100 years ago in Spokane: Wounded Russian soldier passes through, bearing horrors of war with him
Mon., Dec. 4, 2017
A “pitiful” Russian war victim arrived in Spokane , and his story was a microcosm of the disruption caused by the Great War in Europe.
Albers Savagovich, 19, was wounded by a bomb that killed 180 of his fellow Russian soldiers.
“His memory of events preceding and for the months following the burst of the shell that took him out of the trenches forever is vague and uncertain,” said the Spokane Daily Chronicle. “He is not even certain whether it was a bomb from the air or the bursting of shrapnel that struck him down. The date he does not know; he knows that that he laid in a Russian hospital for months – maybe six.”
What was certain was the extent of his wounds. The sight of his right eye was gone and the eye itself was “a pitiful semblance.” He also had a limp in his left leg and a gash in his abdomen.
“Savagovich speaks no English,” said the Chronicle. “He knows no other tongue than a Russian mixture of southern Siberia. After four months away from the war-torn land of his birth, the horror he has seen and suffered is still with him. The mention of Russia and the war sets him off in a gesticulating outburst barely intelligible to his own countrymen. His nerves are shattered – he is a peasant.”
He was on the way to Butte to look for work in the Russian community there, with help from the Russian Red Cross.
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