After many months of planning and research, the project “Stimmen aus den Schützengräben” has finally started. In the first episode of this short radio show we deal with two main themes: trenches and attrition warfare. Our “guests” are:
Fritz Niebergall, German soldier. On the 4th Februar 1915 he wrote a letter to his parents from an underground shelter near Fricourt, in which he relates bits of his life on the Western front. Niebergall was assigned in the north of France, where he died in 1918 aged 24. transcripts of his letters are free to download at: http://www.europeana1914-1918.eu/en/contributions/415.
Guido Sampaolo, Italian soldier. In his letter to his parents from the 27th of June 1915 he describes the hopeless efforts made by Italian artillery to break Austro-Hungarian defences in northern Italy. He survived the war, married and raised a family. Some of his letters, collected and transcripted by one of his sons, are available at: http://www.europeana1914-1918.eu/en/contributions/5521.
Leonard .J. Ounsworth, British soldier. In an extract from a longer interview he remembers the life conditions in his unit, an artillery battery on the Western front. The interview is available at: http://www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/ww1lit/gwa/document/9404?REC=4.
Johannes Burau (pseudonym: Egle), German soldier. In his poem “Im Schützengraben” (in the trench) he gives a dreadful account of life on the Western front. The first lines of the poem claim: “I will be seventy, and even more, but I will never forget this”. Burau, however, never had the chance to get old: he fell in 1916 during the battle of the Somme, aged 30.
This source was kindly made available by the Brenner-Archiv (Universität Innsbruck). It is featured in: “Eberhard Sauermann (Hg.): Schützengrabengedichte. Online-Anthologie. http://www.uibk.ac.at/brenner-archiv/editionen/ged_wk1/schuetz_ged.html.”
Editing: Eva Schmidhuber, Matteo Coletta
Voices in this episode: Hannes Hochwasser as Fritz Niebergall and Johannes Burau, Matteo Coletta as Guido Sanpaolo, L.J. Ounsworth as himself.
Music: Gregoire Lourme, “Fire arrows and shields”
Concept: Matteo Coletta
Voices: Hannes Hochwasser, Matteo Coletta, Roman Reischl, L.J. Ounsworth, Norbert K. Hund.