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WW1 Diary – April 8, 1917

Thirty-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. Her third child, a son, was born there in February 1916. The family has now relocated to a home near Valmiera, and the Russian Revolution is in full swing. For more background, see here, and click on the tag “diary entries” to see all of the entries that I have posted.

April 8, 1917 (Easter)

The heart shivers… soon, soon Easter morning will rise! May we rise along with Christ, may it be a big day for us all. May nature change and grow with new life. Onwards to spring, where the ice breaks on the rivers and streams, and quickly rages off towards the sea with all of winter’s grime and the earth’s cool breath. This year, the celebration of Rebirth also coincides with yet another cycle of change. This is the change of our spiritual and political life. Furthermore, this celebration of Rebirth also coincides with the monsoon of rapid changes. In all of Russia’s corners one can hear the noise of the huge and mighty breaking of the ice of society, that happened recently in Saint Petersburg. The old society’s winter fortresses are being destroyed, big changes are afoot amongst workers, and one hears the gentle echo in our Latvian homeland that this societal ice had collected in spades.

The sound of the breaking ice in Russia has not made gentle changes here, but rather it has disturbed our deepest ice fields, and these now break and crackle and fill the air with their roaring thunder. With great noise, they also destroy what is left of the old German charges. The old Russian reactionary builds are also unravelling. As if it is connected with this societal revolution, even our Daugava’s ice is cracking and breaking with more power and force this year. Our old, dear Daugava, what times we have to live in. The broken Russian and Latvian ice still hasn’t left – real summer is still distant.

There are many hard days ahead. Now the bread ration has been reduced, because the Russian stores have been depleted. Russia fears famine. We celebrated our Easter cosily at home. We had many guests and love was not lacking, since God smiles at everyone in His grace.

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