A Memoir from World War I's Eastern Front

Authored on
May 1, 2021

In early 1919, Polish Army officer Stanislaw Kawczak was responsible for border negotiations in a disputed area of Silesia following an armed conflict between Czechoslovakia and Poland over the city of CieszynBrought in blindfolded to the Czechoslovak Army camp for talks, Kawczak shared dinner and beer with his former battlefield opponents after the official business was done.

Learn more on Saturday, May 15 at noon Central Time as Kawczak’s grandson Andrew Kavchak of Canada talks about a new English translation of his grandfather’s book Dying Echos: Memoirs of the War 1914-`1920, an account of the 20th Infantry Regiment of the Austrian-Hungarian Army during World War I, and Kawczak’s successor Polish unit in 1919-1920 during the Polish-Soviet War.

Kawczak’s unit served in the same Carpathian foothills area east of Krakow as the Austrian-Hungarian 98th infantry Regiment, an ethnically Czech unit that defected to Russia in early 1915. Dying Echos was originally written in Polish and in 1920s Poland held in same literary regard as Farewell to Arms and All Quiet on the Western Front were for English-speaking audiences.

Kawczak was killed during the 1940 Katyn Massacre by the Soviet Union. His book was banned in Poland and Czechoslovakia during the Communist period.  

The May 15 talk is sponsored by the American Council for Polish Culture

Map of Austria-Hungary military regions