murder. In Pretzsch there are three such atonement crosses in the palace gardens. However, they did not always all stand in this place, but were partially moved into the local area from outside the village.

As everywhere in the German catchment area, half-timbered buildings were characteristic of the 16th century townscape. Brickworks and carpenters experienced a brisk boom in the growing localities of the late Middle Ages. In 1584 the plague also raged in Pretzsch.

Pretzsch was hit by the witch hunt from 1615 to 1630 . At least four people got into a witch trial , and one woman was burned to death around 1615.

In the Thirty Years War the place was almost completely destroyed. The Swedes wanted to level the place to the ground. Cannonballs built into the castle wall still tell of it today. Of the 146 farms that existed before 1634, only 12 still existed after the siege by the Swedes. The surrounding towns had to endure similar suffering. Merschwitz, for example, was completely wiped out. In addition to this, the plague broke out again around 1637 as a result of the conditions. At the end of the war, the Löser family was heavily in debt. They decided to sell the castle and the Pretzsch district for 70,000 Reichstaler to Marshal Wolff Christoph von Arnim , who came across the Elbe as a liberator of the place near Mauken and had expelled the Swedes. The 300-year reign of the Löser family over the Pretzsch area ended with the sale. They withdrew to the Reinharz Vorwerk, which was part of the Pretzsch Castle , and built a smaller but no less impressive mansion there with the proceeds from the sale - the Reinharz moated castle .

From 1651 to the end of the 18th century

Curiously, around 1651 the town of Pretzsch was granted town charter for the second time. The legality of this process is controversial among historians, because the place had already received city rights in 1206. This is documented in writing in a Meißner certificate. Under the knight Arnim, the town experienced a small boom again surprisingly quickly and visibly recovered from the war damage. The church and castle were restored in 1652. Numerous craftsmen had a tolerable income during the construction work in the area. After Arnim's death († 1668) the property was divided between his four sons and in 1689 exchanged for three manors. So Pretzsch came into the possession of the Saxon electors. Under the Saxon electors, who used the castle as a widow's seat, the place experienced an enormous heyday and soon grew from its own official dignity to a residential city. Noteworthy on the side is the Körbin glassworks , which was built around 1692 and manufactured high-quality white glass and drinking utensils for the Dresden and Warsaw courts. The first burning mirrors were later built here under Chamber Councilor Tschirnhaus . The glassworks was relocated to Senftenberg in 1707 due to a lack of wood in the Pretzsch area. Even heating the castle consumed huge amounts of wood.

In 1693 a heavy fire raged in Pretzsch and destroyed almost half of all houses. After the first elector's widow died at Pretzsch Castle and was buried in Freiberg, the wife of August the Strong , Christiane Eberhardine of Brandenburg-Bayreuth , received the Pretzsch Castle as a present from her husband for the birth of their first child. However, the relationship between the two was strained by two events in quick succession. On the one hand, a child of one of his mistresses was born to the elector almost at the same time as his son. Then in 1697 August the Strong converted to Catholicism in order to be able to become King of Poland in this way, as which he was crowned in Cracow that same year.

Under the Saxon state master builder Pöppelmann , with whom the Electress was very good friends, the numerous extensive outbuildings of the castle district, the so-called cavaliers houses, were built during this time. Pöppelmann also redesigned the church, including the tower, and renewed the workshops and warehouses in the vicinity of the castle in order to create a coherent ensemble. The state master builder was even active in the village and permanently redesigned the face of the city. Since the Electress was highly regarded in Protestant countries, high-ranking guests from various countries were often here. Among other things, the wedding of Crown Prince Christian of Denmark took place at the palace in 1721 . At that time, Pretzsch was one of the most important places in Saxony alongside Dresden, Leipzig and Torgau. The Electress is still very popular with the residents of Pretzsch because of her support for the small Elbe town. If goods remained unsold at the flax market, she bought the stock and had it distributed to needy residents. Likewise at the pottery market, where, according to contemporary reports, her stupid court jester trampled the unsold dishes once a year with a ride on the horse, which must have been very funny, because the court jester was a dwarf and had a lot of trouble to keep himself on his horse .

