Rome is falling,
An infant empire already in decline.
Room’s back to haven status.
Creating the Centena
I know of two German family names: Von Wolzogen, and Niebuhr, later Von Niebuhr. Both incredibly storied families, with a wild stretch of accolades between them, however, the individuals we have discussed the most lived and achieved either a century or two before the First World War. So, to find a viable candidate for the project at hand, I had to track known relatives down through their marriages and reproductions until I reached someone who was both related to me and alive during the First World War.
I have a family book for the Von Wolzogens, but not only is it written in German, a language I unfortunately don’t speak, but it’s in High German – if that’s the correct term. So my one resource was our good friend Larry’s ubiquitous search bar, (Google to the uninitiated). What I found was insufficient in terms of narrative. A chaotic spread of incipient entries across a few genealogy pages. But, I found a man. Hans Richard Joachim Von Volkmann. He was born in Deutz in 1889, which would make him 25 at the beginning of the war. His death wasn’t listed.
I couldn’t see Hans’ ‘full profile’ unless I joined these ancestry sites. What was given, though, on his incomplete profile were some interesting titles and letters, listed under ‘occupation.’ As follows, Königlich preußischer Rittmeister a.D., Dr. rer. pol. These alone equipped me with all the hooks I needed to imaginatively establish his general function in the German war-machine.
My sloppy translations provided me with the picture of an educated man, a doctor of political science, intimately connected with the Kingdom of Royal Prussia, who was a retired cavalry captain, with ausser Dienst meaning retired, and Rittmeister being a cavalry equivalent to a Hauptmann, army captain. Surely, he didn’t retire as a Rittmeister between the age of 25 and 29, which leads me to believe that he survived the war.
With all that in mind, my poem sees Hans, an accomplice and champion of Germany’s very brief colonial project, at the end of the war, watching as the international conflict that was arguably bred out of the recently unified Germany’s colonial aspirations closes in defeat.
26 is a group of writers whose purpose is to inspire a greater love of words in business and in life.