Had I not been a huge history buff, I would never have known from the looks of Malchow that it was once where one of the most notorious women’s concentration camps had been located.
Yeah, I know, I don’t usually start off these town bits with this much bluntness. But no matter how I phrase it, amidst all the scenic beauty of the surrounding Müritz National Park, this was once where you’d have found the Malchow Concentration Camp; a sub-camp of the women’s Ravensbrück camp.
At Lagerstraße 375 is a memorial to the ladies who were imprisoned here.
The camp is long gone, but the beauty of the countryside is eternal. Sadly World War II wasn’t the only time that Malchow has managed to be hit by war, suffering tremendously during the Thirty Years’ War, and was once the stomping ground of the Saxons.
You’d have thought since it was an island it would have afforded it some level of protection.
Today the town has seen a Renaissance of sorts. If you’re boating your way along the Müritz-Elbe Waterway to Lake Plau you’re going to see Malchow. Oh ho, if you think you’re just going to sail on by — nope. You have to wait for the Drehbrücke (Swing Bridge) to open, and it only does it once an hour — which in itself is an unforgettable experience.
Please don’t be impatient, and don’t go boating off too fast. Come ashore to see the Mecklenburg Organ Museum (housed in the Monastery Church), the old fashioned Windmill, and the Heimatmuseum (Local History Museum).
To go back for a minute, the Windmill is the venue for the Mühlenfest (Mill Festival) that’s held every Whit Monday. And the Monastery Church was part of the Monastery Malchow that was built here in 1235. Even older are the remains of an old Slavic castle from around the 900s to the turn of the last millennium.
Damn that’s old — and I thought turning 40 was rough. ;-)
I suppose I should go reflect on that you’re only as old as you feel at the Blütengarten, a flower garden that’s open May to October, Monday to Friday — and offers gardening tips.
Where to go next? I’ll say a visit to the Jewish Cemetery is in order, followed by a visit to the DDR Museum. This museum delves into life during the Soviet occupation, when this area was once part of East Germany.
Maybe this is why the swing bridge only opens once an hour, giving you the chance to experience Malchow for yourself.