'Ludovic H. Grondijs'


A Dutch Academic Turned Adventurer Journalist

enlargement showing prof. Grondijs in Russian uniform


Ludovic Grondijs was born in 1878 in the Dutch East-Indies, now known as Indonesia, where he spent most of his youth. A gifted academic, he studied mathematics, physics, philosophy and Byzantology at various universities in the Netherlands.

Working as a teacher when the Great War broke out in 1914, he quit his post and secured a position as war-correspondent for the Dutch newspaper 'de Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant' and went on foot into neighboring Belgium where he covered the early events of the war in Aerschot and Louvain as well as the siege of Antwerp. He published a book on his experiences in Belgium, 'The Germans in Belgium - Notes by a Dutch Eye-Witness' and afterwards traveled to France, working for various newspapers and newsmagazines, not all of them Dutch.

Later in September 1915, he left for Russia at the invitation of general Brussilov where he was allowed to accompany the Russian 8th Army. Many of his vividly written articles on warfare on the Eastern Front were published in the prestigous French newsweekly 'l'Illustration', a number of which are reproduced in the links below. He apparently respected the fighting qualities of the common Russian soldier and expressed his admiration numerous times in his articles. And although an academic by profession, he seemed to relish the adventure and excitement of war-time journalism and of warfare itself; he is said to have taken active part in combat along with his Russian hosts on many occasions. For this, he was decorated with the Russian St. George, St. Stanislas, St. Anne and St. Vladimir medals.

He was present in Petrograd during the initial February Revolution in 1917, but after the Bolshevist take-over, he left for White controlled territory where he joined counter-revolutionary armies. Oddly he appears to have found the time to obtain a doctor's degree in physics at the university of Charkov in 1918. Later that year he travelled to Paris and became an accredited war-correspondent to the French government, for which he returned to Russia, following and reporting on events with the French Military Mission in Siberia during the years 1918-1920. During this period of the Russian Civil War, he married his Russian wife. After the definitive Bolshevist victory he returned to Europe, openly professing his anti-Bolshevist views in articles and lectures.

He once again took up the profession of academic, but a love of adventure and war must have been irresistible, for he later went to Manchuria in the 1930's to report on the Japanese campaign. In 1936-37 he was in Spain during the Civil War, afterwards in 1939 accompanying the Hungarian army as it occupied Ruthenia, as a result of the Munich agreements.

During the Second World War, by virtue of his anti-Bolshevist sympathies, he appears to have been asked to publish articles and give lectures praising National Socialist policies in the Netherlands. His openly expressed appreciation of the bravery of Russian fighting-men, based upon his first-hand experiences during the Great War, did little to endear him to the occupying and collaborating authorities and he was dropped from favor, apparently narrowly missing incarceration because of these views.

Still, his contacts with right-wing, authoritarian political movements before and during the Second World War, were well-known and as a result he experienced minor troubles after the war ended. In the end he was absolved and returned for a short while to his academic post, retiring in 1949. He passed on in 1961, at the age of 81 while practising the sport of fencing, one of his favorite pastimes.


A Collection of Texts for the French Weekly 'l'Illustration'

Le Général Broussilof
Les Aigles du Tsar
Visions de Guerre sur le Front Russe - Attaques en Forêt 1
Visions de Guerre sur le Front Russe - Attaques en Forêt 2
Visions de Guerre sur le Front Russe - Autour d'un Feu de Camp
Avec la «Division Sauvage» Pendant la Retraite de Galicie 1
Avec la «Division Sauvage» Pendant la Retraite de Galicie 2
Au Front Russe du Sud-Ouest a Tarnopol : 1917
Révolution Russe - Scènes de la Rue, le 11 et le 12 Mars 1917
Books by prof. Grondijs
Les Allemands en Belgique 1914

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