The Files of Sidonia / Die Akte Sidonia

Exactly four hundred years ago (19.08.1620) after the execution of Sidonia von Borcke, the most famous Pomeranian noblewoman, a Polish-German project launches, aimed at presenting her history. The leaders of the project are Teatr Brama from Goleniów and The Department of Pomeranian Culture of Pommersches Landesmuseum Greifswald.

And the history is sad and full of unjustice. In 1620 in Stettin, after a long trial and according to a legal verdict, Pomeranian noblewoman Sidonia von Borcke was condemned to death for witchcraft. Her tragic fate later became inspiration for painters and writers. Archives and museums store original documents and works of art that depict the life of the famous noblewoman and of the Duchy of Pomerania in 16th and 17th centuries. 

Set the History Free
2020 marks the 400th anniversary of Sidonia von Borcke's death. This is a great occasion to look at the history of the region from a female perspective. Who was Sidonia? Could she have avoided the tragic fate? What chances did a woman – even a high-born one – have confronting the law in the Duchy of Pomerania a few centuries ago? These and other issues are of interest to the originators of the cross-border project, which starts on August 19th 2020, the day on which – according to sources** – Sidonia von Borcke died 400 years earlier. 'We are moving on with the story of Sidonia: about the times and place where she lived, the society of that time and the political realities. Our goal is to free her history from stereotypes, to describe her fate on the basis of sources stored in archives in Poland and Germany, to publicise the opinions of experts, as well as to encourage the inhabitants and guests of the region to explore its fascinating history, the ambassador of which in our project is Sidonia von Borcke', explains Dorota Makrutzki, a clerk at the Pommersches Landesmuseum Greifswald and an initiator of the project.

Let Sidonia Speak
"The Files of Sidonia" / "Die Akte Sidonia” is the name, under which the history of Pomeranian noblewoman will be followed in social media, where, in Polish and German, information on history, politics and society at that time will be published. Apart from regular online publications, there will also be radio plays (also in Polish and German), which, in the form of a crime story, will show the tragic fate of Sidonia. The current pandemic situation limits the possibility of celebrating the jubilee together – this is where new media come in, thanks to which we will be able to meet online and let Sidonia speak. Moreover, leaflets and brochures will be published as part of the project. The interdisciplinary approach is also emphasized by close cooperation with tourist organizations, city guides, libraries and archives on both sides of the border. Thanks to the support of the Digital Library of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Digitale Bibliothek MV) and the University of Greifswald (Universität Greifswald), "The Files of Sidonia" / "Die Akte Sidonia” campaign can have one of the historical images of Sidonia von Borcke from the digitized collections.

Friends of Sidonia
The project is also aimed at cross-border strengthening of communication around the anniversary of Sidonia's death. Teatr Brama from Goleniów and The Department of Culture of Pommersches Landesmuseum joined their forces as project leaders, for they believe that history can be accessible, even tangible, for contemporary audiences. Together and with financial support from the European Regional Development Fund and the state budget (Small Project Fund within the Interreg V A Cooperation Program Mecklenburg-Vorpommern / Brandenburg / Poland in the Pomerania Euroregion) they will implement a bilingual and cross-border anniversary campaign online. Free publications will complement the online activities.
Facebook Akta Sydonii / Die Akte Sidonia


A mysterious, double portrait of Sidonia von Borcke may be seen at The National Museum in Szczecin - The Museum of Regional Traditions in Szczecin at ul. Staromłyńska 27.