HUMANISTIKA KAO SREDSTVO PREŽIVLJAVANJA: SVJEDOČANSTVO SIBIRSKOG ZAROBLJENIKA TIJEKOM PRVOG SVJETSKOG RATA
This article looks into the autobiography of the Croatian chemist and pharmacognosist Antun Vrgoč (1881-1949) entitled My Memories of the World War 1914-1920 and published in Zagreb in 1937. The author was captured in October 1914 and deported to Siberia, where he remained prisoner of war until 1920. Since there are few memoirs describing the life of Siberian prisoners during the First World War, this work is a precious testimony about the attitude towards the prisoners of war, human relations, and the survival of an Austro-Hungarian army officer. The book shows a striking lack of civilian or military hostility towards the prisoners and the respect of the Geneva Convention. Antun Vrgoč adopted the culture, customs and language of his formal enemies, took part in their civilian life, and taught at their university. His cathartic experience of survival includes a clear message about the absurdity of war.
Key words: First World War; Siberian prisoners of war; Antun Vrgoč; Croatian pharmacognosist, Geneva Convention