Europeana 1914-1918

E E for Europeana 1914-1918 in the Blogging from A to Z challenge, with focus on online jewellery collections.

Europeana is a huge digital project that makes European archives and museum collections available online. It is enormous, and I wouldn’t have known how to introduce this source here, until I came across this particular ring from the WWI.

Europeana 1914-1918 is a website dedicated entirely to WWI, to conmemorate and tell the stories about this war. On a site like Europeana, stories from all sides can come together, and you can also contribute with your own.

Imperial War Museums © IWM (EPH 4477)

Imperial War Museums © IWM (EPH 4477)

I will focus on this iron ring. The story is this: Austrians were asked to hand in their gold and other jewellery to the state during WWI, to support the war financially. This is an iron ring with the inscription Gold gab ich für Eisen 1914 (“I gave gold for iron 1914”).

This ring tells the story of an Austrian jewish family during WWI and later WWII. You can read it all here.

Imagine that your government asks you to give away your gold jewellery to support a war! Well, those were very different times of course (only in a few countries did women have the right to vote at this time, for example).

If this was a call from the state (and not an order, with negative consequences if you didn’t obey), it makes me think of today’s crowdfunding concepts: “Support us if you beleive in this project and want to help us succeed, and we will give you a present in return”. Still, it’s so odd to think that you give your personal jewellery to the state.

Unrelated to Europeana: If you are interested in WWI and are on Twitter, you may want to follow @RealtimeWWI or @RealtimeWW1 with updates from the war, realtime + 100 years. Such as this one today:




6 thoughts on “Europeana 1914-1918

  1. That’s an interesting site. Also, even if there weren’t legal consequences, there still might have been social ones to not doing it. Like, do you support them instead of us?

    • That’s a good point, yes. We tend to do things very much based on what people around us do, and if we go against the norm, we have to justify it. Interesting point you make here, thanks!

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