Y. S. Kim (2005.12.15)
I am interested in this city because Einstein was profoundly
influenced by the philosophy of Immanuel Kant who was born in
Königsberg and lived there for 80 years. He never left the
city except on one occasion. He had to attend the funeral of
his father. In my earlier
article on Kant, I said Einstein's special relativity
was profoundly influenced by Kant's observer-dependent philosophy.
- According to Marie Arana's review of Ann Applebaum's book entitled
At the Crossroads of History
Between EAST AND WEST,
the philosophy of Immanuel Kant was a product of geography of
Königsberg. Historically, many different people went through this
city, and Königsberg had to entertain many different ways looking at
things. Indeed, according to Kant, things depend on how observers
look at them as well as their status of mind.
If Kantianism is indeed a product of geography, the best way to
study his philosophy is to go to Königsberg and look at the place.
I went there in June of 2005, and took some photos. I would like
share them with you.
- The city of Königsberg does not exist on the world map these days.
Its name was changed to "Kaliningrad" in 1946. How did that happen?
Before 1945, Königsberg was the capital city of a German province
called East Prussia. While the Soviet troops were advancing toward
Berlin in 1945, Hitler ordered all German citizens in East Prussia
be evacuated to western provinces of Germany, but only one half of
the population of 400,000 were able to flee. Based on Stalin's
habit of moving people around, we can assume that all remaining
Germans were sent to various construction sites within Soviet
territories. The Lomonosov campus of Moscow State University was
built by Germans. Soviet authorities then sent Russians to
Königsberg to repopulate the city, and transformed the it into
a non-freezing naval base for their Baltic fleet.
Here are some photos which I took while in Königsberg/Kaliningrad.
Two German sisters born in Königsberg (top),
and three generations of Russian ladies.
- At the Kaliningrad Airport,
I was lost. There are no bus services to the city 100 km away,
and taxi drivers do not speak English. I was rescued by these two
ladies. One (left) of them is Russian, and she came to the airport
to pick up her German friend (right). Both of them spoke fluent
English, and asked me to come with them. After arriving at my
hotel, I thanked them and took this photo.
- Two German sisters born in
Königsberg before 1945. They fled the city with their
parents. They now live in Germany, but came to Kaliningrad to visit
their birth place. They were also interested in the church where
their parents got married. Next to me in this photo is the younger
sister who was six years old when she fled, and her husband was
very busy in his job in Germany. The elder sister is two years
older, and she came with her husband.
- Three generations of Russian
This photo was taken on a city bus. The grandmother came from Russia,
and her daughter and granddaughter were born in Kaliningrad. By now,
Kaliningrad is a Russian city.
- Russian Lady from Kaliningrad in
London. I met this lady at the breakfast room of the Hotel Lancaster
London (September 2011). She was born
in Berlin while her father was a military attache at the Soviet Embassy.
She said this city is still called Königsberg in Germany.
She was with her Russian colleagues in the amusement park business.
- Mikhail Kalinin was
the (powerless) president of the Soviet Union and died in 1946. Joseph
Stalin changed the city name from Königsberg to Kaliningrad in 1946.
- Stalin, Lenin, and Kalinin.
These three distinguished communists used to own their
respective cities, namely Stalingrad, Leningrad, and Kaliningrad.
Kalinin managed to keep his own city, presumably because he did not
have too many enemies. He looks like a very kind person in this
- After 1945, the Soviet Union
annexed the East Prussia and made transformed it into their naval
base, and changed the name of Königsberg to Kaliningrad.
Furthermore, Soviets moved the headquarters of their Baltic Fleet
from Saint Petersburg to Kaliningrad.
- Since Peter the Great was the person who started building the Russian
navy, his statue should be in front of the headquarters building. I
was there in 2005 and had a photo of myself in front of this statue.
With me in this photo is a professor from Kaliningrad Fishery College.
- Navy City. Since
Kaliningrad was to serve as a Soviet naval base, it is not
difficult to find navy sailors and officers on the streets.
Here is another photo.
Here is Russian Military
Police, a strong man who does not need a pistol or a
Kalishnikov rifle. They are all friendly people.
- In Moscow, Peter
the Great is portrayed as the creator of the Russian navy in
this giant statue. Russians like to remember him as the
person who led their country to a world power by constructing
a strong navy.
- In July of 2008,
I met these Russian sailors in Istanbul (Turkey). I asked them
whether they belong to their Black Sea Fleet, they said No. I
then asked whether they came from Kaliningrad.
They said Yes. I told them I was in Kaliningrad in 2005, and
promised to put their photos on this webpage. Next day, I met
more at the Topkapi Palace Museum, and I am happy to put three
more photos of those young sailors.
I hope these sailors will be happy to see their own photos from
- Photo at Topkapi Palace.
- Another Photo.
- One more Photo.