Heartbreaking to think this soldier might have had a child the same age at home. It really shows the humility and humanity of the people in the war. Just because they perceived each other as the “enemy” doesn’t mean either of them were more or less good than the other. At the end of the day, everyone is still human. Photo taken in Volkhov area.
A literary great analysis on war and its effects on humans (Paul Bäumer, All Quiet on the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque):
“I want to help you. I want to help you… Stop that! Stop it! Stop it! I can bear the rest of it. I can’t listen to that! Why do you take so long dying? You’re going to die anyway. Oh, no. Oh, no. You won’t die. Oh, no. You won’t die. They’re only little wounds. You’ll get home. You’ll be all right. You’ll get home long before I will.
You know I can’t run away. That’s why you accuse me. I tell you, I didn’t want to kill you. I tried to keep you alive. If you jumped in here again, I wouldn’t do it. You see, when you jumped in here, you were my enemy – and I was afraid of you.
But you’re just a man like me, and I killed you. Forgive me, comrade. Say that for me. Say you forgive me! Oh, no. You’re dead! Only you’re better off than I am. You’re through. They can’t do any more to you now. Oh, God, why did they do this to us? We only wanted to live, you and I. Why should they send us out to fight each other?
If we threw away these rifles and these uniforms, you could be my brother just like Kat and Albert. You’ll have to forgive me, comrade. I’ll do all I can. I’ll write to your parents. I’ll write to, I’ll write to your wife. I’ll write to her. I promise she’ll not want for anything. And I’ll help her and your parents, too. Only forgive me. Forgive me. Forgive me! Forgive me!”
(Photo credit: Bundesarchiv).