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Espelkamp
(today it includes the former towns of Fabbenstedt, Fiestel, 
Frotheim, Gestringen, Isenstedt, Schmalge and Vehlage)

 

The town of Espelkamp was once considered part of Großendorf in the Rahden parish. Check the Rahden page for a listing of the records available. If your information shows people from Espelkamp prior to World War II, check the Rahden church records. The Espelkamp-Mittwald church was founded around that time.

The History of Espelkamp
(Translated from http://www.espelkamp.de)

1229
As Aspelcampe, the place is mentioned for the first time authentically. Bishop Konrad of Minden expresses the sale of the tithe in this writing in Twiehausen at the cloister Levern. In this context, the name of a knight is mentioned Thethard of Espelkamp.

1701
After a royal Prussian ordinance an "additional-school" is furnished  at Espelkamp.

1832
The additional-school is made an independent school. The children no longer need to go to Rahden for school.

October 1, 1899
The railroad-route Bünde (Westphalia) - Rahden is opened. Espelkamp gets a railway station.

1. April 1910
On this first April, Espelkamp gets the right of an independent community and no longer reports to the community Großendorf.

1939
The statistics: In Espelkamp, 1,000 people live approximately on 18.5 square-kilometers.

The agriculture was its most important acquisition-source, however it could not nourish all. The ground was little productive. Big parts of the acre - and grassland in the water-hinterland of the big and small meadow suffered under jam-wetness. Floods occurred after bigger showers again and again. Some found earnings in the neighborly Holland, in the flax-processing and later also in the cigar-manufacture.

1938/39
In the Gemarkung Mittwald begins the construction of an ammunition-institution of the army, later named Muna. On approximately 250 hectares of woodland, 133 massive one-story buildings originate, one approximately 20 kilometers long grid, waterworks, ring-management, clearings, high voltage-connection, meeting-point and a siding at the railroad-route Herford - Bassum - Bremen. Grenades, fuses and projectile-brutes are produced in the ammunition-factory. The raw material comes from other arms-businesses and is made ready to fire here. Half-done-merchandise and ready ammunition are stored. Until the end of war, they build an installation, with which poison gas grenades should be filled. The installation doesn't get done and therefore never goes in business.

28. March 1945
The ammunition-institution Espelkamp should be exploded. On a crisis-session, Major Küppers refuses to execute the command. Incalculable disaster for the region is turned away with it.

April 1945
The 2nd British army occupies the Minden-Ravensberger country and reaches Espelkamp on April 4. The Muna falls undestroyed into the hands of the Englishmen.

June 1945
The first refugees find meager housing in the huts of the colony, the former habitation of the Muna-workers.

Spring 1946
After the demilitarization-regulations of the Potsdamer agreement, all war-installations of Category I must be completely destroyed. The ammunition-institution in Espelkamp belongs to it. First English explosive and evacuation-commands appear in Espelkamp.

May 1946
The British Col. Steege, at present commander in the area of Lübbecke, gives Father Diehl, the contact to the British military-government of the Protestant relief organization Westphalia, the hint to use the buildings of the ammunition-institution for tasks of the relief organization.

20. July 1946
In Mittwald, the karitative begins work: The former working-service-camp Hedrichsdorf is removed by a group of the British Red Cross from the Paderborner. A childrens’ recovery center is furnished with help of the Protestant relief organization Westphalia. Particularly children from the bomb-damaged Ruhr area find reception here.

November 4, 1946
After the ammunition-institution of ammunition and the stored poison-gas grenades is evacuated, the English personnel-troops withdraw.

1947
The remaining huts of the Muna are granted to the disposal of the Protestant relief organization for karitative for the time being. The first home-comers and expellees erect themselves makeshift housings. The tough fight of Pastor Pawlowski (Protestant relief organization Westphalia) and Birger Forell (Swedish priest) has success: With regard to the achieved karitative work, the continued explosions are reduced in scope.

October 1948
General Bishop explains the end of the explosions of the Muna. By the Protestant relief organization, the Ludwig-Steil-Hof is established, named steeply according to the Westphalian priest Ludwig, that died 17. January 1945 as one of the spiritual leaders of the confessing church in the concentration-camp Dachau . The Luwig-Steil-Hof is something like the Urzelle of the city. Here, that still stands today single Fördersonderschule of Germany for late-emigrant-children with learning disabilities also. Today is the Ludwig-Steil-Hof a big karitatives businesses, that lodge among other things also a hospice. The committee for Christian postwar-help established by the Swedish pastor Birger Forell in his/its home-community boric-ace is constituted in Mittwald as Sweden-help. the distribution of food -, Bekleidungs - and donations begins.

October 4, 1949
The actual birthday of the present-day city Espelkamp. On this day becomes from the country North Rhine-Westphalia, the Diakonischen work and the Protestant church in Westphalia the construction-community Espelkamp G.m.b.H. established. It becomes bearer of the total-construction and acknowledged simultaneously with effect of the December 1, 1951 as organ of the state apartment-politics. Apartments are erected and are settled industry-business.

 

3. October 1959
The city-rights are lent the community Espelkamp. With it, the construction-performance and the quest of the citizens are appreciated after social, cultural and economic performances. The young city has turned into the new home for 13,000 people, who came as expellees, refugees or late-emigrants after Espelkamp for the most part.

January 1, 1973
In the train of the local reorganization, the former communities as well as community-parts are joined together Fabbenstedt, Fiestel, Frotheim, Gestringen, Isenstedt, Schmalge and Vehlage with the city Espelkamp. In the new city Espelkamp, 23,600 inhabitants now live on a surface of 84 square-kilometers and today the city counts over 28,000 inhabitants: Westphalia and many expellees, refugees and new inhabitants, that has found a new home here.

 

This was translated using Globalink Power Translator. It still requires some clean-up, but is a good start. Please visit www.espelkamp.de for more information about the area. If you don't read German, try using Altavista's Babelfish http://babelfish.altavista.com/