Lieberose (lower Sorbian Luboraz) was first mentioned in 1272 in connection with a moated castle for the protection of the crossroads between Frankfurt-Bautzen and Leipzig-Poznan. A Wendish settlement, which was granted town status on 29 November 1302 developed under the protection of the Von Strehle lords. After several different owners in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, the ownership of Lieberose passed to the brothers Jacob and Richard von der Schulenburg in 1519 and remained in the family until 1945.
The earl’s lineage von der Schulenburg, spanning twenty-three generations, can be traced back to two knights from the thirteenth century in the region of Altmark in the north-western part of today’s Saxony-Anhalt, which resulted in two lineages – the white one and the black one. Control over Lieberose belonged to the black lineage and formed the oldest dynasty of the family.
Lieberose Castle has been influenced by two main construction phases. In the middle of the sixteenth century during the Renaissance under Count Joachim II the Rich, a west wing with a passage and an east wing were added to the existing north wing. This resulted in a two-storey three-winged construction with an open forecourt to the south. The ground floor of the east wing consisted of open-arched arcades. A pigeon tower used as a stair tower accentuated the corner between the north and the east wing.
A town fire in 1657 destroyed large parts of the Renaissance castle. It is thought that the castle was rebuilt towards the end of the seventeenth century without major external changes. It was at that time that the remarkable stucco ceilings with very vivid figural and floral decorations, which still impress today, were created. The design of the Hall of Knights in the north wing, which no longer exists, particularly stood out. The stucco artist Giovanni Bartolomeo Cometa is also known for the stucco work in Neuzelle Monastery.
In the middle of the eighteenth century, under Count Georg Anton, the castle took on its Baroque shape. With the new south wing, the castle was expanded to a four-winged construction. All four wings were raised to a height of three storeys and covered by a surrounding hip roof. A clock tower, which was built in the middle of the west wing next to the gateway, rises up above the imposing roof tower. The pigeon tower on the east wing was preserved, the arches were bricked up, and all four wings were covered with a uniform Baroque façade. The new south wing to the park was accentuated by a portal with an outside staircase and avant-corps.
And thus, the largest country palace complex of the then-Elector of Saxony was created by Count Georg Anton, designed to provide the sovereign August the Strong, Elector of Saxony and King of Poland with accommodation on his travels to Poland. Lieberose took on the character of a residence town and experienced a heyday.
The building was very much neglected in the course of lengthy succession disputes at the end of the eighteenth century and beginning of the nineteenth century. In 1849, count Friedrich Albrecht took over the reign of Lieberose. Under him and his heirs, Lieberose developed into one of the most important forestry operations in the province of Brandenburg. A major source of income was the production of high-quality pine seeds in the kiln on the outer courtyard.
Up until 1911, numerous construction measures could be carried out on the castle, such as the construction of additional pillars on the east wing to prevent the construction that was under threat of subsidence. Between the north and the east wing, the two-storey library with a circumferential gallery was also created next to the Diana room during this phase, in addition to the corner hall on the first upper floor with high-quality wall- and ceiling panelling and an elaborately crafted corner fireplace.
In 1930, Count Albrecht, a grandson of Friedrich Albrecht, assumed ownership from his father and in subsequent years as a trained lumberjack fought for the operation to continue. The Nazis demanded the release of more than 60 per cent of the count’s forest land to set up a military training area. The remainder of the lordship and the castle was to become a hunting castle for Himmler, the Reichsführer of the SS. The end of the war, however, thwarted these plans, the count’s family was expropriated without compensation in the course of the land reform in 1945. In April 1945, the north wing and the west wing of the castle suffered considerable damage during an air raid. This resulted in looting and progressive demolition of the damaged wings.
From 1950 to 1988, a vocational school and a boarding school moved into the castle and brought life to the castle and town . After “die Wende” (the Turn, 1989-1990), the castle was used less and less, the city could no longer afford the upkeep of the castle and sold it to Brandenburger Schlösser GmbH. In around 2000, essential protection measures were carried out and the castle was restored to a solid condition.
Stefanie Reinke, Board member of the Lieberose friends' association e.V.
Using the following sources:
Dr Sibylle Badstübner-Gröger for Deutsche Gesellschaft e.V.:
Schlösser und Gärten der Mark, Lieberose, Berlin 1993
Werner Graf von der Schulenburg, Hans Wätjen,
Geschichte des Geschlechts von der Schulenburg 1237 bis 1983, 1984 Wolfsburg