Diary of a Prisoner in World War I
Tomáš Svoboda (firstname.lastname@example.org)
using the service of CreateSpace.com
Library of Congress Catalog Number:
© Josef Šrámek and heirs waived for Wiki
More at: www.svobodat.com/sramek/
Facsimile, Czech original and German translation
Table of Contents
The following text contains parts that can be understood as dishonoring a race or a nation or a religion. These statements have been retained in order to preserve the historical authenticity of the text. They do not express the opinion of any living person, do not pertain to any living person or group, and do not pertain to contemporary events.
I have tried to find translations of foreign words used in the diary and put them in footnotes. However some words and place names still escape me. Should you have any additional understanding of terms used in this book please write me to.
I will be happy to hear from you anyway if you have anything to say about the story. And if you have bought the book online please be kind enough to provide a customer review.
My grandfather, Josef Šrámek, was born on October 26.1892 and died on February 3.1984. During his life he experienced situations most of us cannot even begin to imagine.
At the age of 22 he was drafted to fight in the First World War. At that age most of us care only about entertainment; we're just barely beginning to understand history and society. Even a brief, peaceful military service would be considered harmful, any reduction of our current undeserved lifestyle an injustice.
Soon after he was forced to enter the military, my grandfather became acquainted with
- hunger, cold, and death
- people who upon encounter with death turned into animals. Some of them turned into predators, some into cattle to be slaughtered
- situations where sheer chance made the difference between life and death
- disease which meant death in absence of any help
- hundreds of days his chances of survival were near zero
- throwing away all he believed in, escaping his duty and accepting enemy imprisonment as the only rational lifesaving solution
However, even during the worst times, he kept writing in his diary. He saved it even when, as a prisoner in quarantine, he was stripped naked and left with nothing but his memories. Thanks to this book, we can take part in his experience today.
I take it as my responsibility to spread the word about my grandfather's dreadful experience. We also have our problems today, and they're not necessarily small ones. But this diary can help us realize there may be situations that are much worse than ours. It may even teach us to take joy in what we have. That is my ultimate wish as I prepare this publication.
My grandpa and me in 1962.
Thanks to Rainer Pauli for permission to use several precious photos from his archive.
Thanks also to the anonymous translator who began work on the first English version of this diary.
And big thanks to E* who does not want to be mentioned ☺