The Bismarck Herring

The history of the original Stralsund „Bismarck-herring“ begins in the 19th century when the trader and brewer Johann Wiechmann established the „Fish Cannery Johann Wiechmann“ In 1853 he had opened a materials store at the „New Market“. On the one side of the store he sold his products and on the other side there was a bar.

In the backyard his wife Karoline aside other goods manufactured a specialty. She pickled fresh, filleted Baltic herring and dispatched it in small wooden barrels.

After he had won 1000 Goldmark in a lottery Wiechmann bought the house Faehrstrasse 21 which was famous because Ferdinand von Schill had fallen in front of it during the War of Liberation. He closed the bar and established his fish cannery, becoming the founder of the fish-processing industry at the German Baltic coast.

Because Wiechmann much admired Otto von Bismarck he sent him a barrel of pickled herrings to his birthday. Bismarck expressed his thanks in a personal writing.

On the occasion of the establishment of the German Reich in 1871 another barrel was sent to the Imperial Chancellor – this time together with a letter from Wiechmann. In this he „subserviently“ asked for allowance to sell his pickled herring as „Bismarck herring“ in future. In his reply Otto von Bismarck agreed and so the Bismarck herring from Stralsund was born.

Until 1944 the original document of Bismarck’s agreement was placed above the desk of Wiechmann’s grandson Hans Wiechmann who then ran the „Fish-Factory Johann Wiechmann“ on the corner of Frankendamm and Gruenstrasse.

Not knowing about Johann Wiechmann and his specialty Henry Rasmus in 1997 opened a fish store with smokehouse in the center of Stralsund. But when several journalists asked him for the original Bismarck herring from Stralsund he became interested. He got to know that a great-granddaughter of Johann Wiechmann is living in Bremen and contacted her. Lisa Boese was enthusiastic about the idea to revive the 130 year old recipe of her great-grandfather and so Henry Rasmus could buy it from her. Since then the original Bismarck herring is back in Stralsund.

Henry Rasmus, Angela Merkel, George Bush
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