In August 1914, only seventeen days after Britain declared war on Germany, Private John Parr was killed in action by a German patrol just outside of Mons, Belgium. In the ensuing chaos, Mons was lost to the Germans, and Parr earned the dubious honor of being the first Brit to be killed during the war. Shift forward to November 1918, and Private George Ellison becomes the last British soldier to be killed in the conflict -- a fact you can attribute to the poor bastard getting shot by a German patrol half an hour after the armistice took effect in motherfucking Mons. (Short for "monster coincidence," probably.)
Parr and Ellison were buried facing each other, almost as if the universe was planning a memorable way to commemorate the end of the bloodshed. Of course, the boring explanation is that they were buried in such close proximity because they died in roughly the same place, the only coincidence being that they wound up facing each other. The third option is that this was the universe's way of saying that all of the death and destruction was pointless and that, just as these graves circled around, so too will another pointless war. Who's to say who got it right, really?
History. History is to say.
And on that subject ...
Two Families Rescue Each Other From Genocide, 50 Years Apart
Josef Kavilio and his family were living a pretty uneventful life in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, until the 1940s rolled around and the Germans followed. Since they had the nerve to be Jewish, the Kavilios were forced to flee their home and wound up taking shelter with Mustafa and Zejneba Hardaga, who were devout Muslims. The Hardaga home, by the way, was opposite the local Gestapo HQ, allowing them to listen in (whether they wanted to or not) to the constant screams of prisoners being tortured. Even with the periodic reminders of what would happen if they were found out to be hiding enemies of the state, the Hardagas still let their Jewish pals crash with them for as long as they wanted.
Above: What a bunch of badasses look like.
Thanks to the Hardagas, the Kavilios had time to get their shit together and escape to a nearby "safe" city ... after which Josef was captured ("Kavilio" is Hebrew for "Can't Catch a Break"). With the help of a sympathetic guard, he escaped and remained hiding out with the Hardagas until 1943, when he made a second break for it and reunited with his family. After the war, the Kavilios' new home of Israel named the Hardagas as "Righteous Among the Nations" -- a title which placed them alongside Oskar Schindler, Pere Marie-Benoit, and Albert "Yeah, Brother of *That* Guy" Goering.
This brings us to 1992 and the Siege Of Sarajevo, wherein Serbian paramilitary forces did their darnedest to wipe out every single building in the city (and the people inside). The now-widowed Zejneba Hardaga, as well as her daughter and her family, were among those soon-to-be-wiped-out citizens. Not if the Kavilios had anything to say about it, though.
When they heard about the Hardagas' situation, the remaining members of the Kavilio family contacted Yad Vashem (the Israelis in charge of making damn sure we remember the Holocaust) who, in turn, lobbied the government to put together a rescue operation. Zejneba and her family were eventually located in their cellar and smuggled out of the city inside a refugee convoy. Given the choice to be flown anywhere, the Hardagas picked Israel, presumably just so they could tell the Kavilios "OK, now we're even" in person.
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