The Forced Relocation of Poland’s Ukrainians after World War II
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of Wisconsin Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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Although I begin the story of Scattered’s main characters, the Pyrtej family, at the moment when the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, the Pyrtejs’ experience with forced relocation was primarily the result of a different conflict: the long-standing discord between Poles and Ukrainians in the region. ...
Prologue: The Realization
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What do you mean, the Polish government kicked you out of your home?” I asked my mother when I was a teenager. I cannot recall exactly how old I was or how this conversation with my mother even started. But I remember standing in the kitchen of our comfortable suburban house in upscale Wilton, Connecticut, ...
1. Caught on the Battlefield of World War II
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The German military convoy began to roll through the Lemko region in southern Poland during the first days of September 1939. Melania Pyrtej was watching over her family’s cows as they grazed in a nearby pasture when the brown-haired seventeen-year-old saw Nazis riding by her village. ...
2. The Reality of the Soviet-Polish Population Exchange
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The Pyrtej household marked the holiday on December 25, 1944, with a quiet dinner—their Greek Catholic Christmas would be two weeks later, according to the Julian calendar—and then went to bed. A few hours later, their neighbor, Andriy Smereczniak, pounded on their door and woke them up, yelling that the Germans still stationed in Smerekowiec were retreating. ...
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3. Operation Vistula: The Solution to the “Ukrainian Problem”
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Melania was sitting on the edge of her bed in Smerekowiec one warm August night in 1946, saying her evening prayers before climbing underneath the covers, when pounding on the window outside startled her. Almost three months pregnant with her second child, Melania was the only adult at home and was watching over baby Nadia and ten-year-old Hania. ...
4. Prisoners in the Central Labor Camp in Jaworzno
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The Polish army and secret police had clear orders to arrest any Ukrainian civilians whom they suspected of assisting the UPA. General Mossor’s special operational group, GO Wisła, gave them detailed instructions to compile lists of any “hostile and uncertain elements” among the Ukrainians. ...
5. A New Home in the Recovered Territories?
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Standing outside the Nowa Sól train station that July 1947, waiting to be led to their new village, the Pyrtej family learned that any relocated Ukrainians who did not own a horse-drawn wagon would be driven in army trucks. The Polish officials assigned two trucks to drive to Troska, where less than a dozen families from Smerekowiec, including the Pyrtej family, were being relocated. ...
Epilogue: The “Compensation”
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More than fifty years after Operation Vistula, Hania began to hear talk about how Ukrainians in Poland could apply to the courts to reclaim ownership of the property from which their families had been evicted. Hania, already in her midsixties, was visiting a friend in Zielona Góra after church one Sunday ...
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I am grateful, first of all, to the staff of the Polish-U.S. Fulbright Commission and specifically to its executive director, Andrzej Dakowski, who believed in my project to interview the survivors of Operation Vistula, setting me on the path to ultimately write this book. ...
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Page Count: 144
Illustrations: 37 b/w illus., 5 maps
Publication Year: 2013