Teutonic Knights

The Teutonic Knights (officially, the German Order of the Cross) were one of the groups of Knights set up for the Crusades to the Holy Land. However, once set up they never fought there. Instead, the Prince Konrad of Poland around 1226 invited them to bring Christianity to the troublesome heathen Pruss people in the area of modern northwest Poland and Lithuania.

Under the leadership of several great leaders, the knights defeated the Pruss and either converted them or, more usually, sent them to meet their maker. The Teutonic Knights then looked to areas of northern Poland to acquire. Some was by conquest and in the case of Schlochau, it was by purchase in 1312 as part of the Treaty of Soldin. They built fortresses at Malbrook (their headquarters shown below), Preuss Friedland, and Schlochau in the 14th century. They also build churches in those areas like at Stretzin as well as in the Danzig area at this time like Cedry Wielke and possibly Reichenberg. Here is their castle at Malbrook

Want to see the details? Click here for the Adobe Acrobat Version.

Here is the church they originally built at Stretzin:

As the Teutonic Knights often killed Christian Poles in the process of conquest, a later Polish king fought them to a stand still at the battle of Tannenbaum in 1410 and ultimately defeated the Teutonic Knights in 1466. From that point onward, Royal Prussia (know as West Prussia after 1772) was nominally part of Poland and the Teutonic Knights were confined to the area of the Pruss. The latter area was known as Ducal Prussia or later as East Prussia.

Grand Master Albrecht Holenzollern became the leader of the knights about the time of the Reformation and converted to Lutheranism in 1525. Hence, the whole of East Prussia became Lutheran. Later the Holenzollerns consolidated East Prussia and Brandenburg (and other German states) into Prussia and ultimately into the pre-World War II German Empire.

Here are some modern knights trying to convert people to ...

Buying at the castle's souvenir store.


Please send any information and queries to Bill Remus at

November 7, 2006