Friedrichsruh manor, 1915

Friedrichsruh is a district in the municipality of Aumühle, Herzogtum Lauenburg district, Schleswig-Holstein, in northern Germany. Friedrichsruh manor is known as a residence of the Bismarck noble family, mainly of Chancellor Otto von Bismarck from 1871 onwards.

HistoryEdit

In the 18th century, the extended Sachsenwald forest in Saxe-Lauenburg east of Hamburg was a favoured hunting ground for Count Frederick of Lippe (1706–1781). In 1763 he had a lodge erected in the woods, named Friedrichsruh ("Frederick's Rest"), which upon his death changed hands several times. In the early 19th century, the premises were rebuilt as a country inn and guesthouse, which after the opening of the Hamburg-Berlin railway line running nearby became a popular destination for Hamburg citizens.

 
Bismarck and Emperor Wilhelm II in Friedrichsruh, 1888

After the victory over France and the German unification of 1871, Chancellor Otto von Bismarck received the Sachsenwald estates as a present from Emperor William I. Bismarck had the former inn restored as a manor house and retained the name of Friedrichsruh. After his death he was entombed in the Bismarck Mausoleum on the Schneckenberg hill, just outside Friedrichsruh, on 16 March 1899.

In the last days of World War II, in 1945, Friedrichsruh manor was destroyed during a RAF raid due to the (false) rumor that Heinrich Himmler was hiding there. Actually, it served as the headquarters of the Swedish White Buses rescue programme led by Folke Bernadotte, clearly visible by Red Cross markings on its roof. After the war, the premises were rebuilt at the behest of Otto Christian Archibald von Bismarck (1897–1975). Some of his descendants still live there.

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