02 February 2011

Only soldiers are dying, not the officers

The Bavarian Lion memorial near the Nauplion cemetery.
Photo, DW.

Brigitte Eckert translates Bettina Schinas' view of events around the creation of the Bavarian lion.

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Diary, 28 November 1834.

Walk to hill behind Pronia. Sitting outside with S, reading, the sun so hot at the rock we were sitting on we had to take our coats off. 

Opposite from us Bavarian soldiers were again digging another grave in the graveyard which is meant for them, the last one which was filled has not yet dried on the simple hill which covers it. I counted 160-170 tombs. It is one of the many graves where these poor foreigners, sent here from abroad, rest from all their work. I feel deeply distressed for these poor humans. It is odd though that only soldiers are dying away, not the officers. I especially can't understand it as their lodgings are much more spacious and better fitted out for them than those of the French, when many fewer men died. Good care is taken for their food, they get the best meat etc.

Probably it is also a result of the immoderate drinking of wine which is very cheap here, and the excessive eating of the superb and cheap fruit, which both are very attractive to them as they are very expensive in countries like Bavaria. 

To her parents, 29 November 1834.

At this moment it is horrible in Athens, according to the unanimous witnesses of different persons. The information about the decision to move (the capital) there was given so late that building the most needed accommodations before the arrival of the regency was impossible.

To get the necessary number of lodgings from the inhabitants measures were taken which were pleasant to no one: those who had to give away their homes are mostly pitifully accommodated and unhappy, all of them who were given are discontented, specially because they can't afford the exorbitant costs of moving, the lodgings terribly expensive, very small, and all that trouble in the bad season of the year. . .

Many soldiers can not be accommodated at all, have to bivouac, diseases must be expected. Mr. von Falbe, the Danish ambassador, traveled ahead to outfit the lodging for his wife, Bavarian soldiers tried violently to seize hold of his house, he defended himself until police came to help him.

People here say that a Greek coming home found his wife and children in the street and Bavarian soldiers sitting in his house, he killed one of the soldiers in the fight -- this still needs confirmation. I'm mentioning this because cases like this might be related abroad and give rise to wrong impressions. 

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Memorial plaque for the Bavarian Lion.
Photo, BE.
Copyright © Brigitte Eckert 2011.
SEE Ruth Steffen: Leben in Griechenland 1834–1835. Bettina Schinas, geb. von Savigny. Briefe und Berichte an ihre Eltern in Berlin. Verlag Cay Lienau, Münster 2002.   ISBN 3-934017-00-2.

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