A stunning portrayal of soldiers’ lives during WWI
This past Monday, I went to a screening of Peter Jackson’s new WWI documentary, They Shall Not Grow Old. I went into the theater with high expectations, and this film definitely surpassed all of them. It brings to life the old archival footage in a way that has never been seen before. It truly allows you to travel back in time, and to experience history as the soldiers saw it. This film will be the closest you’ll ever be to actually experiencing the life of a WWI soldier on the Western Front, and horrors of war that they saw. It is a fitting tribute to the men and women who lived and died during this war. Continue reading “Film Review: “They Shall Not Grow Old””→
One hundred years ago today, the Armistice was signed between the Allies and Germany, which ceased the hostilities on the Western Front, and that ended World War One. When the war ended, my great-grandfather Glenn Kaiser had been serving in the Army for 14 months, and had been on the front lines with the U.S. Army 32nd Division for many of the major military campaigns of the war. He was one of about 1,000 men from DeKalb County, Illinois to enlist in the service, and was one of the 4.7 million American soldiers to serve during the war. He was sent to the European front in February of 1918. This photo (right) was taken with some of his (unidentified) fellow soldiers near Haute Alsace just after they arrived in France. Glenn sent it to his mother along with this letter in June 1918. He had participated in battles in the Aisne-Marne Campaign, the Oise-Aisne Campaign, and finally the Meuse-Argonne Campaign. Like many of the soldiers on the Western Front, my great-grandfather could tell that the war was drawing to a close, but was very anxious to see it finally end. Glenn and his unit were engaged in battle until the last hours before the Armistice took effect. He and his unit had indeed been up for two nights getting into battle positions and marching through tough roads. When the guns finally fell silent at 11:00 a.m. on November 11, I’m sure that the men were relieved that the war was over, and also in that moment, relieved that they could get some sleep. He wrote to his mother on Nov. 12, the day after the Armistice took effect, to describe his relief and his commitment to making the peace last.
In a previous post, I described my search for my great-grandfather’s brother Conrad August Weil. I have recently returned from my brief research trip to Pittsburgh, and I wanted to share some exciting findings!
When I went to Pittsburgh, one of my primary goals was to find out of the Conrad Weil who married Evelyn Simon was the same Conrad Weil Jr. from my family. The short answer is, yes, he is! My next question was, where did he go after that? (I still don’t know!) Continue reading “Where is Conrad August? (an update)”→
In celebration of my 50th blog post, and to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I, I have a very special announcement! In a previous post, I introduced my great-grandfather Glenn Kaiser, who served in the American Army during World War I. During 1918-1919, he was stationed in France and Germany along the front lines. Like many soldiers at the front, he sent frequent letters home to his family. I am currently scanning and transcribing some of the surviving letters that he sent home during his time abroad. I’ll be sharing these letters on a special section on my blog, starting today! The first batch of letters include some of his letters from training before he was sent overseas.