Osterwick (Ostrowite)

Osterwick (Polish: Ostrowite [ɔstrɔˈvitɛ]) today is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Chojnice, within Chojnice County, Pomeranian Voivodeship, in northern Poland. It lies approximately 11 kilometres (7 mi) south-east of Chojnice and 104 km (65 mi) south-west of the regional capital Gdańsk. The village has a population of 526 today.

Observed variations in the sources write the name of the village Osterwic, Ostriwig, Ostirwig, Osterwick, Osterwigh, Ostrowig, Osterwig, Osterwyk, Ostwruitz, Ostrowyte, Ostrowithi, Ostrowithe, Ostrovithe, Ostrowite.

Osterwick appeared in the historical records for the first time as Ostirwig in 1338, when the estates of the Deutscher Ritterorden (Order of the Teutonic Knights) sold hereditary Niclausowi Sulesdorfowi 84 drags on Chelmno law, locating the same village. The act also made ​​demarcation of the village, which was next to Frankenhagen (Silno), Deutsch Cekzin (Ciechocin) , Schlagenthin (Sławęcin), Lichnau (Lichnowy) and Granow (Granowo).

In the 1402 a brick Gothic parish church was built, which was consecrated in 1435 and still exists today. Osterwick had the status of a parish in the deanery Tuchola and belonged to the Archdiocese of Gniezno.

In 1414 the village had been severely affected as a result of looting by troops. Ostrowite was again ravaged by the Polish army and the Hussites in July and August 1433 which gained supplies burning the villages them after robbing.

The destruction was so severe that the village was reborn only as a result of organized colonization. New settlers began arriving in 1435, most likely in the vicinity of Osnabrück.

The descendants of settlers from the fifteenth century lived in Ostrowite and nearby villages, preserving the Catholic faith, Low German language and German culture until the end of World War II. In the nineteenth century appeared their term Kosznajdrzy, and area of residence called Kosznajderia.

After the Peace of Thorn in 1466, the village was on the territory of the Polish Royal Prussia, from 1772 to 1920, first in the Kingdom of Prussia, and later in the German Empire.

During the Prussian period, Ostrowite was overwhelmingly inhabited by German-speaking Catholic Kosznajdrów. Few were Protestant people of German nationality and Catholic Poles. 1871 censuses revealed in Osterwick 8 % of Protestants, and in 1895 only 6.4 %. In 1905 census record there were only 3.5 % people speaking Polish in Osterwick.

In 1920, the Kosznajderia belonged again to Poland. Authorities conducted in Kosznajderia Polonisation action. In 1930 and subsequent years Polish language courses for the local population in several villages, including Osterwick.

In the period from 1939 to 1945 Ostrowite, along with all Western Prussia, was annexed to the German Reich.

Since 1945 Osterwick again, found itself in Poland. Immediately after the war the residents from Koschneiderei were recognized by the Polish authorities as Germans and subjected to oppression. They were imprisoned in the Central Labor Camp in Potulice and, ultimately deported to Germany. Around 1950 deportation action was completed.


Osterwick village street



Osterwick school and church



Map of Osterwick (Ostrowite)



Map of Koschneiderei; Osterwick in the eastern part of Koschneiderei