Teacher, publisher of historical sources and historiographer of Olsztyn. Born in Lidzbark Warmiński, he attended gymnasium in Kętrzyn. From 1885, at the University of Königsberg, he first studied theology, then geography and history. In 1894 he passed the state examination. In 1901 he came to Ostróda, took the position of a senior teacher in a gymnasium and later became a professor. In 1903, the city council of Olsztyn entrusted him with the task of writing the history of this city. The publication was commemorating the 550th anniversary of granting city rights to Olsztyn. The decision of the council aroused opposition from the scientific community, especially members of the Historischerverein für Ermland. Ultimately Bonk managed to publish a book entitled Beiträge zur Geschichte Allenstein . Festschrift zur Feier des 550 jährigen Stadtjubiläums am 31 Oktober 1903 in time for the jubilee. However, it took him nearly 30 years to further develop on this work and it resulted in the publication of ten volumes of the history of this city. At the request of the Castle Reconstruction Board Bonk, , for the needs of the rebuilt castle in Malbork, made source extracts from the archive in Królewiec. He performed his work in the period from January to October 1896. The result was a handwritten volume entitled Das grosse Aemterbuch des deutschen Ordens. Original im Archiv zu Königsberg i./Pr., Currently in the collection of the Library of the Castle Museum in Malbork. The manuscript contains source extracts from castles, manors and farms of the Teutonic Order in Prussia. This source became the basis for the publication in 1921 in Gdańsk of the book Das Grosse Ämterbuch des Deutschen Ordens. The volume for printing was prepared by Walther Ziesemer and the printing was financed by the Society for the Reconstruction and Beautification of the Malbork Castle.

Entrusting Bonk with this task could be related to his past, the more so as he studied history at the local university and was certainly familiar with the resources of the Königsberg archives. The entire project was controlled by the then director of the archive, Dr. Erich Julius Joachim (1851−1923). As the author of many works and essays, among which the most important was Albrecht von Brandenburg’s four-volume work on the politics of the last Teutonic master in Prussia, or the work of Das Marienburger Tresslerbuch (Königsberg 1896), he was surely Bonk’s ideal guide to the monastic archives gathered in Königsberg.

 

(compiled by A. Siuciak)

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