E. Rosenblat, R. Voytishko

To the Dutch settlements history in Brest area

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The Reformation epoch played an important part in historical foredoom of European peoples. It affected badly all the spheres of their lives: social, political, economic, ideological, as well as cultural one. Obviously, the Reformation could not pass Belarus by.

Since the middle of the XVI century Protestant communities started to appear in Belarus under the personal protection of Duke Radzivill the Black in towns of Vilnius, Nesvizh, Brest, Kletsk, Kejdany and so on /1/. There appeared schools, churches, sometimes printing houses in the. With time passing by, these communities grew into big protestant colonies that became the centers of the spreading Reformation teachings. The majority of these colonies were in dependence to the feudal protector, who was providing the protestant ministers (clergymen), who were often invited from abroad, with living allowance, that is with lands and year allowance.

Most of all the Reformation communities were those of Calvinist ones /in XVI the 1st half of XVII there were 85, whereas there were only 7 of those Arian ones/ /2/. There were, /however, in a very limited amount/ Lutheran communities. Representatives of mainly lower middle class belonged to them /3/. The testimonies of one of the earliest Lutheran communities in Belarus date back to 1535, when the Duke of Slutsk Juriy Semenovitch shared a piece of land for the Lutheran Church construction in the town that belonged to him /4/. By 1539 one of the 1st protestant school was founded. It was established by Abraham Kulva, the missioner of the Lutheran confession, and could seat 50 persons /5/.

Luthers teachings penetrated Belarus and Lithuania, coming from, mainly, the Prussian Dukedom (being dependent on Poland), where Lutheranism became the state religion since 1925. In 1544 a Lutheran University was founded in Konigsberg, where many Belarusian and Lithuanian Protestants obtained their education. In 1545 Albrecht, the Duke of Prussia, sent to the Great Dukedom of Lithuania Lutheran missioners with a great amount of printed Lutheran  spiritual books. He also established 8 stipends in the newly founded University of Konigsberg for the Lithuanian who dedicated themselves to Lutheran spiritual service. The Universitys department of theology was chaired by the abovementioned Abraham Kulva /6/.

In the middle of XVI century, the Protestant missioner movement gained large-scale dimensions. Colonies founded by them, not taking into account that they encouraged new teachings to be spreading, brought, however small but still, profit to the feudalists, on the lands of whom they were settled. The year 1564 testifies to the foundation of two Lutheran colonies Neudorf and Neubrov on the right bank of the Boug river (the territory of the contemporary Brest region). The 1st one was located 5-6 km. to South-West, the latter one, 2-3 km. to West, respectively, from the village of Domachevo.

Most likely, the colonists were aimed at the attempt to draw the local population to the Lutheran faith being a personal example and by common labor. One shouldnt exclude the economic reason. However it was, its too early to draw any conclusions on the matter.

Note, that the issue of the existence of the abovementioned colonies, unfortunately, didnt find any coverage in purely scientific and science-fiction publications. So, until recently, the fact of the Dutch colonies existing near Domachevo, didnt become the property of wide audience. Besides, we havent known for a long while who and when founded the colonies of Neudorf and Neubrov. Some short description of them can be found in a work of a known Belarusian ethnographer and historian of XIX century I. Kirkor, called Picturesque Russia. He testifies: In Brest-Litovsk county even a century ago Dutchmen founded two colonies within the estate of Dukes of Radzivills: named Neudorf and Neubrov /7/. If we take into account that the book was published in 1882, on the basis of that one can conclude that the colonies had been founded in XVIII c. A worker of the History and Ethnography Institute of the Belarusian Academy of Sciences I. Karashchenko in an article published in the magazine Nessy 33 /141/, 1994 /p.20/ put the concrete date of the colonies of Neudorf and Neubrov foundation 1790. However, according to him, the colonies were not founded by Dutchmen, but by the German which originated from Württemberg. So, wheres the truth?

Lets get back to the documentation, which remained in the Grodno subsidiary of the State Archive of History and in the State Archive of Brest state.

Heres the content of the letter of explanation to the Grodno civil governor: within the 2 villages, called Neudorf and Neubrov, settled by free foreigners Olenders /the Dutchmen authors note/ near the river of Boug on the lands that belonged to Duke Radzivill, there are 273 persons of the Evangelical Lutheran confession.

Heres another curious testimony the statement of the colony Neubrov citizen Jan Zelent-Lipinski to the Commission of the Brest county Administration, which says as follows: 400 years passed since my ancestors obtained eternal peasant land tenure and rent in the amount of 18 Lithuanian morgues of land, located in the colony of Neubrov of the Domachevo borough, former Duke Radzivills property. The land I inherited from my fathers and grandfathers is used by me at the moment /10/. The statement dates back to 1925. So, concluding all that to have been said, itll be proved and reasonable to consider the colonies of Neudorf and Neubrov not to have been founded by the German from Württemberg in XVIII c., but by the Dutch in 1564.

