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Job Title

East- and Westprussia

"Kölmisch" refers to the city Kulm: `"Kulmische Handfeste" is the name of the constitution of 1233 for Prussia under the rule of the order. It is about the rights and freedom of the new municipalities. The foundation was the Magdeburgische Stadtrecht. The order held the monopoly on salt, gold, silver, amber, fishing, hunting and the sea.

The" kulmische" law was in force everywhere except in the big cities, for example, Elbing, Braunsberg, Frauenburg, Memel, where the "lübisches" law after the city Lübeck was in force.

Farmers - mostly German - under the "kulmischem" law were called Kölmer or Cölmer. Their property was called "kölmisch“. Later some Kölmer became squires. The kölmisch law was better than the magdeburgische. Native people(Prussians), immigrated people (Szameiten) and Lithuanians lived under the poorer Prussian law, but nevertheless it was a law they could trust in. So a lot of refugees came from Polish-Lithuania, suffering from their nobility. Mostly the order protected them.

Köllmer were free people who could do what they wanted with their property, except for paying taxes and sometimes helping the knights. They didn`t relate to the farmers. They felt like the nobility and formed, together with the knights and the nobility, their own group. From the time of the order until Friedrich II, new Köllmer came into being. Instead of helping in a war they paid taxes. A law from 1685 confirmed their full property entitlement.

Other Names

  • Farmers living on kölmisch estates were called Kummetter (Lithuanian Kumetis) or "Gärtner" (gardener)[1]

Other Spellings

  • Cölmer, Cöllmer, Köllmer


  • Staßewski, Kurt von, Stein, Robert Hrsg.: Was waren unsere Vorfahren?, Amts-, Berufs- und Standesbezeichnungen aus Altpreußen, Königsberg 19938, Verein für Familienforschung in Ost- und Westpreußen Hamburg 1991, about job titles in Prussia
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