Post-classical history

Heinrich von Plauen (d. 1429)

A commander of the Teutonic Order who saved the territory of the order in Prussia after the battle of Tannenberg (1410) and subsequently became grand master (1410-1413).

Born around 1370 into a ministerial family from Plauen in the Vogtland (Saxony), Heinrich came to Prussia as a crusader in 1391 and probably joined the Teutonic Order then. From 1397 to 1407 he held different offices before becoming commander of the castle at Schwetz (mod. Swiecie, Poland). After the order’s high officers had been killed in the defeat by the Poles at the battle of Tannenberg, he organized the defense of Marienburg (mod. Malbork, Poland) and became deputy grand master. Because of his leading role in the reconquest of Prussia, Heinrich was elected grand master on 9 November 1410. A peace with Poland was concluded early in 1411. To ransom prisoners, pay its mercenaries, and compensate war damages, the order levied several extraordinary taxes, which aroused opposition among the Prussian estates. When Heinrich prepared for another war, the high officers resisted his warlike and high-handed policy and removed him from office (9 October 1413). After ten years of imprisonment he was sent to Lochstadt, where he died in 1429. Heinrich was buried in the chapel of St. Anne at Marienburg castle.

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