THE JOURNEY 2002

In october we travelled a part of the route followed by Iver Henningsen on the northern part of the Eastern Front in 1915 to investigate the possibilities of travelling all the way by hores-wagon in 2004.

Elblag in Poland
German graves
in Drygaly
The border between
Poland and Lithuania
The batallion commander
in Marijampolé

After a whole night´s sailing from Karlskrona, Sweden, we landed in Gdynia, Poland. In the grey morning we headed east passing Elblag, Ostroda, Olsztyn and Mragowo on our way to Prusinowo which we reached in the afternoon. It was in this small Polish village Iver Henningsen wrote his first letter from the front. In the bright and sunny afternoon we followed the route along which the 80th Reserve Division had fought its way in the freezing and snowfilled days of February 1915. We passed Biala Piska and visited the German war graves in Drygaly, we also visited the small village Monety and at the close of night reached Augostow.


The destination of the next day was Marijampolé in Lithuania, where we arrived before noon. We were welcomed by a small comitee and the rest of the day was spend in Marijampolé: we ate lunch at the garison, attended a press meeting in the town hall and were on a guided tour at the local museum. We also visited the town cemetary, where a few German graves from World War 1 had been preserved, and afterwards the memorial of the 3000 jews of Marijampolé killed during World War 2. The day ended at a school which educated catholic priests.

Kaj Henningsen and
the bataillion commander
At the press meeting
Our guide at the
museum
A church in
Marijampolé

The next and third day of our journey we drove to The Dubissa River north west of Kaunas. Iver Henningsen spend most of June and July 1915 in the small village Rakawa on the western side of the river, while the fighting continued inconclusive on the other side. From Rakawa we walked down to the small river after "talking" to one of the villagers. We then crossed the river and drove north east. On the way we passed a school class cleaning the memorial of a lithuanian author, most of them spoke English and they were very interested in the copies of Iver Henningsen´s drawings we showed to them. We then returned to Marijampolé where we visited the former synagog.

In the distance
Rakawa
A villager of
Rakawa
The Dubissa River
The lithaunian
author Maronio

On the fourth day we left Marijampolé and drove to Eglabalai west of Kalwarija. In 1915 it was a village, but all we could find was a lonely house. But its occupants gave us a confirmerning nod, when we pointed the ground and said Eglabalai (or something resembling it). We then continued on wide gravel roads to the border between Poland and Lithuania. On the way we passed a system of trenches, but it was impossible to determine whether it originated from World War 1, the ensuing struggles between Poles and Lithuanians, World War 2 or the partisan war waged upon the Russians untill the mid 50´ - a bloody area indeed.

In Eglabalai
Trenches
Between Sulwalki
and Augustow
Directions is given
to us in Bobry

We drove on to Augostow, making a halt in Novinka on the way. In Augustow we turned south west passing Rajgrod and Grajewo before reaching Bobry. Once again we followed the route of the 80th Reserve Division, but in the opposite direction. Helped by a German speaking Pole we found Miechowo, where Iver Henningsen nursed the wounded during the battle fought there in February 1915. Close by were memorials for the fallen German and Russian soldiers.

The war cemetary
at Bobry
The gravestone of
13 Russian soldiers
Ole Østergaard and
villagers of Miechowo
Our trusty Fiat

We continued to Orzysz, which we reached long after sun set. The next day we drove through the beautiful yellow october landscapes of nothern Poland and arrived in Gdynia late in the afternoon and in the evening we sailed for Karlskrona.