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Eduardo Garcia Benito (1891-1981)
La prise de Przemysl...
The capture of Przemysl
Woodcut with hand colouring through stencils. Publisher: Tolmer & Co. March 1915.
Given by Sophie Gurney 1994

No. 53bis from the 2nd series La Grande Guerre.

Przemysl was a fortified town on the Austro-Hungarian border with Russia (in present day Poland, 125 miles east of Kraków). The siege was the longest of the war, beginning on 24 September and ending on 22 March 1915 (with a brief cessation in October). It was a major defeat for Austria-Hungary. The text on the print expressed the view of many, that the fall of the garrison would give Russia access into Hungary.

This is the last print in the series owned by the Fitzwilliam Museum. The publishers Tolmer & Cie. printed one more, Morts au Champ d'Honneur ('Deaths on the battlefield'), which linked the figure of Théophile de la Tour d'Auvergne (1743-1800) to Henri Collignon, former secretary of state, who died on 16 March 1915, united in front of the French flag.

The reason for the cessation of the series is not known, but as the firm did not go bankrupt (it continued until after Alfred Tolmer's death in 1957) it was presumably a financial one. It must have become difficult, especially after stalemate was reached on the western front, to write commentary of any sort, or produce souvenirs of the conflict. In the words of Ramsay MacDonald, Leader of the Labour party in Britain, 'no war is at first unpopular'.




The French caption with English translation:

LA PRISE DE PRZEMYSL 22 Mars 1915
La forteresse autrichienne de Przemysl, assiègée par l'armée russe depuis le mois d'août, a capitulé laissant entre les mains de nos glorieux alliés une énorme quantité de materiel de guerre. En outre, 9 généraux, 2,307 officiers et plus de 120,000 soldats ont été faits prisonniers. La prise de Przemysl peut être considérée comme une victoire décisive, car elle ouvre la route de la Hongrie aux armées russe.

The fall of Przemysl 22 March 1915
The Austrian fortress Przemysl, besieged by the Russian army since August, has capitulated, leaving a huge amount of war material in the hands of our glorious Allies. In addition, nine generals, 2307 officers and more than 120,000 soldiers were taken prisoner. Taking Przemysl can be regarded as a decisive victory, since it opens the way to Hungary to the Russian armies.

p.56-1994 (link to catalogue record)


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