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The Chinese Connection

July 2024
1min read

In June of 1900 a long-brewing storm burst over the cluster of foreign legations in Peking. Frightened by the increasing agitation of the antiforeign Boxers, the diplomats had called for legation guards to be sent up from Tientsin; their arrival helped bring on the crisis. Soon a tiny force was under siege in the British legation.

The response was an example of the kind of international cooperation that would not extend very far into the new century: a relief force of British, Japanese, French, German, Italian, Russian, American, and Austrian soldiers set out from Tientsin together to lift the siege.

Marching with them as liaison between the Germans and American troops was a young U.S. soldier named Andrew Koslowski, whose family had emigrated from Germany to Syracuse, New York, in 1883. Here they had continued to speak German at home, and so Andrew—the one in the widebrimmed campaign hat—was wellsuited to his role. His niece, Shirley Veen of San Jose, California, who sent us this picture of him with his comradesin-arms, writes: “From the photo it would appear that communication with the German troops was not confined to military matters. The two Chinese are probably Christians sympathetic to the West. But is the man in the fur hat aRussian? And what nation sent the swashbuckler on the left?” And what are they celebrating? Perhaps the relief of Peking, which they finally brought about after eight hard-fought weeks.

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