Last modified: 2011-05-14 by andrew weeks
Keywords: ketrzyn |
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Before 1945, the town was in the German province of East Prussia, and
was known in German as Rastenburg and in Polish as Rastembork.
The original inhabitants of the region were the Baltic Prusian tribe of the Aesti, mentioned by Tacitus in his Germania (AD 98).
The town of Rastenburg was established in 1329 in the Monastic state of the Teutonic Knights and was granted town rights in 1357.
Genetic tests on German families expelled from the region after World War II showed that mixing of German and Polish colonists with Baltic Prussians occurred in the Middle Ages at a higher rate than previously estimated from surnames and church records.
The region was the scene of fighting during both world wars. in 1914
it was the scene of the battle of the Masurian Lakes during the Tannenburg
Adolf Hitler's wartime military headquarters, the Wolfsschanze (Wolf's Lair), was located in the forest east of Rastenburg. The bunker was the setting for the failed July 20 Plot against Hitler. In 1945 the area suffered devastation from both the retreating Germans and advancing Russians during the Vistula-Oder campaign. The ruins of the Wolfsschanze, blown up by the retreating Germans, are today an important tourist attraction.
Rastenburg was occupied by the Red Army in 1945 near the end of World War II. After the war ended, it was placed under Polish administration according to the decisions made at the Potsdam Conference. Its German residents who had not evacuated were subsequently expelled westward and replaced with Poles. The town was renamed from Rastembork to Kętrzyn after the Masurian activist Wojciech Kętrzyński in 1950.
Arms and flag adopted on January 23, 2003 (resolution # V/50/03).
"Arms: a brown bear walking to the right between tree fir trees on a mild green hill.
All on silver shield.
Flag: rectangle divided into two equal horizontal bands: dark blue over
white. In the center of the flag the Arms are placed."
Chrystian Kretowicz, 14 Nov 2008