A common oak sapling (Quercus robur) was planted near the entrance to our museum Russia in the Great War at the Martial Chamber on October 26 as part of the project The Tree of Peace commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
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The planting ceremony of the 400-year lifespan tree opened the international research and practice conference The Results and Lessons of the Great War 1914–18, which is held at the Martial Chamber. The ceremony was led by Mr Marek Sobola, The Tree of Peace project’s mastermind (see below right), and by Director Olga V. Taratynova of Tsarskoe Selo (see below).
A landscape architect, Marek Sobola initiated The Tree of Peace to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the end of the Great War Conflict in autumn 2018. The war had an impact on his family. It touched his grandfather Joseph, who never saw his father Andreas because the latter was lost on a Russian battlefield during World War I. Born on 7 August 1880 in the village of Lalinok near Žilina, Slovakia (then under the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy), Andreas Sobola was enlisted in the 15th Infantry Regiment and then went missing since circa 1915 after a battle in Russia. In Czechoslovakia he was pronounced dead in 1930, although his official date of death was 31 December 1918. Marek’s six-year research in many archives across Europe from Denmark to Switzerland to Russia has not brought any result and he still does not know where his great-grandfather was buried.
Marek says, ‘The story of my family inspired me to the idea of this project. The stores like mine were repeated millions of times during World War I. Today, for my great–grandfather, as well as for all the other soldiers buried in unknown places without a name and identity, I can do at least this one symbolic thing.’
Besides Tsarskoe Sleo, so far the Trees of Peace have been planted in Slovakia, at the largest WWI cemetery in Slovakia in the village of Veľkrop where 8,862 soldiers of the Austro-Hungarian and Russian armies are buried, and at the Kysuce Village Museum in Vychylovka, Žilina self-governing region.
The next confirmed locations will include the imperial villa Bad Ischl in Austria; the Bôrik Military Cemetery in Žilina, Divina village (Marek’s birthplace) and Lalinok village (birthplace of his ancestors) in Slovakia; Jangrot village (Gmina Trzyciąż) in Poland; and possibly a place in Turkey.
The project aims at planting the Trees of Peace on every continent within four years — such was the length of the global war conflict.