War and Love in Times of Cholera and Typhoid Fever, Georg Reichlin-Meldegg, Language: German
This novel reports on the extraordinary fate of the town and fortress of Przemyśl, which at the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire was located in the northeastern part of the crown land of Galicia, hard on the border with Russia, and had to withstand and survive fierce sieges three times in the period from September 1914 to June 1915. These were the fiercest battles for a city fortress in the 1st World War.
What was probably unique about these first assaults was that the civilian population of initially about 50,000 people was directly involved in the fighting – at least through heavy artillery and infantry fire as well as bombing from aeroplanes. The immediacy of life in mortal danger meant that, as the fighting intensified, the cholera and typhus pandemics and the famine began, the morality and strict separation of the sexes that had hitherto been upheld in the monarchy before a church wedding also began to erode.
The coming together in the confines of the city of more than a hundred thousand soldiers with the female youth of all classes, was not to be controlled by parental home and the church institutions, especially since also with the near collapse of industrial production, the activity of small trades and tourism for so many women survival was made possible partly only through prostitution. This is testified by many letters and writings of civilians and soldiers of all ranks, which the author had insight into.
But the “fortress” was also “stormed” by the love of an officer for the daughter of the commander: The author singled out a passionate relationship from all the misery and narratively showed that only the circumstances of war and violence led this love into the abyss. But their love went its own way and brought germinating hope to a world already sinking.
A novelistic, but historically verifiable document of the times, which could not be brought closer to today’s generation in a more impressive way.
About the author:
Mag. phil. Georg (Freiherr von) Reichlin-Meldegg, born 1948 in Bad Ischl, Upper Austria. Managing director of a PR agency until December 2019. Historian, publicist, book author of numerous biographies on military historical personalities. Bearer of the “Golden Decoration of Merit” of the Republic of Austria. Three-time laureate of the “Silver Pen” of the Association of Austrian Industrialists (VÖI), Vienna. Major iTR of the Riding Artillery Division No. 2 in Vienna.
Hardcover, Weishaupt Verlag, Graz 2021, numerous illustrations, 336 pages.
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