This section provides excerpts from various diaries that were kept by individuals during the Great War and which are held either by the Stadtarchiv Ettlingen or provided by the descendants of the authors.

Oskar Kiefer's Diary
Oskar Kiefer, Ettlingen's sculptor who designed Ettlingen's War Memorial shown in the section List Of Fallen, started a diary on July 30, 1914, a few days before the start of the Great War.

On August 2, 1914, Oskar recorded:

Attack without declaration of war
First day of mobilization. One hears rumors that yesterday, Saturday, three French divisions broke through the borders at Altmünsterol. It seems incredible, because there has been no declaration of war. In contrast, the Russians attacked several border posts last night. The Landsturm [regional militia] is being called in. The murder of Jean Jaurès has been announced. The people are being requested to search for Russian and French spies. All older male and female persons have gathered at the Hotel Erbprinz [in the center of Ettlingen] to attempt to capture spies who pass on bicycles or in cars. All the street junctions and entrances to the town are occupied by the military.

On February 22, 1915, Oskar recorded:

Major haul at Masurian Lakes
A major haul at the Masurian Lakes was once again announced this evening so that now the total amounts to 7 generals, more than 100,000 men, more than 150 guns and large amounts of all kinds of material, including weapons, which cannot yet be estimated. The 10th Russian Army of General Baron Siewers can thus be considered to be completely eliminated.

On Whit Monday May 24, 1915, Oskar recorded:

On the verge of war with Italy
After the Italian and, intermittently, the German newspapers have been preparing their respective populations for war for the last three weeks, in part through a dramatization of minor events, we are now on the direct verge of a declaration of war. On Tuesday May 18, Graf Tisca spoke in the Hungarian Parliament and on May 19 Bethmann Hohlweg spoke in the German Reichstag in a conciliatory spirit while at the same time announcing the Austrian offers to Italy.
On May 20, the famous chamber meeting in Italy took place, in which dictatorship control for the government was approved against the socialists' vote, so that the majority of the people who, as elsewhere, wish for peace, can be gagged.
Karl Friedrich Baader's Diary
Karl Friedrich Baader, whose story is shown here, was a young soldier from Ettlingen who fought at the western front from 1917 to 1918. He kept a small diary during this time.

On August 19, 1918, Karl recorded a sad story in his diary:

Tommy go on and shoot, I'm here
We had to stand guard the whole night, and every two hours during the day. We barely had any time to sleep, that takes it out of you. I want to write down something very sad. In the early hours of the morning, the lieutenant came down to the front, completely drunk. He asked straight away about the English sentry and said he wanted to annoy him a bit. He climbed out of the trench and threw over two hand grenades. The Tommy threw some back at us. And he threw over a few mines. That would have been all right. But then someone came up from the back and said, "Stallknecht has just fallen".The lieutenant shrugged his shoulders and said, "Sorry to hear it, remove him". Then he got up on the edge of the sentinel and shouted out, "Tommy, go ahead and shoot, I'm standing right here". When we tried to convince him to come down, he said, "Not before I've avenged Stallknecht". And he waved at Tommy with the bottle of Schnaps, and shot at him a few times. Later he came down and went and slept off his hangover.

Thanks to such a brute the best man sometimes loses his life. If only I could do what I wanted. Last night I did a lot of thinking. I kept thinking the English would come. I was very anxious. Now I'm dog tired".

Karl Friedrich Baader, August 19, 1918

Towards the end of the war, Karl was shot in the upper leg and was sent to a lazaret in the Rhineland, where he stayed until November 1918. Armistice was declared on November 11, 1918, and the situation in Germany was catastrophic. Karl's diary entry for this day is as follows:

Germany has become a republic
"I can leave here [the lazaret] tomorrow. There's a revolution in Germany. Young adolescent boys are tearing off the epaulets and cockades of the officers and men. Gadding about with red flags. Stealing military equipment has become the order of the day.
Anybody who doesn't take part in all this is accused of being stupid. Then I would rather remain stupid. The Kaiser has fled to Holland.
Governmental power is in the hands of workers' and soldiers' councils. Germany has become a republic. Nobody knows how all of this is going to end. At all events, we were victorious but have lost the war. While the English are the victors".

