Bärwalde (Baerwalde; now Niedźwiedzica; coordinates: 54.25789, 18.98686 [54° 15′ 28″ N 18° 59′ 12″ E]; population in 1905, 296; in 2012, 242), a village formerly in the district of Marienburg, West Prussia (now Poland), in which Mennonites lived from about 1570 to 1945. It lies 9.6 kilometres (6 miles) west north-west of Nowy Dwór Gdański (Tiegenhof), 21.4 kilometres (13.3 miles) north-east of Tczew (Dirschau), 23 kilometres (14.3 miles) east of Pruszcz Gdański (Praust;), and 23.2 kilometres (14.4 miles) east south-east of the regional capital Gdańsk (Danzig).
Bärwalde was founded by the Grand Master of the Teutonic Order, Ludolf König, in 1342 under the Chełmno law (Kulm Law, a legal constitution for a municipal form of government) on 54 włókas (969.56 hectares) of land. In 1565, Bärwalde, including the villages of Fürstenwerder and Neu Münsterberg, was leased to Reinhold Krockow and in 1590, to Simon Bahr, who established an estate in its the southern section. Those three villages formed an estate with 175 włókas and 8 morgas (3,147 hectares) of land.
Until 1772 Bärwalde was part of the Kingdom of Poland. The First Partition of Poland in 1772 resulted in the creation of a new province in 1773, called West Prussia, in which Bärwalde was located. Bärwalde was situated in the district (Kreis) of Marienburg until the establishment of the Free City of Danzig in 1920. The village came under the control of Nazi Germany during World War II until February 1945, when it was occupied by Soviet forces and returned to Poland. Today Bärwalde is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Stegna, within Nowy Dwór Gdański County, Pomeranian Voivodeship.
Mennonites first appeared in Bärwalde in 1570. The larger Flemish congregation was supervised by the elder of the Danzig church from 1570 to 1639; from that time on they chose their own elder, who also served the Elbing church. In 1726 Elbing became independent and in 1728 Heubuden also separated as an independent Flemish congregation from the church in the Grosses Werder.
As the latter was still too large, it was divided into four parts about 1740, namely, Rosenort, Tiegenhagen, Ladekopp, and Bärwalde, each of which controlled its own congregational affairs, even though for 20 years they were under one elder. Bärwalde was the first to acquire its own elder in 1809. However, because the church built in 1768 stood on Fürstenwerder land, the congregation took the name Fürstenwerder in about 1830.
The Prussian census of 1776 lists 14 Mennonite families in Bärwalde with the following surnames: Bestvader, Bruhn, Claasen, Cornin, Dick, Ens, Esau, Isaac, Loewen, Nickel, Penner, and Reimer. In 1820, the village had 256 residents, including 69 Mennonites.
The Flemish Mennonites living in Bärwalde belonged to the Mennonite congregation in Tiegenhagen, while the smaller group of Frisian Mennonites in the community were members of the Orlofferfeld congregation.
"Familienforschung in Westpreußen." Hans-Jürgen Wolf. Web. 29 September 2012. http://www.westpreussen.de/cms/ct/ortsverzeichnis/details.php?ID=479.
Hege, Christian and Christian Neff. Mennonitisches Lexikon, 4 vols. Frankfurt & Weierhof: Hege; Karlsruhe: Schneider, 1913-1967: v. I, 129.
Stowarzyszenie Konserwatorów Zabytków. "Niedźwiedzica (Żuławki - Niedźwiedzica)." Catalogue of Monuments of Dutch Colonization in Poland. 2005. Web. 1 December 2012. http://holland.org.pl/art.php?kat=obiekt&id=396&lang=en.
Wikipedia. "Niedźwiedzica, Pomeranian Voivodeship." Web. 4 October 2012. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nied%C5%BAwiedzica,_Pomeranian_Voivodeship.
|Author(s)||H. G. Mannhardt|
|Richard D. Thiessen|
|Date Published||December 2012|
 Cite This Article
Mannhardt, H. G. and Richard D. Thiessen. "Bärwalde (Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland)." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. December 2012. Web. 17 Sep 2014. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=B%C3%A4rwalde_(Pomeranian_Voivodeship,_Poland)&oldid=124505.
Mannhardt, H. G. and Richard D. Thiessen. (December 2012). Bärwalde (Pomeranian Voivodeship, Poland). Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 17 September 2014, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=B%C3%A4rwalde_(Pomeranian_Voivodeship,_Poland)&oldid=124505.
Herald Press website.
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