Fifty-first 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 (again) 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.

If there is mention of a recognizable historical figure and event, I will provide a Wikipedia link so that you can read more about the events that Alise is describing.

December 12, 1917

The whole country is shaken by the feverish firestorm of war, everything is topsy-turvy, one after another… The civil war is raging in its full insanity… the bloody events indescribable. Newspapers are full of horrible news. Pastors are holding services in their homes, for churches are still being used for rallies. Listening to the services, my heart is full of fear, hearing what the pastor is saying about famine, plague and the end of the world. It is possible, that that which I feared as a child will come to pass.

The pastor says, that for the Christian person, the Judgement will come as a spring breeze, but for the irreligious, it will scare them like a cold fall wind, when one does not have warm clothes. Gangs are going around and taking away the estates, along with the movable and immovable property. Even we were thrown out of our warm nest, taking from us our work and bread for no reason. Now we are living in our landlady’s second estate, where life is still comfortable and warm, despite everything that has happened. We still have an apartment and support for free until January 1st. Then our money will melt away, because everything is so expensive. Meat costs 350 kopecks, butter 700 rubles, milk is 80 kopecks a quart, soap is 280 kopecks, and so on.

Luckily Papa has a new job, as the supervisor of the Crown horses, which are being brought to us and then sold. His salary is 400 rubles per month. Horses and carts are being demobilized, and soldiers are leaving their positions in disarray, and heading home, for those who still have a home. Who will save us from the destruction and terror? Some are hoping for Lenin, the Bolshevik’s war leader, who is creating all sorts of confusion with Trotsky, and who are believed and followed by half the army. Others are hoping for Kaledin, the leader of the Cossacks, who wants to save Russia, and is fighting the “Bolshevik” battalions, who have been joined by our irrational Latvian “free riflemen”. Others are still hoping and longing for the Germans, wishing that they would come and deliver us from the horrible chaos, looming famine and destruction. My house and I will trust in God, who has been blessing aDend helping us up to now. He will continue to keep us and protect us. Who is sad, who is sorrowful – Jesus is standing next to us…

WW1 Diary – December 12, 1917
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