|"Names of the Fallen"|
Samuel Ebner-2nd from top
|Father and Son, both Samuel Ebner|
~ 1902-05. My grandmother, Lisi's,
brother and father.
We didn't know much about young Samuel (also my great-grandfather's name), but this photograph, at left, always hung in a prominent place in my grandparents' home and now hangs as part of a 100-photo family history wall extending up the wall along my front stairway. It's the two Samuels: father and son. Hand-colored with pastels, the photo was made about 1902-05.
Once I was able to decipher some of the missives my grandmother had saved, I came across a very special one-- this postcard from her brother, Sam, addressed to his father, dated August 19, 1914. Samuel (who must have been nicknamed “Kaspar,” perhaps to avoid confusion with his dad) writes only the briefest of messages:
|"Dear Parents" The final words received from|
Sam Ebner (Jr.) written August 19, 1914
On the right side he’d added: Don’t answer [this letter].
Perhaps he didn't know where he'd be. Perhaps he knew what a terrible battle he was about to enter. The day before young Samuel wrote this card, on August 18, 1914, the Russians had invaded Galicia from the east, in one of the earliest battles of World War I. The Russian army would eventually devastate the Austro-Hungarian Army in which Samuel was soldier. He died during the Battle of Galicia on August 26, 1914, just eight days after penning his last words.
|Grosspold Church Family Book entry for Samuel Ebner (Jr.) the youngest |
son of Samuel Ebner and his first wife, Elisabetha Eder/Ebner
Birth column: 6/16/1893. Death column: 8/26/1914
His birth and death dates (latter barely legible) were entered into the Family Book from the Evangelische Lutheran church and show he was born June 16, 1893. He was twenty-one when he died.
At some point, my grandmother’s half-brother, Hans, sent her the above postcard, adding this heart-felt note on the address side:
I’m sending you here the most valuable thing I’ve ever had--because it is the last writing from our dear brother, Sam--in the hope that you will treasure it as I have.
The fact that I still have this postcard, almost 100 years later, is testimony to the care my grandmother took with this precious last message.
But not only did she save her brother’s memory in this modest missive, she helped make possible the impressive memorial whereon were inscribed her brother’s and his fellow fallen comrades' names. More on how I discovered this connection in the third part of this series on Samuel Ebner, "the younger." Look for "The Fallen - Part III" next Travel Tuesday.