Mittwoch, 2. Juli 2014Samstag, 28. Juni 2014 | Heidelberg 24°C

 Memories from Malsch at the outbreak of the Great  War

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[Note: Josef Bender IV is the one with the red dot.  We most likely are related to almost all in the photo. Josef is my Blaies / Bender generation's 5th cousin 3 generations removed.]

Malsch’s municipal council in 1914, when the first world war broke out, standing from left: Karl Schaffner, Theodor Fleckenstein I, Sebastian Bos, Peter Schaffner IV and Josef Bender IV; seated from left: Alois Schritz, Mayor Josef Diebold I and Engelbert Klett. Photo: Private.  [The Roman numerals after the names designate the individuals that have the same surname and given name and may be related but not necessarily the great grandfather, grandfather, father and son with the same given name.]

Malsch. (OE) one hundred years ago, the first world war broke out. Unlike in the UK and France, where even today it is called the "Great War", as this event in Germany so far mostly in the shadow of the Second World War, whose experiences and results live in the collective memory of the Germans much more.

It was the first world war in the words of the American historian and diplomat George F. Kennan "the primal catastrophe of the 20. Century", from which only the horror of this further developed so extremely violent era: the rise to Hitler, the establishment of its dictatorship and, finally, the outbreak of the Second World War by the "Third Reich" without the first world war and its consequences, is difficult to explain the historians are agreed. Some even spoke of a new "Thirty Years' War", in order to find this show.

As this revolution's historical and international event of the people of our region has been perceived and experienced, witness the memories of the former churches in Malsch mayor Josef Diebold. He was from 1913 to 1919 at the tip of the Church, and gave his memories on handwritten records were based on the record, at the beginning in 1931. The family has these written records kept, so that today they  can serve as a basis for this article

As you know, the assassination in Sarajevo on the Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand heir to the throne on 28. June 1914 triggered a diplomatic crisis (the so-called "Julikrise" ), then finally at the beginning of August which resulted in the outbreak of the first world war. As the then 48-year-old Josef Diebold reported, was the "great seriousness of the situation" on the land long time but not correctly recorded.

"It was hoped to find a peaceful solution to the conflict", it says in his records. And oddly enough, it was a newspaper from America, which the churches in Malsch mayor on the "extremely tense situation in Europe" pointed out. His friend Valentin Josef Diebold The newspaper had big ten days before the outbreak of the war in the United States sent from Omaha.

Finally, the German Reich July status imminent threat of war".  It was a hot day, writes Josef Diebold. "The grain and barley harvest was in full swing." The mayor also learned the message in the field. His son came running and brought him a telegram from Bezirksamt Wiesloch, that the state of war was declared and all the mayors and writer should appear immediately in the district office. In the field, the process "great unrest triggered” shares Josef Diebold.

The mayor made haste Rot-Malsch along the shortest path to the train station, only to find out that the trains because of the troop transports beginning already no longer according to the timetable. The cabman had him Franz Kilian to Wiesloch. He had been waiting at the train station by chance to pick up a couple Rettigheimer. The mayor then learned in Wiesloch, as with the closed Kriegsdokumenten in the town halls to procedure was before you return in their communities.

The documents included the timetables of trains, with which the engaged soldiers could get to their units. The schedules have been publicly displayed in the place and guarded. Also already went to the railway guards, for which the municipality Quartier, beds and duvets. The fear was so great that also espionage to the Ortseingangen guards have been posted, the unknown and suspicious cars stopped and proceed only after thorough search.

Josef Diebold reports of "Three Days are worried about waiting until finally on 2. August 1914 the mobilization was ordered. The Mayor, the "Ready" day and night and had "the Militargesetzen" stand, got the message "afternoon at two o'clock" von Wachtmeister Scherzinger conveyed from Mulhouse. By horn warble or sound soft "The whole" and proclaim by the Polizeidiener known he had the news in the town. Striking is the fact that nowhere in Josef Diebolds report of patriotic Exultation is the speech - On the contrary. Already 31. His records show that July was a "great whining and say good bye".

This is what the historians today know: that all people are far from full of enthusiasm to the war, such as some later legend wants to make people believe. The picture is more differentiated. If there is any such popular rejoicing, it was mainly in the cities and at the national-minded bourgeois youth. And there were also euphoria and panic often close together, as you can read in the historian Oliver Janz ( "14 - The Great War" ).

In the blue-collar workers, by contrast, there were no against warmongering, just as little in the country. There was the beginning of the war with the harvest together, the engaged fathers and sons were urgently needed, as well as carriages and horses, had to be made now. So also in Malsch and other communities. The assembly point was Tuchbleiche in Wiesloch, Josef Diebold reported.

And he describes how profound the war also the living conditions of the people changed. The outbreak began with the rationing of food. Crops, livestock and meat were seized. Those who are not self-sufficient, received food ration cards. Also there were requisition for clothing and fuel. Families whose breadwinner in the war were financially supported. Also self-catering a strict regime documents.

They should per month and head only one specific amount of grain milling and consume meat, home were closely monitored. Monthly payments and an inventory of the inventories instead of, "for the perseverance to allow".  "No one was more full ownership of the stocks and food supplies," Josef Diebold. "Only the wine produced from the confiscation was free."

Yet would be compounded by the food shortages due to the foot-and-mouth disease, which as early as the autumn and winter 1914/15 in Malsch was raging and the livestock. "The loss was very large," says the report. The longer the war lasted, the greater the need. For example, it is also showed that the school children had to collect nettles, the then-garment purposes: for have been processed. Many substances are also produced from paper, writes Malschs mayor.

In spite of all the misery and deprivation was "the will to persevere up to a tolerable peace" have been there - in the homeland as well as "outside the soldiers".  "You wanted peace, the sooner, the better and the very moment when it was eagerly awaited the returning warrior festively could be picked up. But it was not to be the case, as we had thought," says Josef Diebold. The war was lost.

The soldiers returned home, but not as a victor in the November 1918 met a few. The joy was still very big, not only for the families but also, more generally, the chronicler writes. However, it is also the joy mixed in mourning. Especially in the case of families, the fallen had to regret, they broke "again the wounds on".

The municipality has a solid returnees honored: After the service, the mayor in front of the town hall a speech before the assembled veterans, then found common feasts held in the "Rose" and in the hall of the "Pfalz" instead. "It has been specially designed for this purpose a fat cattle slaughtered", it says in the memories.

Such an idyllic location did not end there. "It came to unrest and rebellions in different parts of the empire and from there came the seed of dissatisfaction, selfishness and domination to the remotest villages", writes the mayor. He plays so well on the sinking of the monarchy, the revolution from the November 1918 and the associated turmoil and you feel its distance to these events.

"The laws were no longer observed, each sought after his kind to help", complains the Rathauschef.

The number of burglaries and thefts (especially of food) was increased. Cattle and pigs, according to the report of the contemporary witness even in the stable of the owner has been slaughtered and taken away, cigars and tobacco have been moved.

The mayor speaks of dissatisfaction and withdrawn from contumacy to the authorities. Even "revolts and demonstrations against supervisor" had been made against him - even as the Schultes maintains. It appears to have been formed in Malsch a workers' council. The requirement in the municipal council also female Arbeiterrate to order according to the Mayor, but was rejected.

In order to ensure peace and security in the place, [The Mayor Diebold] he summoned the congregation a 30-strong security from former soldiers, whose Wachlokal was at the Town Hall. Guns and ammunition were concerned of a depot in Bruchsal. The Wachkommando remained approximately one month in service. Throughout this time is "of the guns and ammunition" no use has been made, at the end of the accountability report sober. But it also says today the tracks to facilitate it.