Ornshagen, Kr. Regenwalde, Pomerania (Zerzyno, Poland)

Ornshagen was a small village located at the confluence of the Paatziger and Rega rivers about four miles southwest of Regenwalde in the county (Kreis) of Regenwalde.  The village was part of the huge feudal estate that had belonged to the von Borcke family for nearly four centuries.  In 1826, Major Karl Ludwig von Borcke sold his entire estate for the price of 168,000 Reichstalern to the brothers, Ernst Georg von Bülow and George Bernhard von Bülow, a forestry superintendent. George transferred his share to his brother, Ernst, in 1827. After the death of Ernst Gottfried George von Bülow in 1851, the estate was inherited by his only daughter, Henriette Caroline Luise, geb. von Bülow in Schwerin, the wife of the grand duke, Count Hans Adolf von Bülow who was Mecklenburg-Schwerin's Minister of State.

Ornshagen had been  selected as the site for the manor house in the early 1800's because of its beautiful location by a small lake at the confluence of the Paatziger and Rega rivers.  Extensive stands of beech and oak trees, inhabited by many red deer, wild boars, cranes and even the rare black stork, surrounded the village.  During her years there, Henriette von Bülow enlarged the modest, old rustic  manor house and created beautiful new gardens and lawns.  It is clear from the picture published in Sieber's book1 (click on photo for larger image) that it must have been a lovely place.  In his diary, Hermann Schlueter, a gardener there in the 1860's, mentioned an incredible variety of vegetables, flowers, shrubs, vines and fruit trees that were grown in the gardens.

The von Bülow's would have been the estate owners when my great, great grandparents, David and Friederike Maass, were living there prior to 1857.   David Maass was a tailor in Ornshagen, but it is not known if he had his own shop there or worked exclusively for the von Bülow's.  The Maasses moved to Hohenschönau about 1856 or 1857 when their oldest son, Carl Friedrich Erdmann, was about 20 years old.  Carl, who also became a tailor, was likely a tailor's apprentice before leaving Ornshagen.  David's brother and sister-in-law, Franz and Johanne (Bain) Maass, also lived in Ornshagen at the time.

Henriette von Bülow died in 1858, a year or so after the Maasses left Ornshagen, and the property passed to her husband and their four children, Elise Luis Adelheid Countess von Bassewitz, Adelheid Ernestine Sophie countess Perponcher, Marie Hedwig Emilie chamber lady of Luehe, and Hans Gottfried George Count von Bülow.  After their father died in 1869, the children took over the estate as exclusive owners.  In the years 1872 and 1873, the old manor house was replaced by an impressive new palace (Schloss).  The photo shown here was published in an old issue of Die Pommersche Zeitung.   The 3-story Schloss had at least 14 chimneys and dozens of rooms.  However, because of financial problems, the estate was auctioned on March 30, 1876 and acquired by Count Louis Perponcher of Potsdam.  The estate remained in the Perponcher family until World War II, when Ornshagen and the beautiful palace were totally destroyed by the Russians.  

Just prior to the war, there were 325 inhabitants living in 56 households in Ornshagen, a  village that was also the site of a forestry station and a railroad station.  The village and its surrounding fields once encompassed an area of 830 ha (2050 acres). Ornshagen had no church of its own, the Evangelische church parish was in Regenwalde and the Catholic church parish was in Grünhoff.   

Today very little remains of the former von Borcke estate and village. A decorative concrete fence still encloses part of the estate but the beautiful gardens and park are now reverting to their native and wild state.   The former palace gate shown at the left stands abandoned and unused along side the road (click to enlarge).  A couple of barns remain from the former Gut.  One of the brick barns has apparently been rebuilt while another lies in compete ruins. There are only a couple of homes remaining and they appear to be occupied.   

Click here for more photos of Ornshagen



Sources:  Material for this brief chronicle was taken from the following  German publications:  1) Sieber, Helmut. Schlösser und Herrensitze in Pommern. Nach alten Stichen und Vorlagen. Frankfurt am Main, W. Weidlich, 1959;  2) Neuschäffer, Hubertus. Schlösser und Herrenhäuser in Hinterpommern : ein Handbuch über Häuser und Güter mit Bildern / Hubertus Neuschäffer. Leer  [Germany] : G. Rautenberg, c1994; and 3) Heimatbuch Kreis Regenwalde by Rüdiger von Borcke 1970.  Photo of the palace gate reprinted with the permission of David Wendt.

- Gene Maas

rev. Nov  2003


Ornshagen Photos

Maas Family History

Table of Contents