— 1915 in Belarus — Refugees in Bobruisk, Brest fires

Photos taken by a tsarist army officer

This article was found on the MOZYRXXVEK site and in Russian. The translation is by Google so doesn’t make sense in part 😀

I’d seen this years ago when swanning around the National Library of Poland but I couldn’t find it after I foolishly didn’t save the link.

I was especially thrilled to see that the photos were taken by someone who was in the same regiment as Joseph so it made all these very special! AND the fact that they were taken in Belarus, where Wladyslaw came from! So many intertwining events between the two families!


The digital archive of the National Library of Poland showed interesting stuff – photo album made by Russian imperial army officer on the territory of Belarus in 1915.
For this year came one of the most dramatic periods of World War II on the Eastern Front – the so-called great apostasy Russian armies.

In the spring of 1915 the tsarist army suffered a series of major defeats in several places has been broken through the front at the front began slug hunger. Under these conditions, the Russian command had decided to retreat deep into their own territory. During the summer of 1915 the whole of Poland, Galicia, a significant part of Belarus was abandoned. Hundreds of thousands of people were forced to leave their homes and move to the east with the retreating troops.

Author photos – unfortunately, in the album are not specified either his name or surname – served in the Medical Detachment 206th Salyan Regiment (full name: 206th Infantry Salyan His Imperial Highness Tsarevich Grand Duke Alexei Nikolayevich Regiment) and with squad has gone from Brest to Bobruisk, simultaneously fixing what he saw on film.

His photographs and notes under them – a living testimony of the hardest periods in the history of Belarus.

MOZYRXXVEK invites its readers to look at the dramatic events of the Great War that took place on the territory of Belarus in the summer of 1915, through the eyes of a Russian imperial army officer.


August 1, 1915 Dinner in honor of the anniversary of the establishment of the regiment. Makeshift table made in special trenches in the woods near Volchin
Beginning in August 1915 convoy of refugees from Poland Wlodawa goes east
Beginning in August 1915 Refugees
August 12, 1915 The last day of the evacuation of the Brest Fortress. The photo in the evacuation area Terespol district – on the ground abandoned furniture and bulky personal belongings
Background : Command of the Russian Army originally planned to defend the fortress of Brest, despite the small size of the garrison and the lack of ammunition, but after the beginning of August fell Modlin fortress and Kovno, was ordered to evacuate the troops from Brest.
August 12, 1915 Fires in Brest
Background : the evacuation of the city and the fortress was carried out according to the tactics of “scorched earth”. From the rear parts of the instigators of units were formed, which destroyed the abandoned inhabitants of the house and burned nevyvezennoe feudal property. Contributes its bit of destruction and looting, wielded in the abandoned city residents.
August 12, 1915 Fires in Brest
August 12, 1915 Fires in Brest
August 12, 1915 Fires in Brest
August 12, 1915 Fires in Brest
Background : According to the report of the commandant of the fortress of Brest-Litovsk General Layminga, during the evacuation in Brest was destroyed about 80% of the housing stock of the city.
August 12, 1915 destruction of the warehouse on the territory of the fortress explosion
Background : in the course of the retreat nevyvezennoe property and supplies (instead of requiring the needs of the evacuation of 600 cars has been allocated a total of 120) were destroyed, sapper company mined and blew up the military stores in the fortress. Also destroyed bridges and fortifications.
August 1915 to undermine the bridge in the district of the Brest Fortress
August 12, 1915 The last gig with the wounded medical leave Brest
August 12, 1915 Last train out of the fortress. Author under this image wrote: “I have to have to sit in the cart and go”
August-September 1915 food distribution point on the station Lyahovichi
Historical note : due to the unprecedented number of the flow of refugees from the western regions of the empire in the east Government of the Russian Empire in the summer of 1915 ordered to arrange along the ways in which refugee convoys were so called “nutritious items.” They could get hot food costing up to 20 cents per person (tea with sugar and warm bread), fodder for livestock and medical care. As you can see in the photo, the creation of such items involved, among others, and the military.
August-September 1915 food distribution point on the station Lyahovichi
August-September 1915 The queue for food at Lyahovichi station
August-September 1915 The new cemetery near Lyahovichi stations and convoys of refugees on the road
Beginning in September 1915 Street in Bobruisk
Background : in the autumn of 1915 Bobruisk became a front-line surround the city. Through it passed the military trains to the west and the east, thousands of refugees.
September 1915 The descent to the Berezina River near the house, which is located in a medical detachment of the 206 th Infantry Regiment, Salyan
September 1915 medotryada House on the banks of the Berezina
Autumn 1915 Steamboat going by Berezina
Autumn 1915 Rafting on the Berezina
Autumn 1915 medotryada House, view from the opposite bank of the Berezina
Autumn 1915 Number of assistance to refugees in Bobruisk. The inscription on the building: “orphans refugees accepted here”
Autumn 1915 Number of assistance to refugees in Bobruisk. According to the byline then it had its own kitchen, a clinic and an orphanage for 100 people
Autumn 1915 The queue for food aid for refugees in paragraph Bobruisk
Autumn 1915 refugee village near the railway “Berezina” plant in Bobruisk
Autumn 1915 Evacuation of the orphanage from Bobruisk
This event breaks the album. The further fate of the author’s photographs is unknown, but it can be assumed that he survived the war and the next revolution. Most likely, the author had Polish origin, as all photo captions are made in Polish and emigrated after the demobilization of the Russian Imperial Army in the newly formed Republic of Poland. Perhaps that’s why the album of photos of the tsarist army officers and into the funds of the National Library of Poland.





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