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WW1 Diary – September 22, 1915

Ninth installment from the diary of my great-grandfather’s sister Alise, written during the First World War. When the diary starts, she is living just a few miles from the front lines of the Eastern Front, and is then forced to flee with her husband and two young daughters to her family’s house near Limbaži as the war moves even closer. For the background, see here.

September 22

Yesterday at 2am in the dark and the rain our Papa came back from Jumprava. The journey was mad. He escorted brother Bruno to the rally point. He was very crushed that he had to leave his home and go to war. Oh how thousands of families have this same story. From our dear Jumprava – bad news. In the evening dusk Papa was able to enter the old castle and meet the officers, who gave him a soldier escort to our home. They both crept along the fences and trees, and crawled in through the dining room windows – the sight was terrible, everything was destroyed and desecrated. The mirror from the toilet was removed and taken away, our wall clock with such sweet memories was gone, my palm and rubber trees, both dead and dried out, everything from the kitchen – gone. In the basement, where all of our best things had been kept, opened to a horrible sight. The covers were removed from our new furniture, the cloth was cut off the furniture, left were only wires and varnish (?). Our box of dishes – where we had put our serving plates and lots of dishes, our precious items worth 200 rubles, emptied, left were only two containers (?) and knife holders. All of our expensive books, Trūde’s doll, Daga’s wagon and bath nowhere to be seen. The big mirror, whose glass cost 22 rubles alone, shattered in pieces. I’m sorry for our photo collection – only frames remaining, pictures are gone. I’m particularly sad about the picture of Trūde which was life-size and had turned out very well – the picture alone cost 15 rubles.

Oh – I feel sad for everything, for the onions, cabbages, carrots, everything was ripped up, sorry also for the beehives, which we had cared for so carefully, everything stolen and destroyed. I’m sorry for the pigs, which are now so expensive and a pood already costs 16 rubles, and we lost four for nothing, sorry also for the chickens and chicks and so on and so on… the master of the estate promised to replace everything after the war, which would be very nice, but it would not be the same things as before, the things that have such dear memories with them. The landlady’s expensive piano was thrown into the shed, all of the wagons and other expensive equipment taken away. Papa was shot at while he was in the basement, because our basement doors open almost on the banks of the Daugava, and the Germans on the other side can see every movement. Our life there destroyed, it was short, but very happy and full, and now it is so far far away…

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