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December 28, 2005


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Mrs Tilton

Fascinating. But there are lots of protestant bits of Lower Franconia, and surely not all of them were Saxon exclaves? Würzburg, for example, is as catholic as it gets. Yet there are lots of nearby towns and vilages that are solidly Lutheran (with, typically, a heavy ancient evangelische church on the square, and maybe a spaceship-like postwar RC chapel on the edge of town serving the Neubürger who moved in when the place became a de facto suburb).

The more diplomatic Franconians, BTW, will accept the label 'Bavarian' readily enough (at least if it's a Saupreiss using it; really, can one expect them to know any better?), but will remind you that they are 'die Elite Bayerns'.

This all makes me think of a Kommilitone whom I'd queried as to his home. He was from Aschaffenburg; as he explained, 'isch bin Bay'.


Hi Mrs. T.,

Yes, Franconia was always more religiously mixed -- than the rest of Bavaria. This was another reason Ostheim was more important than it looks: it was a Protestant outpost in a Bavarian borderland that had a large Protestant minority.

Ostheim, BTW, perfectly fits the pattern you describe: /very/ heavy, ancient Protestant church in the center, modern 1970-ish Catholic church further towards the edge of town.

The Franconians I know (my in-laws and their friends, mostly) do seem to have an odd love-hate relationship with Bavaria. And they're not Bavarian at all. Except when they are. The closest American analogy -- and it's not very close -- might be the weird relationship between mouth-breathing American patriotism and neo-Confederate Southern regionalism.

It's not that sort of creepy, but it is contradictory in the same sort of way.

Doug M.

Mrs Tilton

I should add that this is interesting for another reason. I'd had no idea Claudia was from so close to my old stomping-ground of Würzburg. (I'm not sure why, but I'd formed a notion she was from much farther east in Oberfranken: Coburg or some place like that).

And I learn from a glance at de.wikipedia that Ostheim became part of Thüringen in 1920 (the year, IIANM, when Coburg left Thüringen to join Bavaria) and was only annexed to the weissblauer Freistaat by the Amis in 1945 (bit of luck, that, by the way). No wonder the locals have their problems with the Lederhosen-wearers to their south; it's a bit as though a bunch of Brazilians had marched into Dover two generations back and told the people that they were henceforth part of la Normandie.

Dennis Brennan

I've always had a fondness for pre-unification German maps. All those marvelous enclaves and leopard spots. The absurd, needless (to me) complexity of the whole situation is just so thrilling, somehow.

There are still a bunch of places like this in the world-- Wikipedia's article on 'enclave' discusses a few, such as the Belgium/Netherlands one and the India/Bangladesh one. But the German situation here is even more fun, what with the big number of political entities involved.

I posted a WI along these lines to That Newsgroup a couple of months ago, but got few takers.

So, what's a "grand" duchy, and how does it differ from, say, a non-grand duchy or an archduchy?


Franconians have an advanced form of Stockholm syndrome.

This is a post-unification map. Before 1866 it would have to show Hesse-Nassau as a country and between 1866 and 1871 it would have to show national borders for Bohemia and Bavaria.

A Grand Duke is higher in rank and has precedence, provided both are reichsunmittelbar.

Mrs Tilton

'Archduke' was pretty much a family-internal usage amongst the Habsburgs. (Perhaps something very roughly like 'royal duke' or 'prince of the blood royal' as used in the UK?) I use the word 'family' here, of course, in both its genetico-sociological and its mafia sense.

According to wikipedia, both the title and Austria's very status as an 'archduchy' were basically just something the Habsburgs blatantly made up, using a batch of forged deeds to fool the world and grab status equal to the Electors of the Holy Roman Empire. (The forgery wasn't discovered until after the HRE was dissolved, so the Habsburgs got clean away with it.)

Hmmm, maybe I should try something like that. What, you mean you've never heard of the Donum Bobdobbsianum, whereby the Tiltons were granted perpetual ownership rights over all the world's oxygen? Well, your ignorance is neither here nor there. Just see that you pay the bill you'll be getting presently for all that air you've been breathing.

Dennis Brennan



for a cute article about enclaves, exclaves and similar geographic curiosities in Europe.

Richard Besser

I'm wondering if any of you folks know of a village/town called Gahans. My grandfather was born in Saxe Weimar according to the 1860 census and his Civil War discharge papers indicate he was born in Gahans Germany. I'm wondering where that might be in modern Germany. I haven't been able to find any reference to that town anywhere.
Dick B.

Carl von Bibra

I believe Ostheim wasn't technically annexed by Bavaria in 1945. At least prior to reunification,
it was part of Thuringia but “administered by the Free State of Bavaria”. This was a strange
situation since in order to reunify Germany the old states of eastern Germany had to reconstitute
themselves in order to join the Bundes Republik Deutschland (West Germany) state by state. In
other words between around 1946 and 1989 just prior to reunification, I don’t think there was a
Thuringia existing in the DDR to which Ostheim could be a part of.

Paul Orf

My great grandfather was from Saxe-Weimar or Saxony Weimar. Sometimes he listed his birthplace as Kronkicker. He left Germany in 1840. I've never been able to locate that village/town.
Any help would be appreciated.
Paul Orf

Paul Orf

My great grandfather was from Saxe-Weimar or Saxony Weimar. Sometimes he listed his birthplace as Kronkicker. He left Germany in 1840. I've never been able to locate that village/town.
Any help would be appreciated.
Paul Orf

Jim Chorazy

Not exactly in the same venue, but the historical connection of the East Franks with the West Franks (aka the French) is there. My grandfather's people are Franks from B-W (in fact, one of the last names in the family tree is precisely that, "Frank".). Grandpa came to the USA as a teenager; his parents stayed in KRW (which of course is not on the above map). . . . When I asked a local Cath. monastary to please translate my greatgrandmother's obit. I was amused to read that "from all around came French relatives" to her funeral . . . I knew of course that it should have stated "Frankish". Jim Chorazy (my mother was from German parents)

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