Last year I visited the Störtebeker Festspiele – the open-air theatre in Ralswiek on the island of Rügen – for the first time, encountering the end of a three-part story.
Since then it has been an open secret among Störtebeker fans that this year the play will complete a “cycle” of stories and see the main figure beheaded for pirate activities, although anyone not in on the “secret” may have guessed given that the title of the play this year is “Störtebekers Tod” (Störtebeker’s Death).
In fact, it is his death in Hamburg that the real Klaus Störtebeker is probably most well-known for. It is said that he asked for the lives of his men to be spared. The Mayor of Hamburg promised him not to execute the men who he was able to walk past after his beheading, and according to legend he made it past either 7 or 11 of them.
But before the Festspiele get to that part of the story, they start off just after the end of the last story where Störtebeker had discovered the gold of the Knights Templar. The gold has now been hidden and in part used to buy land. The land is known as “Freies Friesland” (Free Frisia). But the freedom does not last long (more…)