Spectator on facebook

Spectator on facebook

HISTORY TALKS...

Prisoners of war to widows

ONE HUNDRED years ago when World War I began, virtually the only way that soldiers could stay in contact with their close ones was by post. Many letters were sent, as well as a considerable number of postcards.

Demand for postcards at this time was enormous, and some publishers reacted promptly with postcards containing war themes. We can see one here, dating back to 1915, with the common theme of a soldier bidding his family farewell.

Of course, reality always looks better on postcards, but we all know how things actually were: enormous pain and millions of injuries and casualties. The injured and variously afflicted soldiers were also sent to prisoner-of-war camps. Most of these – around 1,900 – were pro-bably located in Russia.

In the Austro-Hungarian Empire, there were 40 such camps, and out of that three were on the territory of today’s Slovakia - in Dunajská Streda, Veľký Meder and Ša-morín.

The healthier captives were sent to work in factories, mines or farmsteads. Top army officials even drafted a slightly bizarre plan to have POWs help the widows of deceased Slovak soldiers. This plan, which some of the Russians probably found appealing, was never implemented. After the end of the war, most of the prisoners returned home. However, a few stayed here for good and might have put into practice the abandoned plan of aiding war widows.

Topic: History talks


Top stories

In praise of concrete

It was once notorious for its drab tower blocks and urban crime, but Petržalka now epitomises modern Slovakia.

Petržalka is the epitome of communist-era architecture.

Slow down, fashion

Most people are unaware that buying too many clothes too harms the environment.

In shallow waters, experts are expendable

Mihál says that it is Sulík, the man whom his political opponents mocked for having a calculator for a brain, who “is pulling the party out of liberal waters and towards somewhere completely different”.

Richard Sulík is a man of slang.

Blog: Exploring 20th century military sites in Bratislava

It seems to be the fate of military sites and objects in Bratislava that none of them were ever used for the purposes they were built for - cavernas from WWI, bunkers from WWII, nuclear shelters or the anti-aircraft…

One nuclear shelter with a capacity for several hundred people now serves as a music club with suitable name Subclub (formerly U-club).