Thirteenth 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.

January 6, 1916

We had a party at Kroņi, full of good things and happiness. I think of years past, when we celebrated Papa’s birthday at our own house. He is not here – he left to find a new home for us, he won’t get any birthday kisses from his dears. Where is our life now – I long for our Daugava, and want to get back there… Soon the snow will melt, the ice will go – the world will be filled by the beautiful words of songs – the Daugava groans and waves roar, the Staburags [NB:a tall cliff found on one of the banks of the Daugava, makes appearances in various folktales, unfortunately vanished in 1965 when the area was flooded for a hydroelectric power station that was built on the Daugava] cries tears, the oaks on the riverbanks hiss, where the gods and ancient fathers scream… where at different times we rode around in a boat, where then we listened to the songs of the nightingales, we were full of joy about life and the future: now there, by the banks of the Daugava, the mood is somber, people fight and fall, guarding the fatherland. Eventually will there be that word – peace?

WW1 Diary – January 6, 1916
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