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A Soldier’s Room Has Remained Virtually Untouched Since WWI

The home’s current owner, however, says he feels little connection to the dead soldier

smithsonian.com

In the village of Belabre, France, about two hours southwest of Paris, a centuries-old home contains a room frozen in time. Hubert Rochereau, a young French soldier, was deployed to the Belgian battlefield during World War I and never returned home, the BBC reports. To honor their fallen son, his parents included a request in their home's deed: to keep Hubert's bedroom exactly as he had left it for the next 500 years. 

Hubert was just 21 when he died in 1918, and his bedroom reflects his young age. His shelves are filled with books of an early 20th century high school—grammar manuals and surveys of great French literary works. His bed, a tiny twin, is covered by "an old-fashioned crochet coverlet . . . something a mother would tuck in around her child," the BBC writes. Other possessions include Hubert's gun, knife and hand-rolled cigarettes.

The home's current owner, no relation to Hubert's family, has respected their wish to keep the room almost exactly as Hubert left it. He says he can't relate to that long-dead young man: "He was young, a military officer, and I imagine him to be quite provincial, perhaps even narrow-minded," he told the BBC. "But it's part of the history of the house, so I keep it."

His daughter—set to inherit the house—has agreed to keep the room as it is, too. 

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