WW1 Diary – August 22, 1915

I thought, it was a Saturday night, I wanted to bathe the children and put them in warm clean beds, and now, in the dark night, with empty stomachs, without a home, we need to wander… Dagmāriņa cried a lot, and my heart along with her. We arrived at the Krape estate. We waited outside, while Papa asked after a place for the night. We were welcomed warmly, the lady of the house and the girls were especially kind. But still, my mind was heavy, especially for the sake of the children. Trūdīte doesn’t have her books, no doll, and there is no warm place to dry Dagiņa’s pants. We stayed there two restless days. Papa went out to deliver the requisitioned animals and received some money. We stayed in the home shaking in fear because of the strong cannonfire, all of our side of Jumprava was filled with smoke. The impressions were many – the reserve soldiers staying at Krāpe held a church service under the blue sky. The soldiers sang, the cannons roared, us without our own home, without any belongings – hearts heavy – thinking, what kind of fate awaits us?

Early in the morning we headed off again, far away from everything that we had, that we had saved for a long time, away from everything that held dear memories. We were told that our matresses and duvets, our bottles of blueberries, our jam jars, were thrown about on the shores of the Daugava, to be destroyed or stolen. After some difficulties on the road, heavy winds and rain, we ended up at the Nītaure tavern, where we spent the night with the children in a small room. In one place, the horses were frightened of the locomotives and they almost pushed the workers into the ditches. God protected us until everything went still again. Then we headed off again.

Late in the evening we arrived at my father’s house. How wonderful it is to have this home, especially now – fate’s children without a home. In this moment we are received with warm loving hands, well fed, with warm beds. My dear small children need peace, warm milk. Thanks to God we have everything in abundance here, in God’s grace, and there is still peace, we do not hear the terrible cannons or burning fires. But for how long? All of Latvia is in chaos. Thousands of refugees have left their daily work and headed into the unknown, leaving everything that the heart has grown fond of, little can be brought along, sometimes one is unable to bring anything.

The newspapers bring horrible stories of the lives of refugees, who have overcrowded all of Russia’s cities. No work, famine, contagious diseases spreading like wildfire. Newspapers are also filled with notices of people looking for their loved ones. Men looking for their wives, parents their children, some mothers have lost their minds after losing their children on the streets. Many without homes, sleeping in tents in the forests, half-starved. Food is very expensive, rye flour already costs 250 kopecks per pood [approximately 36 pounds], butter is 75 kopecks, cottage cheese 25, and sweetened (?) for 18 kopecks, etc. Sugar, white flour, kerosene is no longer available. We will need to spend the winter with scraps (?) and black bread. We can do it, but my poor little Dagiņa has to immediately get used to rough bread, can’t get any cakes, or pieces of white bread. Trūdīte had better days, but still, Dagmāriņa is a strong girl, for she drinks milk heartily and eats eggs, which Grandmother pushes upon us, not considering the fact that if she were to sell them she could get 9 kopecks per egg.

May God give us health – the future will be uncertain. It will be hard, but one must try, one must be strong, to win.

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