Sometime during the past years, I went on a journey of discovery in a town near Prague, Pardubice. I held a postcard my grandfather had sent home in 1917. The card pictured a military hospital where he had been interned. I was convinced I would find the place where he spent one entire year when he was 19 years old.
I recall walking the town and asking for the hospital, looking at the beautiful buildings and trying to imagine my grandfather as a young man, during the First World War. Nothing was there.
Years later, I found the hospital was the biggest military quarantine hospital in Europe. It held ten-thousand sick-beds in a town of 20 000 citizens.
The quarantine had 198 buildings. 167 buildings were for services men. The complex of buildings expanded into 80 hectares. The quarantine was opened in June, 14 1915. The patients came from all the nations of Austria-Hungary, the allies, and the camps for the prisoners of war.
Horak, P. (2009), Vojenaka Karantena v Pardubicich – 1914-1918, University Pardubice, p.124.