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Der stürmische Morgen: Photos and Interpretation by Tomoko Yamamoto

Baudmannsdorf Entrance, Lower Silesia, Poland
Entrance to Baudmannsdorf, Liegnitz County, Lower Silesia, Poland

Der stürmische Morgen

Text : Wilhelm Müller
Interpretation by ©2017 Tomoko Yamamoto

Wilhelm Müller volunteered to fight on the side of the Prussians at the age 18. He was a student at the University of Berlin at the time. According to the most recent biography of Wilhelm Müller by Erika von Borris, Müller was a “Gardejäger” (foot rifleman) in the battles of Großgörschen, Bautzen, Haynau in Silesia, and north Bohemian Kulm. He was assigned to a military storage office in Prague, and in 1814 to the commander’s office in Brussles, Belgium.

When I read the text of "Der stürmmische Morgen" for the first time, I noted the phrase, "rote Feuerflammen" and thought that it might be difficult to find a fire somewhere.
When I visited Haynau (Chojnow) for the first time in October, 2016, I saw this town model on the left and a separate model showing the French troop practicing at the Regional Museum in Chojnow.
On my second visit, I saw a model of this combat practice in Baudmannsdorf shown below. See a close-up view of the model to see the tree on the left and the windmill on the right. The Prussians paracticing are better seen in the closedup view.

The painting (in the public domain,) shows the Combat at Haynau. The copy I photographed was at the Regional Museum of Chojnow. Haynau (Chojnow in Polish) is a town where the French troop under Napoleon was, but there were several brigades of the Napoleonic troop and also the Prussian troop had several brigades scattered in the villages south of Haynau.(See the book by Michael Leggiere cited below for details )

The smoke shown on the painting was due to the torching of a windmill seen in the village model above in Baudmannsdorf (Budziwojow) to signal the start of the battle to let the Prussian troop scattered in the area know. My photograph of the sky and the tree is shown on on the previous page but the monument shown above is under the tree. I would expect that initially one would see red flames just as Müller’s poem says.

Painting of Combat of Haynau

Restored Windmill called "Wiatrak" in Witkow, Lignica Country, Poland
The restored windmill shows clearly the brick portion extending to about 1 m and the wood portion beginning above. It would be easy to set a wooden windmill to fire with a torch or a bundle of hay.
The windmill would ignite very well. The first stanza emphasizes the clouds in the sky which the photo above I took in the field near Baudmannsdorf shows. The area south of Haynau is a vast plain and the villages are small and scattered. The red fire flames appear in the second stanza. My own interpretation is that Wilhelm Müller was remembering the red fire flames on the windmill which was torched to signal the start of the combat in this area. Müller does talk about the winter and his heart in a typical manner in the cycle of Winterreise.


Leggiere, Michael v. , Napoleon and the Struggle for Germany : The Franco-Prussian War of 1813 Vol. 1 The War of Liberation, Spring 1813. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom, 2015 pp. 385 to 388.
von Borries, Erika, Wilhelm Müller, Der Dichter der << Winterreise >> Eine Biographie. Verlag C. H. Beck oHG, München, Deutschland 2007
Polen Strassenkarte Ostbrandenburg- Niederschlesien Küstrin-Grünberg-Liegnitz, Höfer Verlag ISBN 978-3-931103-11-8

The photographs of the models and painting at Regional Museum of Chojnow were made with their permission. I have permission from the restaurant of Wiatrak for publisching on the Internet.
Website References:

Keywords: Franz Schubert, Wilhelm Müller, Tomoko Yamamoto, Sturm, storm, Kleid, robe, Wolkenfetzen, cloud scraps, Feuerflammen, fire flames, Morgen, morning, Himmel, sky, Winter, Rote Feuerflammen, red fire flames, Chojnow, Haynau, Budziwojow, Baudmannsdorf, Polen, Poland

First Published: August 18, 2017
Last Update: September 7, 2017 © 2017 Tomoko Yamamoto