Dec 2, 2020 | History, Research

WWI Story in Sosnivka

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“Emigration agents tour the Ruthenian villages of Galicia and tell moving stories about beloved Crown Prince Rudolf. He did not commit suicide with beautiful Mary Vetsera but he left for Brazil to found a mighty empire that he wants to settle with his favorite Ruthenians. (…) Rudolf, the new Brazilian Caesar, will open his arms to return their loyalty and allegiance. His father, the Caesar from Vienna, has promised to help to ferry the new subjects across the ocean.

After this sort of news, mobs of farmers start to the village offices to certify their willingness to leave. (…)

Some agents put on official uniforms. They walk around the villages with drums to read the “order” by Crown Prince Rudolf to push all urgent matters aside and start to Brazil, the earthy heaven where the milk trees grow. The milk will flow after you cut one. That is why there are neither any cows to milk or barns to clean there. The hard work is done by monkeys, who, of course, do not take any payment but for a few pieces of fresh fruit. The fruit grows on the trees right in front of your porch. You do not have to saw in Brazil. You can harvest right away. There’s gold wherever you step, just dig a bit. The agents show the golden coins to amazed people and say that they were received from the “Brazilian pans (landowners)” and there are as many of them as one’s heart desires.

Emigration madness is spreading.”

It’s an extract from Martin Pollack’s book titled The Caesar of America.

I was lucky to get the copy last year but I got to think about it again after one of our recent family research projects. The events that Martin Pollack tells about took place 100 years ago or so. Although it is still hard to comprehend it today, I understand that some people could believe in this sort of tales. 

However, all of Martin Pollack’s stories got so much livelier in my head after the conversation with a wonderful lady in Sosnivka (former Nanchilka) village of Staryi Sambir district, Ukraine. In this short video, she tells about the local version of the reasons for WWI. It’s amazing… This story is not very different from the tales that made thousands of Galician farmers pack their suitcases and launch themselves into the unknown, and it felt like touching history…

You can find more posts about emigration here.

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