- Project Runeberg -  Diplomatic Reminiscences before and during the World War, 1911-1917 /

(1920) [MARC] Author: Anatolij Nekljudov - Tema: War, Russia
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The summer of 1915 saw the beginning of a charitable
work which helped to alleviate the most terrible
suffering imaginable—that of the seriously wounded and
incurables among the prisoners. On the initiative of the
Holy See—an initiative which will be eternally blessed
by thousands—what was commonly called “the exchange
of the seriously wounded” was started.

Between Russia and the Central Empires the
exchange was to be effected through Sweden. The
Swedish Red Cross and its president, Prince Charles,
set to work to organise the service of the transfer of
the seriously wounded: by sea between the Pomeranian
port Sassnitz and the Swedish port Trelleborg (near
Malmö), and by the Swedish railway between
Trelleborg and the Finnish frontier at Haparanda—Tornea.
Swedish hospital ships and ambulance trains were fitted
up with all possible comforts. A sympathetic, devoted
and well-trained staff of doctors, sisters and nurses
was attached to these ships and trains which conveyed
the seriously wounded Russians from the south to
the north, and the seriously wounded Germans and
Austrians in the opposite direction. On the railway
journey fairly long halts were made at the big junctions,
and then meals were served to the invalids. It was
then that the population of the neighbourhood
came—especially at first—to greet the wounded, to bring them
flowers and show them little kindnesses; and I must
mention particularly that in this way, as moreover in
everything else, no distinction was made between
German and Russian invalids.

The members of the Swedish Red Cross who had
taken part in this organisation, and first and foremost
Prince Charles himself and Princess Ingeborg, came
several times to visit the ambulance trains on their way
through Sweden, and brought small gifts, and spoke
words of consolation and hope to the wounded. The
Crown Prince and his wife also made this charitable
pilgrimage; they visited the Russian ambulance-train
in my presence, and I remember the Crown Princess

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