Author Topic: Schloss Duwiseb  (Read 1019 times)

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Offline Bob Molloy

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Schloss Duwiseb
« on: August 07, 2014, 05:30:56 AM »
Not quite Oranjemund but possibly of interest to any Omunder who likes Namibiana. It's the story of Schloss Duwisib near Maltahohe, about 150 kilometres northeast of Oranjemund. The Schloss is a medieval style castle built of stone in the German style around 1906 with a fascinating history.
I'd be happy to post the tale if it falls within site protocol.
Bob Molloy

Offline henniek

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Re: Schloss Duwiseb
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2014, 12:51:25 PM »
will be very interesting

Offline Bob Molloy

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Re: Schloss Duwiseb
« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2014, 02:09:58 AM »
The castle, a huge medieval–style pile of stone blocks carved from local rock, stands in a ring of barren hills, built in 1907 about two hours drive from Maltahohe. in what was then the middle of nowhere. The builder was Baron von Wolf, a German aristocrat married to an American heiress who supplied the money. Three years earlier the baron had been an artillery officer been sent to German South West Africa in 1904 to take part in the genocidal wars against the Hereros and Hottentots.
The baron served in the south against the Hottentots. Commanding a small force with two field guns and rations for a month he was holding a lonely outpost in the Matahohe district. His Hottentot servants thought the food was worth a grab and one slipped away in the night to call up reinforcements. Next day the baron and his tiny garrison fought off a horde of attackers armed with Martini Henry rifles. At nightfall the baron called it quits and with the survivors made a break for it. They rode most of the night and finally reached the safety of a larger army group at Maltahohe village, leaving the Hottentots with his rations and two field guns.
The baron was sent back to Germany in disgrace and only intervention by aristocratic connections saved him from a court-martial. Instead he was allowed to resign his commission. He was a broken man, virtually a social pariah, who couldn’t hold his head up in military circles.
His American wife, Yeta, a student of Freud, reasoned that he needed to return to the scene of his defeat. Lawrence Green, in his book “So Few Are Free” published in 1946, quotes her: “Only there will you realize what a small thing this is in a whole lifetime. We’ll face the people there together, build a castle and live in grand style so they will be proud to accept our hospitality. A castle in the desert, Hansheinrich von Wolf.”
And so it came about. The baron bought the 130,000 acre farm now known as Duwisib for the equivalent of three pence an acre. Ship after ship arrived in Lunderitz with building material, steel girders, antique furniture, art treasures and everything needed to create a castle including Italian stone masons and a Swedish carpenter - in all a small army of workers that labored for two years to build Schloss Duwisib, a replica of the baron’s home near Dresden.
Thereafter they lived just as Yeta predicted, in grand scale acclaimed by all. They were a handsome couple. She very beautiful and slender, he tall and athletic, a superb horse rider and wild game hunter, both socially sought after. To stock his farm he imported camels from Egypt, merino sheep from Australia and in 1910 had one of the first karakul herds in a country that has since grown rich on the black pelts. The following year the baron was elected by the settlers to represent the Maltahohe district at the legislative assembly in Windhoek. He had arrived.
Then war again intervened. In August, 1914, the couple returned to Germany and the baron was reinstated in the artillery. It all came to an end in 1915 when the baron was killed in action in Flanders.
Over the years the castle changed hands several times but it still stands today, much as it was then, but now a guest house though I imagine a pricey one. Perhaps some Oranjemunder would like to try it out and report back with a picture.                                                                   
Bob Molloy

Offline henniek

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Re: Schloss Duwiseb
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2014, 01:20:49 PM »
Thank you Bob. I spent a few enjoyable minutes . Very Interesting - sadly I never went to see the castle !

Offline Michael Alexander

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Re: Schloss Duwiseb
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2014, 02:02:45 PM »
I went here more than twenty years ago, actually camped here for a night, remember the darkness and a generator running in the background...... The castle was a gem and seemed out of place in such a remote desolate spot....
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