Fugging is now spelled with double g. No, not the activity, but the place in Austria. If the town sign wasn’t stolen again, FSK 18 scenes were played out there and posted on social media. What might be going on in Pissen (Saxony-Anhalt) or Petting (Bavaria), which have kept their names?

There are some strange place names, even in Schleswig Holstein. For example, Luschendorf near Lübeck or Geil, which belongs to the municipality of Munkbrarup. Kiel’s city name is not one of them. Originally it was: Holstenstadt tom Kyle and meant something like: Holsteinstadt an der Förde. Kyle stood for wedge, which referred to the Kiel Fjord that juts out into the land. Even though the Kiel place name is normal, we have some curious street names. The tax office was then popularly called Schröpfecke. The council showed a sense of humour and named a street directly next to the South Tax Office. The tax office has since moved, but the street name has remained.

When it comes to curious street names, the district of Elmschenhagen should not go unmentioned. Originally it was called Elversershagen, whereby Hagen refers to a fenced-in area and Elvers can probably be traced back to Ellern, a North German term for alders. So far, so good, but now it gets curious. Street names like Tiroler Ring, Wiener Alle, Salzburger Straße, Rosenheimer Straße, Berchtesgadener Straße, Partenkirchener Straße … suggest that someone must have been ready for a holiday. Although a reference to holidays cannot be ruled out, if we also look at streets such as Reichenberger Alle, Karlsbader Straße or Franzensbader Straße, which refer to today’s Czech Republic, the history of the street names leads us into a dark time:

The year was 1939, and living space in Kiel was becoming scarce. The population had risen to over 265,000. About 20,000 more than today, but the area of Kiel was much smaller then. The reason for the population increase in Kiel was the military build-up of National Socialist Germany. The city’s economy was dominated by the navy, the shipyards and their suppliers. Soldiers and workers moved into the city, also taking up living space, which thus became extremely scarce in Kiel.

As building land had already been developed in the neighbouring municipality of Elmschenhagen, the Prussian State Ministry and the Chief President of the Province of Schleswig-Holstein ordered the incorporation of Elmschenhagen on 1 April 1939. Elmschenhagen was laid out as a garden city. In home and garden, the shipyard workers were to find the peace and quiet they needed to fulfil their difficult tasks: To provide the Führer of the German Reich with a strong fleet to defend the fatherland.

The incorporation of Elmschenhagen made it necessary to name the new streets and rename some of the existing ones. On 13 July 1939, the Lord Mayor of Kiel, Walter Behrens, decided to name the streets of Elmschenhagen in the Kiel City Council. The annexation of Austria in 1938 was decisive for the naming of Elmschenhagen-North. The street names of Elmschenhagen-South were primarily given a reference to places from the Sudetenland. This was a tribute to the Munich Agreement, which came into force in 1938. It regulated the cession of areas of Czechoslovakia to the German Reich. For the country house settlement Kroog, which belonged to Elmschenhagen, place names from Upper Bavaria were chosen in reference to the Sudetenland and Austria. There was also a fourth naming scheme: streets were named after freedom fighters who had fallen in Austria. Franz Leeb, Ludwig Maitzen, Otto Planetta, Franz Holzweber and Josef Hackel were honoured in this way. They died in the July putsch of 1934, a failed coup attempt in Austria. As these people were National Socialists, the streets were renamed after the Second World War. What remains is Andreas Hofer Square. Andreas Hofer was executed long before Hitler came to power because he fought against the Bavarian and French occupation of Austria. In Austria he is still considered a folk hero today.

Once you know the story behind it, you won’t find the street names in Elmschenhagen so curious. In order not to end the article on such a gloomy note: there are street names in Kiel’s city centre that are historically unencumbered and make you smile. In addition to the already mentioned Schröpecke, there is the Philosophengang (Philosophers’ Walk), which, by the way, is very close to the Beamtenlaufbahn (Civil Servants’ Walk). The Philosophengang was used by professors on their way to university, the Beamtenlaufbahn designates the shortest connection between the police headquarters and the town hall.

If you are looking not only for an overview but also an explanation of Kiel street names, please refer to the Kiel Street Encyclopaedia (https://kiel.de/de/kiel_zukunft/stadtgeschichte/kieler_strassenlexikon.php).

Text, photos: misoki