My grandmother, Doris, often wished she could reconnect with her mother’s relatives in Europe in her latter years. But the ravages of two World Wars followed by the dropping of the Iron Curtain across most of eastern Europe made genealogical research nigh impossible.
I was reminded of this frustration this morning while I listened to The Guns of August on my commute to work. I’m reading this Pulitzer winning non-fiction book as part of the Kansas City Public Library and the National Word War I Museum‘s Great War | Great Read program to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I.
I’d reached the fifteenth chapter, which began a shift of focus from the Western Front in August 1914 to the Eastern Front with the appropriate title ‘The Cossacks are Coming!’ About halfway through my commute, I recognized the name of my great-grandmother’s home town, formerly known as Stallupönen, but since reclaimed and renamed multiple times over the last century.
Continue reading “Update from the Eastern Front”