Yes indeed, I just returned from a visit to Poland and Ukraine,
including Wislica (70 km NE of Krakow) where our dziadek Franciszek
Polewski was born (emigrated to Gary, IN in 1913), and the area
around Szubkow and Tuczyn (sorry about the Polish spellings, but I
can't write in Ukrainian) where the settlements Krechowiecka and
Hallerowo were founded after the Peace of Riga that ended the Polish-
Soviet War. It was an enjoyable and interesting trip, made all the
more so in Ukraine by our guide, Slav Tsarynnyk
, who was excellent. Without Slav to
guide us, the trip would have been quite difficult.
Much has changed in this area since my mother's family
was "resettled" on 10 February 1940, but there are a few buildings
that remain from the Polish era. Most instructive for me was to see
and understand how the Armia Polska veteran settlers started with a
small allotment of land, built homes and barns, and raised families
in a rural area without electricity or plumbing. After the
Polish "enemies of the state" were moved, local Ukrainians occupied
the farms, or dismantled the buildings to reuse the materials. Post-
WWII, all of Ukraine's farmland was collectivized, and many buildings
remain from the collective farm period, but they're mostly abandoned
Initially, my mother had difficulty recognizing the landmarks, but
after introduction to Mr. Alexander Vinitiuk, 81 years-old, living in
Szubkow, and who remembered my mother, we were taken directly to the
area of Osada Hallerowo to see what remained. My mother finally
stood, in the 21st century, on the land farmed by her father from
1924-1940. No fanfare, but psychologically momentous nonetheless.
If you know where your Kresy ancestors lived, I highly recommend the
trip. Rural Ukraine's standard of living is much lower than the rest
of western Europe, but it's therefore a bargain for tourists.
I'll post a few of the hundreds of digipix that I took.
Andy (Andrzej Polewski) Bender
San Jose, CA.
--- In Kresy-Siberia@yahoogroups.com
, "Michael Kulik"
> Dear Group,
> I am sure that he will post details himself shortly, so just a
> note to advise that fellow member Andy Bender (from USA) recently
> completed a very fruitful and successful return in search of his
> family roots - in doing so, he was joined by his mother (Halina nee
> Polewski) who also returned for the first time since 10/2/1940.
> The guide used by Andy (and by myself in 2004) has just sent me a
> photos from the trip and again these confirm that, with the help of
> locals, it is possible to search out buildings and former dwellings
> surviving from 1940 - structures, formerly inhabited by Poles prior
> to deportation and previously thought, as many Osada's were, to
> all been demolished. One such photo is the farm house of the
> Bronowiecki family, formerly of Osada Hallerowo - wonder where
> descendants are now?
> If any members from this area would like to correspond with a
> villager from the area, I have his address should anyone wish to do
> Michael Kulik