In the Hausarchiv: Friedrichrodaer Zeitung, 28 August 1915

In the Hausarchiv: Friedrichrodaer Zeitung, 28 August 1915

Amateur history nerd that I am, I’m quite pleased to have married into a family which has retained all sorts of books, newspapers and magazines dating from about 1920 onwards. The “In the Hausarchiv” series gives an occasional look at the things I’ve come across in our own “house archive”.

I’m a day late with this week’s “In the Hausarchiv“, as I usually do it on Wednesdays. But this week we have something even older than 1920, the year which I usually indicate as being the earliest for material in the Hausarchiv. I was quite surprised when I came across this newspaper from 28 August 1915. More surprising was that it is not Austrian, but rather German, which makes it an unusual find here in our house.

The newspaper is from Friedrichroda, Germany. I was not familiar with the town, but thumbing through the newspaper made it clear that it’s famous as a Kurort, a place where one might “take the cure” thanks to its natural springs and such. Perhaps a member of my wife’s family “took the cure” in Friedrichroda in 1915 and then again in 1917, because I found a second issue of the Friedrichrodaer Zeitung dated 9 July 1917. Or perhaps someone bought these issues years later at a garage sale or flea market. Who knows.

From the historical perspective the issue is interesting because it comes from the second year of the First World War. It contains several short notes about the progress of the war, including, for example, a notice that the British vessels the “Commander Boyle” and the “Bert Boy” had been destroyed by the German navy. I found the demise of these vessels listed on the website called and it looks as though they were indeed destroyed on 23 August 1915, so five days before this issue of the Friedrichrodaer Zeitung. Only such good news about the war appears in both of these issues that I have of this particular newspaper. That’s not surprising, given the fact that war censorship was in effect — and not just in Germany.

wir_halten_durchOn the front page of the 1915 issue featured here in “In the Hausarchiv” is a poem called “Wir halten durch” (“We persevere”). I’ve placed an image of the poem here in this article. Here is a hasty, non-rhyming, non-rhythmic prose translation:

Though millions of warriors may fall on the field of battle,
Their dying lips shall murmur:
Germany, stand fast like a castle of stone,
Persevere, you courageous warriors!
O Persevere!

And though many hearts may beat in sorrow,
Every German calls out his holy oath:
Germany, stand fast like a castle of stone,
In struggle and hardship, we persevere –
We persevere!