And I'm pretty sure my grandmother, from another village not many miles from my grandfather's, was also engaged--as a child hidden, for months, in a barn with her older sister Takla and younger brother for conpany (neither of her siblings survived the war).
This poster series is titled "ВОЙНА РОССIИ сб НЫМЦАМИ"--Russia's War Against the Germans. But this gives the modern reader little idea of the national identity of those who were actually engaged on the Austro-Hungarian side in this conflict. Many of the soldiers (my grandfather included) were local conscripts.
I don't know a lot about this conflict; it's certainly never going to be a central study piece on my desk. But today I was looking for architectural records of the area. And what I found instead... were images of war.
First I saw the "German" side. It feels like, circa 1914, the Germans (Austrians) were ahead of the game when it came to sending photographers to their battlefronts. And then the Russian side's images. My grandfather was a prisoner of war during this period. He was not well-treated. I look at the pictures with the outdated helmets and the dazed prisoners walking through unpaved village streets
And I feel sorry. And I hope, I utterly hope, not to experience this displacement in my own life, in that of my kids or, well really, nobody wants to experience war in their own fields, on their own soil.