This heyday came to an abrupt end at the beginning of September 1727 when the Electress suddenly fell ill. Although rumors still lingered 100 years later that a Catholic priest was supposed to have poisoned the Electress with a bowler hat, it is now fairly certain that Christiane Eberhardine died of appendicitis that was recognized too late. After her death, Augustus the Strong caused a six-week state mourning, with the bells ringing every day at noon throughout the country in honor of the deceased wife. The Electress chose the Pretzsch Church as her final resting place, where it is still embedded in a comparatively simple crypt today. Christiane Eberhardine was only 55 years old. In 1756 Pretzsch threatened new calamities with the Seven Years' War . Located in the northern border region of the warring parties Saxony and Prussia, a decisive battle on Golmer Berg took place here in 1759. In retaliation, looting in Pretzsch and the surrounding area was the order of the day. The castle was converted into a hospital for the ongoing war. After the end of the war, in 1764 the Pretzsch office, including the castle and all of the outworks, was leased by the Saxon electors, as compensation payments to Prussia did not allow funds for the maintenance of the castle and its offices. The castle park was converted into a contemporary English garden and the castle became the official and residence of the forest and game master. At the end of the 18th century, more rational measures found their way into agriculture and crafts. The processing of raw materials also had to be reorganized as a result of faster processes. This resulted in a large number of mills and new branches of trade, e.g. B. Breweries.

19th century under Prussia

The Napoleonic era followed, in which around 1806, after the battle of Jena and Auerstädt, the first French arrived in Pretzsch very soon, took their belongings by force and plundered the place. After the French were pushed back in the Battle of Wartenburg , there were also minor fighting in Pretzsch. Cannonballs from that time can be found in the wall of the house at Elbstrasse 6. The Congress of Vienna condemned Saxony, which had fought on Napoleon's side, to pay reparations to Prussia. So North Saxony and with it Pretzsch finally came to Prussia in 1815. After a visit by the Prussian King in Pretzsch in 1817, the palace became part of the Great Potsdam Military Orphanage . After renovations at the castle and the separation of the domain Vorwerk from the castle office, the first girls came to Pretzsch in 1829. The cavalier houses were converted into teachers' apartments. By the end of 1829, around 220 children were housed in the Pretzsch orphanage. Also at the beginning of the 19th century, two Pretzsch pipe water systems were laid, which supplied the place with fresh water.

In 1871 the German Empire was founded and Pretzsch residents also had a share in this. Because in the Franco-Prussian War , which ended with the defeat of France, citizens of this city also fought at Bismarck's side and lost their lives. A memorial on the market square reminds us today. The peace oak on the market square also reminds of the founding of the empire.

In 1890 the place was connected to the railway network. The railway line initially led from Wittenberg via Pretzsch to Torgau. Later a branch to Eilenburg was added, which helped the place to some economic importance. This can still be seen today from the now closed depot . At times there were also connections from Wittenberg to Leipzig on this route. A lively business soon arose near the train station that knew how to make use of the cheap rail connections.

Children's and youth home

20th century: Children's home and SS in the castle

A girls' school was built on the castle grounds around 1900, in which the daughters of upscale Prussian families were prepared for their future. During the First World War, the castle was used as a hospital again. before it was used as an orphanage again. An organ building workshop was also located here. After the Second World War, the castle became a state children's home again. The “ Adolf Reichwein ” children's and youth home at Schloss Pretzsch is now owned by Salus gGmbH.

The " Border Police School Pretzsch / Elbe", which was housed in Pretzsch Castle, served in 1937/38 as a training location for the integration of the SS border and guard units into the regular Gestapo border police . The SS border and guard units consisted of members of the auxiliary border employees (Higa) of the SS at the customs administration and of the Bavarian SS border surveillance (SSG). In May / June 1941 the soldiers assigned to the Einsatzgruppen of the Security Police and the SD gathered in the "Grenzpolizeischule Pretzsch / Elbe" , were formed into Einsatzgruppen and Einsatzkommandos, and prepared for their deployment in the East. The participants in the course came from the Reich Security Main Office (RSHA), in particular the Reichsführer SS Security Service (SD), the Ordnungspolizei and the Waffen SS . Some participants were also accommodated in neighboring Düben and Bad Schmiedeberg . Before the task forces moved east before the attack on the Soviet Union, Reinhard Heydrich gave a speech about the goals and contents of the task force at a closing roll call in Pretzsch. The order was to murder functionaries and the "Jewish intelligentsia" of the Soviet Union. In the course of the first three months of the war against the Soviet Union, the murderous activity of the Einsatzgruppen in the east escalated, so that by the beginning of October 1941 at the latest, Jewish men, women, children and old people were shot without discrimination. Dispatched prisoners of war, "gypsies", psychiatric patients and hostages from the civilian population were among the victims of the task forces. In the summer of 1941, the Pretzsch border police school was closed and all staff were integrated into the new Drögen security police school in Fürstenberg / Havel .

In addition, during the Nazi era there was an external command of the Elbe regulation prison camp in Pretzsch from Griebo near Coswig .

From 1945 until today

On July 1, 1950, the previously independent community of Merschwitz was incorporated.

Since 1952 the place Pretzsch belonged to the district Halle in the GDR. An extended secondary school was located here. Since 1990 the city has been in the state of Saxony-Anhalt.