In connection with that a question arises, how could the date of the colonies foundation appear 1790? We can suggest that in exact same year there was the second wave of migrants from Europe. Moreover, even now theres an opinion among locals that the colonists were allegedly invited by Ekaterina the Great to inspect the Boug crossing. There can be thousands of opinions. However it was, we know for sure that a contract was made between the colonists and land owners, that regulated their relations. The text of the original document has not been kept, but we know that on June 11th (acc. to other sources on 16th) /11/ 1624 the new contract was made between the colonists and Earl Vladislav Leshchinsky. According to it, every land user obtained 4 morgues of croft and 2 patches of distant land, for what each of them would have to pay 15 kopecks each per morgue of the land they exploit with no other obligations /12/. On April 23 1764 Duke Radzivill handed the colonists a document, according to which, 1 gold and 1 grosz should be paid for an each morgue of land, and in total, each land user had to pay 6 pieces of gold /13/. Besides, in the 50-s of the XIX c. a fee was established for all the Neubrov community instead of sentry and collection of house bread in the amount of 60 rubles a year as well as pike of 93 rubles 74 kopecks. Totally, together with the morgue tenure the whole community had to pay 345 rubles 10.5 kopecks a year. The land users had a right to take the holders of patrimonial estate woods for fuel. The colonists retained the right, solidified, most likely, in the 1st contract, of the sale of their land, with the maintenance of all the obligations of land buy in favor of holder of patrimonial estate.

The contract also established the right of the inheritance by land users of the tenured land, at that, the direct heirs are sons. In case of absence of the latter, daughters inherit the piece of land and, if the land is in possession of women, who inherited the land due to the absence of sons, the land is shared in equal proportion between sons and daughters. In total, land users of only the Neubrov colony possessed 1229 morgues in 35 rents of land. And, as it was put in the protocol of land users rights check-up, this possession lasted since 1624 with no obstacles /15/.

Often floods prevented colonists from fruitful use  of the land they obtained since their lands were id direct proximity to Boug. Heres what the report to the Grodno Governor says (1821): (colonists) have their lands near Boug river and are regularly flooded with water, therefore they dont have any bread, but cultivate only gardens and make hay /16/. Old-timers of that places tell about a curious fact: when Boug was spilling over its banks, flooding not only meadows but also houses, colonists lifted pigs, hens and other home animals on ropes to attics of their houses, where they successfully waited until the flood was over.

Obviously, the people of Neudorf and Neubrov had been using this way of overcoming the floods since XVI c., that is since the settlements had been founded.

In spite of the high water, colonists still planted rye, barley, oats /17/. Whereas water meadows allowed them to keep large animal farms. In the beginning of XX c. the colonists had their own dairy cooperative store, that was making various diary products, as well as a land-owners co-op called LAU and 2 wind mills /16/. All in all, the farms of the colonists were quite stable, whereas colonists themselves were far from being poor. They could afford to hire people from the neighboring villages to perform various farm works. This relative economic stability couldnt but tell the criminal situation in the colonies. There was a low rate of crime noted in Neudorf and Neubrov. There wasnt also any economic strikes or uprisings there. All the problems were settled in the Court.

Still, not all the things were that smooth as far as the colonies were concerned. On February 2 1928 the pastor of the Lutheran parish of the Church announced a strike of Lutherans school kids. The strike embraced schools in Domachevo (there were some 500 kids from 5 schools among the striking) /19/. The essence of the conflict was as follows: the schools in Neudorf and Neubrov, as well as in some of them of Domachevo were attended by 85-90% /20/ of Lutherans children. However, Catholic teachers staffed the schools themselves mainly. It brought about the uneasiness and discontent of the Lutheran pastor Evald Lodvich, who was appointed as the administrator of Neudorf and Neubrov parish by the Spiritual Consistory of the Lutheran Church in Warsaw in 1925 /21/. The perspective for the kids to be catholicized bothered their parents. Whereas numerous complaints on this issue to the Tutorial Council didnt yield any results. After that pastor Evald Lodvich took a radical step he organized the kids strike, appointed for the period  February 6 19 1928.

The police didnt make itself wait. They paid all effort to put an end to the strike. All means were good. Heres the testimony of the President of the Evangelical Gathering in Warsaw: The police terrorizes and mock at people in a most rude and evil shape. There were disciplinary fines to be paid of a total amount of 5, 000 gold pieces /22/. Finally, on February 13, on the 7th strike day it was seduced to be stopped.

The Policy of catholicizing and turning into Polish was never ending one after that. Due to the instruction of the Ministry of Internal affairs the colonies of Neudorf and Neubrov were renamed into Moscice Gorne and Moscice Dolne respectively in 1930. It was explained with the necessity to give Polish names to all towns and villages of Poland /23/.

The German occupation administration, when Brest was taken in 1941, acknowledged the former colonies of Neudorf and Neubrov as a German settlement, announcing them folksdeuche /24/. The information about the folksdeuche is in the report of the Head of Brest-Litovsk region gendarmerie. Heres what the situation report dated January 1944 tells: The criminal situation within Brest-Litovsk area was extremely tough On January 15 1944 outlaws attacked the regional center Domachevo, and as to that 27 houses got burnt down and 7 houses of folksdeuche, including women, kids, who had lived nearby Domachevo. Due to the fact that approximately 600 folksdeuche, including women and kids were not provided with reasonable protection from outlaws, they were resettled to Belostok /25/.




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() E. Rosenblat, R. Voytishko      




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