He was born on June 7, 1882 in Lubawa as the son of a teacher. In 1895, the Ziesemer family moved to Malbork, where Walther graduated from high school. In 1900 he went to university in Leipzig and Berlin (philosophy, literature, history). He completed it six years later, writing a work devoted to the Teutonic chronicler Nicolaus von Jeroschin und seine Quelle. After graduation, he returned to Malbork and then went to Gdańsk to work as a high school teacher. In 1911 he obtained a doctorate in German philology at the University of Königsberg and became a professor of that university. He held this position until 1945. In 1922 he became the head of the department of German language and literature, and three years later the head of the Institute for Homeland Research (Institut für Heimatforschung).

Thanks to his contacts with Conrad Steinbrecht, he turned his attention to the order’s treasury books. Therefore, among his many works, one should mention first of all source publications about the Malbork Castle in the times of the great masters. The first, published in 1910 as an appendix to the local gymnasium program, was the book of rents for the castle and surrounding villages (Das Zinsbuch des Hauses Marienburg). A year later, the book of expenses of the Malbork house commander (Das Ausgabebuch des Marienburger Hauskomturs für die Jahre 1410-1420) was published, in 1913 the book of the convent (Das Marienburger Konventsbuch der Jahre 1399-1412), and in 1916 the property inventory of the castle (Das Marienburger Ämterbucher Ämterbucher). This cycle ended with the order’s property inventory (Das Große Ämterbuch des Deutschen Ordens) issued in 1921. Later publications include the work on East Prussian dialects (Die ostpreußischen Mundarten, 1924) and the history of monastic writing (Die Literatur des Deutschen Ordens in Preussen, 1928). In the years 1935–40, Ziesemer edited the Prussian Dictionary (Das Preußische Wörterbuch), on which he began work in 1911.

As one of Conrad Steinbrecht’s closest associates, on July 6, 1923, he was on a guard of honor at his coffin in the chapel of St. Anna together with Bernhard Schmid.

In 1945 he left Królewiec for Marburg. He continued his scientific work at the local university, publishing, inter alia, a monograph of the city of his youth, Die Marienburg. In 1949 he became an honorary professor of that university. He died on September 14, 1951 in Marburg.

Lit .: Geschäftsbericht des Vorstandes des Vereins für die Herstellung und Ausschmückung der Marienburg für die Zeit vom 1. Oktober 1908 bis zum 1. Oktober 1911, Danzig 1911, p. 10; Geschäftsbericht des Vorstandes des Vereins für die Herstellung und Ausschmückung der Marienburg für die Zeit vom 1. Oktober 1911 bis zum 1. Oktober 1916 bereitgestellt zu der im Herbst 1916 angesetzten Generalversammlung des Vereins für die Herstellung und Aussien der 1916 der Herstellung und Aussburg. −10; Ostdeutsche Gedenktage 1982, Bonn 1981, pp. 58-59; U. Tolksdorf, 230 Jahre “Preußisches Wörterbuch”, Westpreußen-Jahrbuch, Bd. 40 (1990), pp. 37-53; R. Row, Castle in Malbork 1882−1945. Weekdays of reconstruction, Malbork 2018, p. XX.

(compiled by R. Rzad)

Photo credit: P. v. Glinski, P. Wörster: Königsberg. Die ostpreußische Hauptstadt in Geschichte und Gegenwart, Berlin / Bonn 1992 (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walther_Ziesemer?fbclid=IwAR1pGHbXTNrdFFlHXw1W23PbARsbYPshegmFTpfSThFy-dSkMed_PshegmFTpfSThFy-dSkMed_PshegmFTpfSThFy-dSkmed)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *