This is the introduction to Stalin's Ethnic Cleansing, explaining the background of the military settlements.
THE FORTUNES OF THE MILITARY SETTLERS DURING 1939-45
Osada Krechowiecka, District Równe
The military settlers came to the East Borderland in spring 1921 and with the determination of soldiers began the daunting work on the land given them as reward for their fight for Poland's independence in the years of the 1st World War. The legal base for giving land to the soldiers was the act of Sejm (Polish Parliament) of 17 December 1920. The idea behind the soldiers' settlement in the eastern part of the country was to increase the number of Polish people in those territories where the Ukrainian and Byelorussian population prevailed. Soldiers were expected to take part in the economic and cultural life of those backward provinces and to boost modern methods of farming. Their accomplishment over 18 years was considerable. On their farms they introduced new methods of agriculture, popularised the co-operative idea, encouraged the growth of farmers' associations and also took an active role in the agricultural and social affairs of their region. This involvement in local concerns drew the military settlers closer to their Ukrainian and Byelorussian neighbours so obliterating the initial prejudice generated in many cases by the tensions of Borderland politics. Ukrainian and Byelorussian peasants copied the settlers' farming methods and benefited from their help and advice, although - under pressure from their nationalistic organisations - they could not forget that the settlers had been apportioned land which they themselves had hoped to acquire. Actually large parts of the land given to the soldiers were no man's land, which belonged previously to the tsar's family, the Russian government and Russian landlords. This was supplemented by land taken away from Polish landlords in the framework of land reform.
This process of military settlement was stopped after two years in 1923 but throughout the period between the two wars, in those territories which came within the ambit of land reform, civilian settlement by purchase was available. This policy of strengthening the Polish element in the East Borderlands, especially during the thirties, whereby land was sold to Polish settlers, came up against very serious criticism from the Ukrainian and Byelorussian political parties. Their representation in the Sejm spoke against the policy.
The entry of the Red Army into the eastern territories of the Polish Republic on 17th September 1939 and the Soviet-Germany treaty which divided Poland between those two countries was the start of a tragic chapter in the history of the Borderland military settlement.
>> Date: Mon, 31 May 2004 08:42:40 EDT
> From: Eve5J@...
> Subject: Re: Calling all Osadnicy! (Were your grandparents osadniks?)
> Hi Elzunia and Group-
> Before I begin with this, please excuse my Polish tenses and spelling. Let's
> state for the record now that the definition of osada is settlement. An
> osadnik was a settler. I am glad you brought this up to the list because it was
> at the tip of my tongue/fingers to do so. The osadi (settlements) and where
> they were physically located is now being recreated by us. My family did not
> refer to their place of residence as an osada, but I submit that it was an osada
> nonetheless. With a name like Hallerczyn, how could it not have been? My
> aunt who was born in 1919 (not in the osada) called our family
> I will never forget when our group moderator, Stefan, and I found eachother
> and began corresponding. This was pre-Kresy Group when we were trying to
> figure things out, and there weren't too many of us out there. Both Stefan's
> family and also my own were from other parts of Poland pre-World War I.
> Practically all of we Kresyites are from other areas of Poland originally, aren't we?.
> We were trying to figure out just what made our families move from Poland
> proper to the Kresy area. I said, "In the USA in pioneering times there was such
> a thing as 40 acres and a mule." This meant that settlers/pioneers who made
> it to the West USA, were awarded 40 acres and a mule. It was a contest and
> race actually, but we are talking Poland here and not the USA.
> Well, in actuality, this is what happened in Eastern Poland, Kresy. Some men
> were awarded land for their service in the Polish-Soviet War. Others
> purchased their land outright like Stefan's grandfather and my grandparents did.
> The osadi/settlements was the idea of Pilsudski, but the Eastern border of
> Poland was long, and I say now, practically, if not totally, indefensible. The
> osadniks were granted or bought their land and everything else was up to them.
> In other words, they were not assisted in any way, so they had to build
> everything and start from scratch as pioneers. Maybe they were given a couple of
> guns, but don't quote me on that. Some osadas performed military functions,
> i.e., sometimes the men would have a military presentation or parade on
> horseback, but I don't think the majority did this, and if so, it was not on a
> regular basis but only for special occasions.
> By the way, all osadi/settlements were smack on the border (or practically on
> the border) with the USSR. Their purpose was perhaps one of border protection
> and to try and spread the Polish way of life. As I wrote before though, this
> was really not done and could really not be done.
> Stefan's family, my family, Barb Kwietniowski's family, Wladek Gancarz and
> his family, and many others hailed from Tarnopol woj. (woj. is State in the US
> and province elsewhere). There is very small representation of the Southern
> woj. of Kresy: Tarnopol, Stanislawow, etc. in any discussion or mention of
> osada, but they were there! The osada usually, but not always, had patriotic
> names such as Hallerczyn. This was after Gen. Haller of World War I fame. Stefan
> and Barb's osada was called Warszawska after Warsaw, of course. Wladek's was
> called Rzeszowianka (this is wrong, but I know that Wladek's osada was named
> after the Polish city, Rzeszow).
> If your family lived in a place
> 1. that (USUALLY) had a patriotic-sounding name
> 2. that was on the Polish-Russian border or very close to the border
> chances are your family lived in an osada too. Michael Kulik wrote me a
> while ago and said that there were over 300 (200?) osada/settlements in Kresy?
> Eve Jankowicz
> PS Jan, you can email Veritas to find out the price of Stalin's Ethnic
> Cleansing. I thought the price of the book was included at the website, but I see
> that it is not. http://www.stalinsethniccleansing.com/
WebMail från Tele2 http://www.tele2.se