Back then the term "Polish" covered two things:
1. ETHNIC POLES whose mother tongue and customs were Polish and who were
almost all Roman Catholic. Their religion had extra meaning for them as
showing they belonged to the culture of Western Europe rather than
identifying with Russians and Ukrainians. According to my husband,
Aleksander Topolski who grew up in Horodenka (in southern Kresy), most of
the Poles -- apart from those veterans and their families given land grants
in newer settlements, eg in Belarus -- lived in the cities. Although they
may have been not much more than 10 per cent of the local population, the
small number of ethnic Poles included many of the intellectuals,
professionals and administrators in their towns and cities. In the
countryside around Horodenka, he says, virtually all the people who worked
the land were Ukrainian.
2. POLISH CITIZENS included everyone in the unified country of Poland
which was reborn after the Second World War. For over 200 years the Kresy
lands had been ruled by the Russians and the majority of the indigenous
population was either Bielorussian or Ukrainian. Until religious expression
was squelched by the Communists, these people belonged to the Orthodox
Church. As well there was a sizeable number of Jewish people in the Kresy
lands. Aleks says that at his high school about one third of the students
were Jewish, who also tended to gravitate to the bigger towns and cities.
In Eastern Europe, a distinction was made between CITIZENSHIP and
NATIONALITY (what today we would call ethnicity). People could be Polish
Citizens while their "nationality" was Ukrainian, Jewish, Lithuanian, or
whatever. Stalin told Anders that only those with Polish nationality were
allowed to join the Polish army he was forming. But Anders vowed to accept
all Polish citizens regardless of their "nationality" and so, for example,
the army included quite a few Polish Jews.
This differentiation between citizenship and nationality was hard for me
(born in Canada) to grasp because we tend to use the two terms
Hope this helps you a bit to make sense of what was said.
>From: "jwinnik51 <jwinnik51@...>" Subject: [Kresy-Siberia] re
>Polish in Ukraine
>Date: Sun, 05 Jan 2003 13:43:00 -0000
>sort of got stuck when a woman told me that any Polish in Eastern
>Poland till 1939 were really all Ukraines in the first place and
>that the reason they said they were Polish was simply that Poland
>took the land from them in 1918,
>she also said that Stalin had said to send all the Ukraine to
>Siberia , so did she mean Polish /Ukraines ?
>then she said only Polish were RC and Ukraines Greek Chatholic , can
>anyone tell me what she is trying to say ,
>so still trying to work out this as seems she has condradicted
>herself ever so slighty,
>as Lwow seems to me to be close to poland it wouldnt be too hard to
>work out where they came from ,
>I do understand whats she is saying , but what does it take to be
>thought as Polish ?
The new MSN 8 is here: Try it free* for 2 months