- As I read the posts I am always aware that ethnic definitions are not as clear as they are made out to be. My ancesters, as many others, are a mixture ofMessage 1 of 76 , Jan 26, 2013View SourceAs I read the posts I am always aware that ethnic definitions are not as clear as they are made out to be. My ancesters, as many others, are a mixture of Polish and Ukrainian. One can try to categorize people on ethnic or religious lines, but people do not fit neatly into those categories.
John, you ask "Is there a parallel pride for people who thought of themselves as Ukrainian or Belorussian or Jewish even though they were Polish citizens?"
I wasn't sure if this was a rhetorical question so I thought I'd better answer, just in case.
From my Ukrainian background I can say emphatically, absolutely, yes! Ukrainians have fought hard to maintain their language and culture through centuries of repression by other nations. I really want you to understand that, yes, other nations have just as much pride as Poles do.
You say that "In fact, all the residents of the Kresy were MADE (my emphasis) Polish in 1921 by the Treaty of Riga." But you then say, of your family, "Immigration authorities often LABELLED (my emphasis) them Austrian, Russian or Prussian depending on their place of departure, but they resolutely thought of themselves as Polish."
Can you understand that when Poland acquired Western Ukraine, the Ukrainians saw themselves "labelled" as Polish? They were not "made" Polish anymore than your family was made Austrian, Russian or Prussian by the ever-changing borders.
You propose that: "Ukrainians ... and their heirs and apologists can argue that they were not traitors collaborating with an invading enemy but rather model citizens of an expanded Soviet Union."
I am not an apologist for the crimes of Ukrainians during the war, but I doubt that any Ukrainian was interested in acting the role of a good soviet citizen. Ukrainians suffered terribly under the soviets. They were mostly longing for their own homeland. Does that make them traitors? Does that mean that your family were traitors to the Austrian, Russian and Prussian regimes, because they longed for a Polish homeland? "Traitor" is such a subjective concept.
Like your Polish ancestors, Ukrainians held on to their self-definition through some 700 years when there was no Ukraine on the map. You gotta admire that kind of resilience. I hope you can appreciate that Ukrainians and Poles have much in common, in terms of their quest for liberty and self determination.
People are people, and I am very priveledged and proud to share the heritage of 2 great nations and 2 religions. Categories will always be with us, but they don't capture the variety and diversity of a multicultural population.
> All that being said, I am not sure how to reconcile this approach with pride in my ancestors who held on to their self-definition as Polish through the 123 years of partition when there was no Poland on the map of Europe. Yes, immigration authorities often labelled them Austrian, Russian or Prussian depending on their place of departure, but they resolutely thought of themselves as Polish. Is there a parallel pride for people who thought of themselves as Ukrainian or Belorussian or Jewish even though they were Polish citizens?
> This concept of citizenship and religion (rather than ethnicity or language) in the Kresy is new to me, and I advance it here only as a notion, a sort of work in progress that needs a lot more thought and analysis. I would be grateful for guidance to any sources that have already tackled it.
> One thing that I am very confident about is the central theme of Stefan's message: people are people in every community or group, no matter how you choose to define it. There are heroic ones and there are monsters in every population, and most of us fit somewhere nearer the middle of that spectrum. Trying to define any group by its heroes or monsters would be a monumental mistake and I'm heartened that no one here has moved in that direction.
> John Halucha
> Sault Ste Marie, Canada
- Akcja Wisla uprooted ALL Greek Catholics, not just Lemkos. ... From: Zenon Kuzik To: Kresy-Siberia@yahoogroups.com Sent: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 2:54 AMMessage 76 of 76 , Jan 29, 2013View SourceAkcja Wisla uprooted ALL Greek Catholics, not just Lemkos.----- Original Message -----From: Zenon KuzikSent: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 2:54 AMSubject: Re: [www.Kresy-Siberia.org] Ethnicity vs. citizenshipDear Basia,Point taken about language being organic, but the man in Wroclaw was quite adamant that Polish as spoken in present-day Poland has been bastardised: his subjective opinion.I think that if the Lithuanian lady had a painful experience, she probably allowed that to cloud her judgment regarding the past: subjective emotion distorting objective facts/reality. I am not necessarily condemning her because of this, as we can all be guilty of doing the same - the present writer included!You mentioned the Bieszczady region and the ethnic cleansing that took place there. This was part of what is known as Akcja Wisla which uprooted Lemkos and other Ruthenians/Ukrainians from their ancestral lands. Remember, of course, that this took place during the Communist era, at the behest of Moscow.Interestingly, I knew some Lemko folk who were victims of this tragedy. Yet they did not become anti-Polish as a result. They were aware of the circumstances behind their painful experience and were very friendly towards the Poles they came across in their new land of Australia, and were happy to speak in (non-bastardised!) Polish. I think they could have taught that Lithuanian lady a thing or two! By the way, as those native to Bieszczady were mostly Greek Catholics, and not Orthodox, it would seem more likely that the service you witnessed was led by GC and RC clergy.Your contributions are much appreciated.Zenon KuzikNew Zealand
From: Basia <basia@...>
Sent: Tuesday, 29 January 2013 9:10 PM
Subject: [www.Kresy-Siberia.org] Ethnicity vs. citizenshipDear ZenonLanguage is very "organic" it changes! There are many factors which affect that.In my humble opinion, it is not that language is/was better, just different, evolved,and many factors affect that.Just consider the variants in English around the world.That is a fact, and we tend to cling to what is familiar to us.That too is understandable.The difference in language is significantly noticeable when I speak to younger generation Poles (I am mother in law to a gorgeous "real" Pole, 10 years out of Poland).I speak very reasonable Polish (apparently) and I do hear the "difference" in the younger generation.As for the lady from LithuaniaHer experience is obviously painful, her memories are based on her personal experiences and stories.This why I embrace, to the best of my ability (not always successfully) an openness to learn about/from other cultures before forming cautious opinions.I was in the Bieszczady region of Poland a few years ago, I don't exactly know the facts between the changing borders, but I was, for the first time, seeing evidence of ethnic cleansing, by Poles, which caused me terrible pain.There was an extraordinary process of reconciliation happening when I was (purely by fluke) there. A marvellous service, in a church rebuilt from rubble, officiated at by Roman Catholic and Orthodox priests (bishops or even higher I think) One of the most moving days in my life.It filled me with hope for the human race.Basia Zielinska (Sydney)From: Zenon Kuzik <zenon.kuzik@...>
Date: Mon, 28 Jan 2013 20:16:19 -0800 (PST)
To: "Kresy-Siberia@yahoogroups.com" <Kresy-Siberia@yahoogroups.com>
Subject: Re: [www.Kresy-Siberia.org] Ethnicity vs. citizenshipDear Basia,What a great reply - thank you! Stanislaw from Moscow's contribution certainly gave food for thought as well.Another aspect that "distances" me from modern Poland is that I have come across recent immigrants from that country who are not at all interested in connecting with the older Poles of my parents' generation. They seem to regard them as foreigners! Anyhow, I was heartened when a man in Wroclaw, whose family was originally from Volhynia, said that my father spoke much better Polish than most people in present-day Poland. We multi-ethnics from the former Eastern Poland are the true heirs of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. What a shame that the Lithuanian lady referred to by Dan Ford in his recent post has such a narrow (blinkered?) view of the past.Gratefully,Zenon KuzikAcross the Ditch from Sydney