Karl Friedrich Baader, November 11, 1918

Dr. Richard Barth's Diary
Dr. Richard Barth of Ettlingen started a "War Diary" (Kriegstagebuch) when the Great War broke out in 1914. We do not know how long he kept the diary for, as we only have a copy of the section that ends on October 1, 1914. The diary is the property of the Stadtarchiv Ettlingen.

Dr. Barth's own design for the front page of his "Ettlingen War Diary - Written by Richard Barth, Editor, 1914".

Dr. Barth was the editor of Ettlingen's local newspaper, the "Mittelbadischer Courier. The Courier's offices were at the corner of the Pforzheimerstrasse and the Kronenstrasse in Ettlingen. Dr. Barth describes in detail many of the events relating to the war in Ettlingen at the time, in particular regarding the behavior of the soldiers themselves, and events in Ettlingen's lazarett, which he visited frequently. His reports of both the physical and mental state of wounded soldiers are especially interesting.

The photo below shows the first page of Dr. Barth's diary and gives you an idea of how he wrote. Over the course of the next few weeks we will keep this section updated with translations of the diary into English.

First page of this section of Dr. Barth's diary from August 27, 1914

The wounded travel for 7-8 days with bullets and shrapnel...
Extract from Dr. Barth's war diary, September 12, 1914:
A carrier with 140 wounded men arrived in the lazarett today, and included 34 severely wounded. The men had been travelling for 7-8 days before they were able to obtain medical help in the lazarett. Several of them were lying on their stomachs. It's clear, of course, that it is extremely dangerous for bullets and grenade fragments to remain in the body for such a long time.

News of Emil Mayer's death...
Extract from Dr. Barth's war diary, September 4, 1914:
At 9 o'clock this morning, Frau Mayer came and brought the news of the death of her son Emil, who fell during the battles of Saarburg on August 20, 1914. He is the first soldier from Ettlingen of whom we have heard that he has fallen for the Fatherland. Frau Mayer was, although she shed tears, composed and showed her willingness to make this sacrifice for the Fatherland".

The Kaiser stays among the troops through the night...
Extract from Dr. Barth's war diary, September 3, 1914:
"The 'Sedan Report' arrived today. A heavy blow was dealt to France. The French middle army group, around 10 batallions, were repelled in open battle by our troops between Reims and Verdun. The Kaiser was with the Crown Prince's army during the combat and stayed among the troops through the night. The fruit of this victory was the unconditional evacuation of the major stronghold of Reims. The Germans were then able to march on to Paris unhindered".

Master baker Grötzingen writes...
Extract from Dr. Barth's war diary, September 2, 1914:

"Now be what may, Germany is certainly keeping guard. The father of master baker Grötzingen told me that his son wrote today that he has been transferred from Müllheim in Baden to Beusdorf. The relocation of troops is incredible. The regiments appear at the Upper Rhine, then suddenly in Lorraine, then suddenly in Belgium. Anton Oberle wrote a card saying that he had left Namur and was on the way to Russia, and was experiencing a great deal. Regiments that were already 20 or 30 kilometers into Russia were removed and relocated to the theater of war in France within 2 to 3 days, passing through the whole of Germany. To double and triple its power using its excellent train systems is a strategic art of our armed forces".

Our brothers bleed in the fields...
Extract from Dr. Barth's war diary, August 27, 1914:

"(describing a soldier in the lazarett)... he has returned from the battlefield as a result of internal disease. He expresses a great need for sleep. Very often, one hears: "Comrades, now we can have a good night's rest. We haven't removed our clothes for 3 weeks. We haven't slept for 8 days. We've fought every day, and when we haven't fought we've been marching". You certainly get an insight into the strains of life at war. And how inappropriate is the impatience of the local population, who often complains that we're giving the French too much time. Who craves the news of new battles, new successes and great victories every day and never stops to think how our brothers bleed in the fields".

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