The Mole and Shore behind the “Plantage”, Swinoujscie, Poland
In Meine Kinderjahre (1894) Theodor Fontane (1819 – 1898) relates how his family in 1827 moved from Ruppin on to Swinemünde, the sleepy sea-resort at the Baltic. The ghostly atmosphere inside the empty house on their arrival is compensated for by the yard and the garden with its swing, the promise of happiness and lightheartedness to the child. Even in Fontane's most famous novel Effi Briest (1894-1895), and esp. in the film by R.W. Fassbinder based on the novel, the swing serves as a symbol for the dreamy life of young Effi. But her happiness does not last long, she marries the wrong man and falls in love with another wrong man. The lover is challenged to a duel and killed by her husband, Effi becomes a fallen society lady and moves to the growing capital Berlin where she lives on anonymously.
Effi Briest, a British critic recently wrote after rereading the novel, “is the greatest work of Prussian realism and certainly one of the best tragic novels of the 19th century”. The novelist presents an affectionate tableau of provincial life in a Prussian seaside town. The old apothecary, Gieshübler, is a portrait of Fontane's father.
The town called Kessin where Effi meets Crampas, falls in love with him and takes rides through the “plantage” and on the shore represents his childhood's Swinemünde. The “plantage”, a narrow band of wild woods, stretches between the municipal park, designed by landscape architect Peter Lenné according to English model, and the shore where the white windmill at the mole was Effi's favourite place. Today near the place where Fontane's father once had his pharmacy since 1998 there is a memorial plaque, which says bilingually: "Hier wohnte von 1827 bis 1832 der bedeutende deutsche Schriftsteller und Dichter" / "Tutaj, w latach 1827-1832 mieskal wybitny niemecki pisarz i poeta" THEODOR FONTANE 1819-1898.