World War I – Behind Enemy Lines.- The Drummond Sisters- 19.

The Drummond sisters were born and raised on the Clarence River in Australia.

Early in the 20th Century they lived in Berlin, Germany, and worked for the opera company there, for many years.

When war broke out in 1914, they were ‘trapped’ for some time – Behind Enemy Lines. This is their story, in their own words.

Belief in the Good

Lute’ continues the sisters’ story of their plight of being – Behind Enemy Lines

It is mooted that the Japs are as far as the Ural Mountains, on their way to the Russo-German frontier. I can scarcely believe this, through nothing would surprise us nowadays. The Vladivostock-Moscow railway is very convenient for their mobilising.

The State Bank (Reichsbank) is issuing paper notes for the sum of one and two marks (1s and 2s). That looks as if silver too is getting scarce. Every other country declared a moratorium. It caused great amusement in Germany, especially England doing it too. They wrote:- “See what a bubble proud Albion’s financial position is!”

The passengers who left hamburg in this present month of August were 190, as against 19,500 last year. Now it’s forbidden to print any further statistics- as the enemy might find out too much in this direction. We had a long argument with an American about their trade with South America, which was practically nil on account of the German competition. Only today we read where the United States Bank is opening up branches all over South America – so this is a beginning. If England intends killing Germany’s trade, then I’m afraid she’s succeeding. Politics are a curious study, but terribly interesting.

Monday, September 7

Yesterday was my birthday, and the anniversary of our arrival in Lodz. What changes! Lodz is now in the hands of the Germans – so are we! Fortunes of war! We spent the afternoon at Inez’s. Today Germany is asking for a loan of five billion marks. She guarantees 5 per cent interest, marks. It guarantees 5 per cent interest security the money it’s going to get from its various enemies! It’s like backing – not an outsider – but an uncertainty.

The Kaiser has also published an appeal to the American people, in which England gets a goodly dose of abuse. The hatred against England is increasing by leaps and bounds. They accuse her of bleeding France; of lying wholesale; in fact, it seems to me that France, by moving its capital to Bordeaux, and thereby prolonging the war, has upset Germany’s temper. The War Office has now to make fur coats for its millions of soldiers, also to fur-line the boots, to say nothing of collapsible field barracks, so that the warriors may not sleep on an open snow field in Russia. Mechlin (Malines), near Antwerp, has been inundated by the Belgians. Aren’t they resourceful? We’re hoping that this will save the port from those deadly guns. The bombardment of Paris has not yet begun, and Russia won Lemberg, though the papers assure us that the Austrians left it voluntarily on account of strategic and ‘humane’ reasons, and that after a ten days’ fight! The weather continues glorious, though chilly. We’ve not had a drop of rain since the 1st of August. I wish we could get out of Berlin. We can’t take any journey without police permission, and no English are allowed to leave Germany at all. Perhaps, later there will be an exchange of prisoners. Russia and Germany have already had an exchange of subjects – women and children and boys under sixteen.

One gets so tired of only reading fearful tirades against one’s people and country, and though we can do exactly as we like; and suffer absolutely no inconvenience, yet we feel such hypocrites when we’re asked by our German neighbours to rejoice over their victories. It’s very unpleasant, and decidedly monotonous. We don’t know what to begin. We can’t sit here until the war ends; for who knows whether it will be a matter of weeks, months, or even years? Jean takes her two lessons a week. We practise every day, but without concentration and little interest. One can’t put one’s nose outside the door, but the people begin talking war, and as we are as enthusiastic as the rest of the world we join in. But we learn so little of the rest of Europe. It gives us hopeless fits. And the tales we hear! Miss Waller, Jean and myself have vowed to believe nothing now, until the official report of the war is written at some future date. We have lost all faith in all newspapers, for ever. A letter came from Purmall yesterday. She was quite well in Italy, but very upset over events. She spoke of coming back at the first opportunity, but I’m afraid she won’t be allowed across the frontier.

Doesn’t it seem more like a fit of madness that all the various nations are killing each other by the thousands daily? All the strongest and best men are just murdered. It’s too terrible. Now one sees all the mourning in the streets – black frocks, black arm bands, sad faces, hopeless eyes. There must be very many heavy hearts in Berlin, in spite of the bunting that flies merrily from every house.

Evening- Every page of tonight’s paper is full of scandalous doings of England – “this arch-traitor and hypocrite.” The various professors have handed in all their English titles and Orders. Paragraphs of English soldiers’ cruelties, and so much venom one reads against our Motherland, that I fancy the Germans must have a defeat somewhere. The people are even asked to bring their flags in, which makes me think perhaps even the Crown Prince is captured. That I suppose is possible. There has been a rumour current for days now that Prince Rupprecht of Bavaria is a prisoner in France. Denied – but who knows? The Reichstag has agreed at once to build new battleships in place of those that were lost – and, altogether, there’s much activity and bitterness against everything pertaining to England.

To be continued

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