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The Ewest Family

The history of the Ewest family – written by Frieda Hilgendorff, nee Ewest.

“Karl Friedrich August Ewest, born 9.8.1829 in Kunersdorf, Oberbarnim county in the Margraviate of Brandenburg, died on 3.10.1913 in Łeba [Łeba], Lauenburg [Lębork]county in Pomerania. His father was a farmer in Kunersdorf, apparently his descendants still live there today. Married with Lüben, Friederike Ernestine, born on 23.1.1837 in Brunow/Mark (Margraviate), died on 9.7.1912 in Łeba [Łeba], Lauenburg [Lębork] county in Pomerania.

Grandfather was the first of the Ewest family who settled in Pomerania. He was a farmer and managed larger estates, e.g. Sorchow [Żoruchowo] in the Stolp [Słupsk]county  for Mr. von Braunschweig, where he had a lifetime contract. Unfortunately, he resigned from this good position, when his son, Paul (our father), acquired 4000 morgens of land in the estate of Schönehr [Szczenurz] near Łeba, Lębork county from a man named Mr. v. Hanstein. The estate was in a terrible state and required a lot of effort to bring it to order. One of the biggest projects was the construction of the distillery. I remember that once 16 horses drew a giant cauldron from Lębork into the yard. I also remember that in the first few years the cows,  as a result of grazing in the forest,  contracted anthrax and a whole lot of them died, while the pigs contracted Rosenbach’s disease. At that time,  there wasn’t any effective vaccination, and people tried to reduce the fever by herding the animals into the water, probably without much effect, because it was said that over 100 pigs died. We, the children, always looked at the herding of pigs into the pond with great interest. Thus, the beginnings of running an independent farm were very difficult for my father. My grandparents lived on the Heinrichswerder [Dychlino] farm, because Grandpa resigned from his position of life land-agent. They also run a mill, but my grandmother often said to our mother: “Małgosiu (Gretchen), the stream to the mill was so fragile, as if someone poured water from a watering can”. My grandparents lived in Dychlin, until after a few years my father sold it as an estate covering 1200 morgens of land. My grandparents then moved to Łeba, where my father bought a house with a large garden situated on the main street. Their son, Fritz, who throughout his life suffered from severe asthma, lived with them; he also died in Łeba. The sale of  Dychlin was a great financial relief for my parents. Their son, Fritz, never married and is buried in Łeba.

My grandparents had about 12 children, many of whom died in childhood. I myself knew:

Lieschen, who married a pharmacist, Otto Schmidt, from Szczecin, the pharmacy was called “Vulkan-Apotheke”; after 3 years of marriage Lieschen died of tuberculosis, leaving one daughter, Greta, who married a lawyer in Berlin. Even before 1914 the pharmacy was sold, and Schmidt-father, his daughter and his sister, who raised the girl, lived in Switzerland for many years, and later in Freiburg im Breisgau.

Walter Ewest, a farmer in East Prussia, a bachelor, went missing.

Fritz Ewest lived with his parents, suffered from asthma, died in Łeba.

Grete Ewest, Ropel after her husband, divorced, died in Szczecin.

Paul Ewest, our father, Szczenurze, then Zackenzin [Ciekocino].

My father, Paul Ewest, sold the property of Szczenurze near Łeba in 1905  and took over Ciekocino in the Lębork county from Mr. von Braunschweig, who sold the property for health reasons. It was a beautiful agricultural property, covering approx. 1200 morgens of forest and a lot of good quality farmland. For unknown reasons, fires often broke out there, for example, two storage buildings and one barn burnt down, and even the family house. In the latter case, the fire was caused by a damaged chimney, which was taken over from the previous owner in this unknown condition. The fire nearly killed my brothers. Until a new residential building was constructed, we moved for a few years to a new estate purchased by my father, Büchow [Bychowo] near Lębork. Unfortunately, after some time it was re-sold and my parents moved back to Ciekocino,  because due to economic reasons they could not afford to keep the other estate.

Before my father bought Szczenurze, he was the land-agent of Ciekocino (which he  later bought  for the sole reason that he knew the property). There were eight siblings with me, initially four daughters, of whom the first three were born in Ciekocino, and the fourth, Ilse, was born in Szczenurze. Later four sons were born – all in Szczenurze. I was the oldest, then Erna, Margarete (we called her Dete), Ilse, and four sons: Heinz-Hermann died at the age of two and a half, probably of pneumonia at the time of my mother’s illness.

At the age of 17, the  second daughter, Erna, died of the wasting disease (tuberculosis), as it was then called. Then the eldest son, Hans-Harald, died in an accident. He lived on and run the property of Kaffzig [Kawcza] in the Rummelsburg [Miastko] county, which was leased by my father. He fell under a train as he was getting off the narrow-gauge train at the local train station. It was slippery (February) and he fell between the cars, because the doors of the compartments were at the end of the cars. So my parents suffered the tragedy of losing three of their children. On 19.06.1932 my mother passed away in Ciekocino and was buried there too. She didn’t live to see the sudden death of Ilse on 04.10.1933, who died within a few days of severe inflammation of the throat. A year later, my father sold Ciekocino and moved to his daughter Margarete-Dete Duwe to Bad Polzin [Polczyn Zdrój], where her husband was the head of the hospital of St. John of Jerusalem. He died on 30.01.1942 and the cremation took place in Kołobrzeg.

1. Friederike (Frieda) Ewest, married name Hilgendorff, 25.7.1890 – 30.9.1985

2. Erna Ewest, 15.3.1892 – 13.5.1909

3. Margarete (Dete) Ewest, married name Duwe, 15.10.1893 – 28.9.1977

4. Ilse Ewest, married name von Wittke-Prebendow, Lębork/Pomorze county, 17.4.1896 – 4.10.1933 – first husband lieutenant Sigurd Eschenbach, died around 1918 during World War I in  Kowno.

5. Heinz-Hermann Ewest, 22.8.1897 – 13.1.1900

6. Hans-Harald Ewest, 2.11.1900 – 9.2.1923 accident

7. Wend Joachim Carl Walter Ewest, 6.3.1902, married to Brigitte Alst

8. Paul-Werner Ewest, 28.10.1903 – 28.11.1965, Farm Halali/Windhoek, South-West Africa [Namibia], Ursula Schönberg

9. Wend Ewest,  died on 27.12.1986