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John Gilinsky

Excellent 1915 Swedish film on Sick and Wounded POW Exchanges

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John Gilinsky

The Swedish Film Institute Archives in Stockholm have posted on their website a 46 minutes long film made specifically by the Swedish film company Victoria in the summer of 1915 and shown in Stockholm in September 1915 specifically about the POW exchanges that had been negotiated in large measure by the initiative of Prince Carl of Sweden who along with the Swedish Queen features in the film. This is an incredible film for its quality, its unusual length, its social clearly recognized pacifistic and anti-war visual messages that contemporary news / film reviewers and commentators directly pointed out.

In addition the same source also has a few films from 1915 - 1918 showing food shortages and food lines, governmental bureaucrats, May Day of 1917 demonstration and Swedish interpretations of "trench warfare" (the 1915 films are especially revealing for both the accuracies and inaccuracies of what Sweden could expect if it ever did in the near future find itself engaged in trench warfare).

The title of the 46 minutes long POW repatriation film :

Krigsfångeutväxlingen genom Sverige (Krigsinvalidernas färd genom Sverige) (1915)

and the direct URL is here:

http://www.filmarkivet.se/sv/Film/?movieid=1280

Check out the same Swedish Film Institute's WWI related era films here (and possibly other themes/titles):

http://www.filmarkivet.se/sv/Sok/?themeid=38

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Anneca

John, as you say this 1915 Swedish film on sick and wounded POW exchanges is an incredible film for its quality and I agree wholeheartedly. I was amazed to see, in a couple of instances near the beginning, that for most men losing legs it seemed to be their right leg in particular, but I may be mistaken. If I am not, I wonder if there may be any statistics to this effect.

Anne

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John Gilinsky

If you wished to undertake extensive archival research in Germany first, Vienna Austria secondly and finally probably Russia as well you might after much searching put together something but the time and expense would in mho be too much! It is possible that the Swedish, German, Austrian and Russian Red Cross archives may have either published or archival reports on this specific repatriation. Moreover published newspapers in Sweden, Germany, Russia or Austria-Hungary MAY have listed some or even many of the men's names. In addition consular or diplomatic archives for Sweden, Germany, Austria Hungary or Russia may also have detailed reports with repatriated men's names. Once you get an extensive list of names you can then check the now available POWS as listed on the ICRC website! Good luck. Review these repatriated men's facial expressions and body languages as well indeed of all the persons including Swedish medical attendants. Close social interactions with war disabled makes for fascinating social observations. I found the Galician and what appear to be Bukovinian peasant soldier conscripts to make for fascinating cultural phenomenon as well. John

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egbert

What an incredible find-thanks for pointing out!

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Anneca

John, as you have already stated, extensive archival research on this subject would be a massive undertaking and expense for one person but could be undertaken by a group of interested and likeminded people willing and able to give much time to a project such as this. I have been unable to find any statistics regarding left/right leg amputees and imagine they do not exist. However, according to the Epidemiological Study of War Amputees and the Cost to Society, undertaken by CPU Stewart and AS Jain, there were at least 29,400 British lower limb amputees and 11,600 upper limb amputees at the end of the Great War, making lower limb amputees much more prevalent.

Apologies for detracting from your thread on this incredible film.

Anne

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John Gilinsky

Tx for the compliments. Per amputations and wishing to stick to the topic of this thread (please!): Amputations would be clearly the most visible reason why such military personnel or conscripts would be considered safe with this first major international POW exchange of disabled POWS and hence this is one reason you see so many as well as the atypical nature of the filming itself with focuses for a great time on the POWS themselves : mostly but not all lower ranking conscripts and soldiers (still fascinated eh! by those Galicians wearing what appears to be national costumes of sorts). I think that the Diplomatic Archives of Sweden, Germany and Austria MAY be the single best best for a list(s) of such personnel internationally transferred per international agreement and the list(s) would have been copied / relayed to such diplomatic officials as involved etc.... especially as this was the first time. John N.B.: I am in Toronto Canada and for several years despite telling the moderators and despite requesting instant notifications of posts to my own threads I do NOT get these notices so please bear with me if I do not respond "right away."

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AliceF

Thanks for posting!.

I did not know about this type of transports through Sweden.

Painful to watch.

Christine

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henryww1

Interesting film coverage of Russian and Austro-Hungarian soldiers. Many thanks.

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John Gilinsky

You are most welcome. Actually right now I am researching a post-war Canadian Red Cross facility right here in Toronto, Ontario, Canada that specifically dealt with orthopaedic and disabled veterans of the war and who were transported via Toronto harbour ferries and boats regularly for decades each summer! Stay tuned!

