CL — Geography, Cartography, and Travel

Deutsche Ortsnamen und Verwaltungsgliederung in Mitteleuropa 1939-1990: Verzeichnis der Gemeinden in Deutschland, Österreich, den Sudetenländern, in allen ehemals deutschen Ostgebieten, in Elsass-Lothringen, Luxemburg, Südtirol, aber auch in der Schweiz und Nordschleswig; nach Lage, Größe und Kreiszugehörigkeit und nach letztem deutschen Stand: in 3 Bänden [German Place Names and Administrative Structure in Central Europe, 1939-1990: Index of Localities in Germany, Austria, The Sudetenland, in all Formerly German Eastern Territories, in Alsace-Lorraine, Luxembourg, South Tyrol, as well as in Switzerland and North Slesvig; According to Location, Size, Region, and According to the Latest German Status; in 3 Volumes]. Ed. Günter Schilling. Aalen: ScientiaVerlag. 27 cm. ISBN 3-511-07770-2 (set): EUR 390 [06-2-333]

Vol. 1. Einführung, Länderübersicht, Ortsalfabet A-E [Introduction, Country Overview, Alphabetical Place Index A-E]. 2002. 655 S.: Kt. ISBN 3-511-07771-0

Vol. 2. Ortsalfabet F-O [Alphabetical Place Index F-O]. 2002. 862 p. ISBN 3-511-07772-9

Vol. 3. Ortsalfabet P-Z, Verzeichnis der Autobahnen und Bundesstraßen [Alphabetical Place Index P-Z, Index of Autobahns and Federal Highways]. 2001. 780 p. ISBN 3-511-07773-7

This extensive place-name dictionary, with its all-encompassing title, appeared in reverse order—volume 3 first. The work’s purpose is to list German place names in every region in Central Europe ever ruled by Germany in the last 60 years of the 20th century. (The compiler oversteps the boundaries, as it were, of this dictionary by including places in Switzerland that never officially had German names.) Had the author had access to the Dictionnaire toponymique des communes suisses: DTS (Lausanne, 2005—see RREA 12:258), this confusion might have been avoided.

Two maps on the front and rear lining-papers show “Central Europe 1939/1994, with German administrative divisions” in detailed black & white, overlaid with the present ruling states marked in colors. “Place name” generally refers to a township (Gemeinde).

Regrettably, the Siebenbürgen portion of Southeastern Europe—an area with countless German toponyms that one would wish to see in print—is not included. And with its stated intention of preserving German place names, this dictionary runs the risk of being seen as being revisionist, especially concerning territories ruled by Poland.

Compiled chiefly from numerous official sources, each entry includes the name, type of place, population and census year, officially conferred status, description of its location, distance from the nearest autobahn, and its current-language name, for example:

Bunzlau, N. Sl. [Lower Silesia] | city | 22,460 ([19]42 from census ‘39 | p [Poland] | County Seat — On S edge of L.Sil. heath region on Bober R, 42 km ENE Görlitz; B 115, 152 - po. [polish] Bolesławiec.

The “final German status” refers to places in the former Soviet Bloc up to 1945. In the place-name section (alphabet), a systematic overview is given for similar and identical place names, and see-reference provide foreign, consolidated, and earlier place names. The survey of provinces provides lists of cities, statistical data, and information about administrative changes, accompanied by sketch maps. A source index cites 168 books and 42 maps. Volume 3 contains additionally an Index of Autobahns Inside the Administrative Unit and an Index of German Federal (post-1945) and Reich (pre1945) Highways.

The author’s written German can be frustrating for the user. The author does not capitalize nouns, and some of his spellings, such as “Ortsalfabet,” deviate wildly even from the so-called spelling reform of the 1990s.

But despite certain problems in treating these former German territories, this important reference work provides unified and well-structured information that one would otherwise have to cull from many other reference sources. This work belongs in the reference collection of all large libraries, both domestic and foreign. Additionally, a very helpful web site—Territoriale Veränderungen in Deutschland und deutsch verwalteten Gebieten 1874-1945 [Territorial Changes in Germany and in German-Administered Territories, 1874-1945]—can be found at http://www.territorial.de/index.htm. [sh/ga]

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Last update: October 2010 [LC]
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