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The Era of the Schulenburgs in Tressow

The Schulenburgs are first mentioned in an October 28th, 1237 document, which references the representative of the family, Wernerus de Sculenburch. Centuries later, the Field Marshal of the Republic of Venice, Matthias Johann von der Schulenburg (1661 - 1747), who was elevated to the position of Count of the Holy Roman Empire by Emperor Karl VI (1685 - 1740), became wealthy over the course of his life. Christian Günther von der Schulenburg, Court Squire of Hanover, inherited this wealth and used it to acquire from bankrupt Cavalry Captain Hans Caspar von Plessen estates in Gross Krankow, Petersdorf, Köchelsdorf and Tressow in Mecklenburg in 1751. The remains of Plessenburg (von Plessen`s castle) can still be seen in the forest near Castle Tressow. Christian Günther`s extravagant lifestyle eventually brought the property to a state of financial distress, which continued right through to the next generation.

However, Ernst Werner von der Schulenburg (1832 - 1880), who inherited the estate in 1847 while still a minor, managed the property so successfully that the remaining debts were significantly diminished. From 1862 until 1865 he had the late classical manor house "Castle Tressow" built south of Tressow Lake on a hill. For this purpose, he used Schwerin architect to the imperial court, Daniel (later of the Schinkel School), who had recently distinguished himself as a foreman in the construction of castles in Schwerin. The house was set at the end of the longest point of the lake so that there is an impressive view from the manor over the park and along the length of the lake. Stables were constructed nearby by the government to resemble the royal stables of the Grand Ducal of Schwerin.

Historical appearance. Source: 13.3-1 Mencke & Co., Hamburg - Wandsbek (Mecklenburgian Manors circa 1880 - 1890), Nr. 1092

Tressow was at this point the center of an exactly 3,000-hectare property and the Schulenburgs were among the wealthiest families of Prussia. Shortly before Werner von der Schulenburg`s death, his oldest son died in a hunting accident in Tressow. As a result, Friedrich, the second oldest, inherited the estate and led it for several decades. He was a fierce defender of the monarchy and attempted in 1918 to dissuade Kaiser Wilhelm II from abdicating. His failure in this endeavor and resultant distress about the end of the monarchy led him to retreat to Tressow and focus on managing his estate.

In 1929, he passed the property to his eldest son in order to again dedicate himself to politics. Proceeds from the sale of the estate in Bobitz went to the four younger brothers. Meanwhile in the castle there developed a lively political culture with numerous visitors such as the former German crown prince. In accordance with the sensibilities of Friedrich`s only daughter Tisa (1903 - 2001) (Elisabeth von der Schulenberg), Tressow developed into a "University for Politics." Here, the causes of the fall of the monarchy constituted the central issue of discussion.

Fritz Dietlof von der Schulenburg (1902-1944)

Over time, the family enthusiastically embraced National Socialism. Indeed, when Friedrich von der Schulenburg passed away on May 23rd, 1939 a state ceremony commemorated his death in Potsdam`s pleasure garden, and Heinrich Himmler personally appeared at the burial in Tressow. Fritz Dietlof von der Schulenburg (1902 - 1944), Friedrich`s fourth son, and his sister Tisa nonetheless gradually distanced themselves from the regime. In fact, Fritz Dietlof belonged to the inner circle of resistance fighters and actively aided in the planning of "Operation Valkyrie." Had the mission succeeded in toppling the regime he would have become Minister of the Interior. However on August 10th, 1944 he was tried for the failed coup by Roland Freisler in the Supreme People`s Court along with Erich Fellgiebel, Berthold Schenk Count von Stauffenberg, Alfred Kranzfelder and Georg Hansen. After the issuance of the death sentence his final words were:

"We did this in order to defend Germany from a nameless misery. I have no doubt that I will be hanged but I do not regret my actions and I hope that someone else will pull Germany into a happier era. SCHULENBURG

Fritz Dietlof Count von der Schulenberg was hanged in Plötzensee on the same day. None of Friedrich`s five sons survived the war. On June 30, 1945, just before West Mecklenburg was handed over from the English to the Red Army, the wife of final owner Johan Albrecht von der Schulenburg departed Castle Tressow for the west as the last representative of the family, along with her seven children. The manor was soon plundered and made to house evacuees. Finally, in the fall of 1945, the family was formally dispossessed of the property through land reform.

Historical appearance. Source: 13.3-1 Mencke & Co., Hamburg - Wandsbek (Mecklenburgian Manors circa 1880 - 1890), Nr. 1092

After 1945

After the evacuees had moved on, the castle was used as a school and later as a school for children with learning disabilities. Until the fall of the Berlin Wall the facility carried the name of Berlin communist resistance fighter Katja Niederkirchner. However in 1991 the school was renamed after Fritz-Dietlof von der Schulenburg, whose memory (as he was a local opponent of the Nazis) had even lived on through the communist regime.

Additions were made to the school in the 1980s and the no-longer-needed manor stood empty, neglected and dilapidated. This period of vacancy led to the loss of what had been well-preserved features such as marble fireplaces, wooden and stucco ceilings, wooden paneling and elaborate floors. During the 1999/2000 school year the school was moved from Tressow to Neukloster where it continued to carry the resistance fighter`s name. In fact, a memorial plaque created by the now deceased sister and artist Tisa von der Schulenburg adorns the school building in Neukloster. After the fall of the Berlin Wall the local community renovated the roof, and the castle was sold to a private party. The new owner began renovations in 2000 and then turned his attention to the stables, which were still public property. Having long since lost their original purpose, the stables passed from the community to the current owner, who is undertaking renovations with a historically sensitive approach.