<<<Perhaps one day, we can organise an archeological expedition to the
Ukraine and Belarus for the grandchildren to regain their ancestral
issue is that in most cases, the Polish settlements were eradicated. I
have been told that a military airfield was built on our Osada! One of
ambitions is still to visit the old family lands - for nostalgic reasons
more than anything else - even though some others have warned me that
the visit will result in looking at an empty field.
Can it be true that there are no traces left of our Polish families
after centuries of their living in these lands? Has anybody got
stories of visiting the old Kresy homelands and finding homesteads
family tombstones in cemeteries?
I went to Rowne a few years ago. On a humanitarian aid trip from
Sweden,a bus loaded with clothes and food etc heading for Kiev so we
stopped in Rivno
(former Rowne) on the way, stayed overnight at the Catholic Church there
and the priest took me out to the osada (Osada Krechowiecka).
It's quite amazing because out of 134 houses, a school, church and
medical centre - the only building left standing - is my mother's!! it
was on top of a big hill, very windy. They have built a pig-farm on the
site of the Church! The land was just being used for grazing cattle. We
talked to the old Ukranian woman who was living in 2 rooms of the house
(very poor, but she did have a couple of tv's! which she couldn't watch
cos the electricity was off.) After the war she had been forced into
moving from Poland back to Ukraine by the Russians, they wanted to keep
people in the "right" areas. She said that she would have been better
off if she'd stayed in Poland.
I was only there for a short time. Unfortunately my camera was acting up
so didn't get any photos there - but luckily my mother and her brother
had also been there a year earlier and video-filmed it. The priest said
that no one was cultivating the land because they didn't know who the
land belonged to now, nor did they have the necessary tools or seeds or
machinery, or spare parts to fix what little they did have. This is
really a shame and a waste considering that the soil around there is
very fertile, in a country of starving people!
So yes, Stefan you most likely would be "looking at an empty field".
Before I went to Ukraine I was given many warnings about the thieves and
all the criminality there - dress simply,take off jewelry and expensive
watches etc etc! Don't travel alone...hide your cash in different
places.... But when I was there, we managed to survive without any nasty
experiences, didn't see any either. Driving flashy cars is rather an
invitation of course, my Mother was going to a wedding and had an
English wedding cake with her - which was stolen (both the car and the
cake which had been packed into a video carton!)
I don't know if Polish people are being persecuted in present-day
Ukraine, they have quite a large, active Polish community in Rivno -
with a Polish church and a Polish school. The Church is being renovated
during the communist years it had been used as a factory and a sports
hall among other things.
There is of course a whole lot more I could say about this trip but this
is getting long already. It was certainly an "experience" - but maybe
the worse 10 days of my life: we were constantly hungry and cold, water
and electricity were only available certain hours of the day - imagine
getting up in the morning to a freezing cold, dark room, with no water
to brush your teeth or flush the toilet!!
(Sorry Eve Jankowicz for not writing back to you - I'm really not
ignoring you, it's just lack of time.)
This is maybe a good time to remind you all - MAKE BACK-UPS of all your
research!! often! I changed computers before Christmas and still have
not been able to copy all my old files onto the new one. Really
frustrating not being able to get at 5-6 years of work!