The special school of the Ministry of the Interior of the GDR for service dogs was located in Pretzsch .

The grammar school established after 1990 was closed in 2004 due to a drop in the number of students. On July 1, 2014, the new municipal constitutional law of the state of Saxony-Anhalt came into force. In its §14 (2) the municipalities are given the opportunity to assign this designation to the districts that were towns before the incorporation. The city of Bad Schmiedeberg has made use of this regulation. Its main statutes are available in the version dated November 18, 2016. In §15 (1) the localities and districts are listed with their official names.


Pretzsch coat of arms


The last mayor since 2007 was Harry Deike. He received 100 percent of the vote in the election on April 22, 2007. His predecessor, Karlheinz Horn, had not run again. With the incorporation in Bad Schmiedeberg, the interests are represented by a five-member local council headed by the local mayor Harry Deike. The administration of the place takes place mainly from Bad Schmiedeberg.

coat of arms

The coat of arms was approved on May 11, 1995 by the Dessau Regional Council and registered in the Magdeburg State Archives under the coat of arms roll number 33/1995.

Blazon : "In silver on a blue three-mountain, a green oak with four leaves and three golden acorns."

The meaning of the coat of arms is unknown; because none of the numerous owners of Pretzsch Castle had a coat of arms that resembled that of the city.


The flag is green and white striped lengthways.


Pretzsch (Elbe) maintains a partnership with Heuchelheim in Hesse .

Economy and Infrastructure


Pretzsch ferry
Pretzsch station

In Pretzsch the B 182 (Torgau - Wittenberg) and the state road 128 (Bad Schmiedeberg - Jessen) cross. A yaw ferry is used to cross the Elbe in the direction of Mauken .

In local public transport there are bus connections to Lutherstadt Wittenberg and Bad Schmiedeberg. Local rail passenger transport on the single- track Pratau – Torgau line and the branching line to Bad Schmiedeberg was canceled at the end of 2014 and then discontinued in mid-December.

The place with its sights is located on the Elbe Cycle Path , which is one of the most famous routes of cycle tourism in Europe.


Local museum

Regular events

Every year in February there is a multi-day carnival , the climax of which is a large parade with street carnival on the Sunday before Rose Monday.

The state championships for service dog handlers are also held regularly in Pretzsch.

For over 150 years, the city and its residents celebrated their traditional festival on the first weekend in June. This tradition will soon be revived after a break of several years.

The Mitsubishi Elbe meeting has also been held on the sports field in June since 2005 . With 350–400 vehicles, it is considered the largest meeting of the Japanese car brand in Europe.

On the Day of German Unity , the Elbe Cup is held annually by the fire brigades in the near and distant area on the grounds of the sports field.

A small Christmas market in the Advent season at the community center closes the event year of the place.


sons and daughters of the town

Personalities associated with Pretzsch


In mid-May 2008, the Pretzsch train station formed the backdrop for the movie A Russian Summer , which deals with the last weeks of life of the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910) with a lung condition .


Web links

Commons : Pretzsch  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Pretzsch  - travel guide

Individual evidence

  1. ^ StBA: Area changes from January 2 to December 31, 2009
  2. Donation deed to Otto II. 195. Memleben Monastery MGH digitized
  3. Manfred Wilde : The sorcery and witch trials in Saxony . Cologne, Weimar, Vienna 2003, p. 639.
  4. ^ A b Jens Banach: The role of the schools of the security police and the SD . In: Florian von Buttlar (Ed.): Fürstenberg-Drögen: Layers of an abandoned place . Edition Hentrich, Berlin 1994, ISBN 3-89468-116-0 , pp. 88-96.
  5. Christopher R. Browning and Jürgen Matthäus: The Origins of the Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy, September 1939-March 1942 . University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln 2007, ISBN 0-8032-5979-4 , pp. 226-227.
  6. Johannes Hürter: Hitler's Army Leader: The German Supreme Commanders in the War against the Soviet Union 1941/42 . 2nd Edition. Oldenbourg, Munich 2007, ISBN 3-486-58341-7 , pp. 520-521.
  8. 60 years of Pretzsch dog school. Retrieved November 15, 2019 .
  9. Local constitution law of the state in the version of July 1, 2014
  10. Main statutes in the version of November 18, 2016 ( Memento of the original of September 22, 2017 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /
  11. Marcel Duclaud: Heidebahn on Friday on the last trip . In: Mitteldeutsche Zeitung . December 17, 2014 ( online [accessed December 20, 2014]).
  12. See Katrin Löwe, Tolstoy's last station in Pretzsch. Day with Hollywood stars Helen Mirren and Christopher Plummer - extras need patience, in: Mitteldeutsche Zeitung, Halle on May 14, 2008 . Retrieved January 31, 2011.