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James A Pratt III

Interesting film I must say. I have some comments:

"Sweden the Neutral Victor" Steven Koblik a fine book on Sweden in WW I

"The Northern Underground Episodes of Russian Revolutionary transportation through Scandinavia and Finland 1862-1917" Michael Futerell

Pre WW I neither the Russian or Swedish Militaries wanted railroads built to their national borders since they feared it would be used by the other side to attack them. Note the Swedish upper classes were mainly pro-german and most Swedes did not like Russians. So when Finnish commercial interests built a rail line to Tornio on the Torne River, the boundry between Sweden and Finland/the Russian Empire in 1903 the Swedes built a rail line to Karungi which is 15 miles up river from Tornio. When WW I started the Russians really needed a rail connection to Sweden so built a temporary line north just across the river from Karungi. The Swedes built a permanent line down their side of the river to Haparanda across from Tornio completed in June 1915. There was a wooden footbridge across the river, but it wasn't until 1919 that a railroad bridge was built. Before this you had to cross the river by boat in the summer and by sled, cart or vehical after it froze over in the winter. It looks like the exchange took place after the rail line to Haparnda was built but before winter 1915. I hope this of some interest.

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AOK4

Hello,

A lot of the exchanges of POWs happened via Tornio/Haparanda on the nowadays Finnish-Swedish border (an interesting article about this was in the Finnish Helsingin Sanomat newspaper last Summer with some pictures). POWs who were considered not to be able to fight any more were often exchanged (for the French-German exchanged POWs this was done via Switzerland, the British-German exchange happened via Holland). Also captured hospital staff and doctors etc. could be repatriated via this way.

I know of a German soldier who was exchanged via Sweden after having lost a leg. It didn't stop him to volunteer for the German airforce afterwards and become an air gunner until the end of the war.

Jan

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John Gilinsky

John, as you have already stated, extensive archival research on this subject would be a massive undertaking and expense for one person but could be undertaken by a group of interested and likeminded people willing and able to give much time to a project such as this. I have been unable to find any statistics regarding left/right leg amputees and imagine they do not exist. However, according to the Epidemiological Study of War Amputees and the Cost to Society, undertaken by CPU Stewart and AS Jain, there were at least 29,400 British lower limb amputees and 11,600 upper limb amputees at the end of the Great War, making lower limb amputees much more prevalent.

Apologies for detracting from your thread on this incredible film.

Anne

Hello Anneca. Can you please furnish the full bibliographical citation and/or where if possible the full online study for Stewart / Jain that you refer to is? I am dealing intensely with Canadian vets post WW1 and their summer respite from a local vets hospital on Center Island here in Tornoto harbour so that these British figures are of high relevance to my research (as indeed are any other British and American especially equivalent post-WW1 WW1 vet summer resort type facilities. I hope you can assist. Tx, John

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Anneca

Hello Anneca. Can you please furnish the full bibliographical citation and/or where if possible the full online study for Stewart / Jain that you refer to is? I am dealing intensely with Canadian vets post WW1 and their summer respite from a local vets hospital on Center Island here in Tornoto harbour so that these British figures are of high relevance to my research (as indeed are any other British and American especially equivalent post-WW1 WW1 vet summer resort type facilities. I hope you can assist. Tx, John

John, I have sent you a PM.

Anne

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Anneca

Hello Anneca. Can you please furnish the full bibliographical citation and/or where if possible the full online study for Stewart / Jain that you refer to is? I am dealing intensely with Canadian vets post WW1 and their summer respite from a local vets hospital on Center Island here in Tornoto harbour so that these British figures are of high relevance to my research (as indeed are any other British and American especially equivalent post-WW1 WW1 vet summer resort type facilities. I hope you can assist. Tx, John

Hello John, I sincerely apologise for not being able to come back to you before now but trust this might be of help to you. I had made many notes from this but unfortunately no longer able to find these. Good luck. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.3109/03093649909071620?journalCode=ipoi20

Anne

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John Gilinsky

Thanks Anneca for the submission which couldn't be more timely due to my research right now focused on a history of a local Veteran's "hospital" that specifically catered to amputees and orthopaedic war Canadian vets from the 1920s to about 1950.

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John Gilinsky

Whilst the film is focused on the actual POWs and their Swedish Red Cross helpers and dockside here is a reference to a photo showing the fundamental use of the railways for land transportation of larger numbers of POWS,viz.:

Hallsberg Sweden (based and developed around its railway station which was and is critical for the city) showing probably a winter 1915 or 1916 (based on uniforms worn overall and lack of any extra clothing (such as winter or foul weather at least) or any extras of any kind which if exchanged later mid-1916 onwards would most likely have seen some packages, extra clothes, extra helpers, etc... but nothing in the photo). This large well reproduced photo shows a double file column of crutch walking uniformed mainly AH and Russian amputees walking unassisted in the streets of Hallsberg. It is reproduced: Moorehead, Caroline (with Introduction by James Nachtwey) "Humanity in War Frontline Photography since 1860" Geneva, Switzerland: International Committee of the Red Cross, 2009 [ vi ], 247 pages (small folio) ISBN: 978 - 1 - 906523 - 15 -2

page 16

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