Gallery 1. Polish Borderlands
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Interwar Borderlands (1918-39)
- The end of WW1 in 1918 saw the birth of the Second Republic of Poland, along with its multi-ethnic “Kresy” or eastern Borderlands.
- The Treaty of Riga in 1921 set Poland’s eastern borders. Citizenship encompassed Poles and a mix of national and ethnic groups – Ruthenian/Ukrainians, Belorussians, and Jews.
- Wilno was a beautiful city in the North with a predominantly Polish and Jewish population. Lwow was a classical European city in the South, rich in Polish culture, commerce and intellectual life.
- The Jewish community was the third largest in each region, concentrated in the cities, towns and shtetls.
- Polish families also lived in villages and in manor houses – many of the former “szlachta” or landed gentry.
- The new Polish government introduced its civilian administration of postal workers, policemen, foresters and administrators.
- From 1920, war medal recipients and war veterans were given or assisted in purchasing land in the Borderlands. Often this was near local Ukrainian and Belarussian villages or Jewish shtetls.
- The terrorist actions of local nationalist groups threatened the peace. The Border Protection Corps was established, stationed along the eastern frontier vigilantly guarding the borders.
- Tensions with its neighbours in the late 1930s forced the Polish government to mobilize its men in the later summer of 1939.
Aristocractic home of the Januszewicz family in Wilno, Kresy before WW2. Source: Halina (Januszewicz) Kozlowska. Janina Poplawska, Wilno, before WW2. Wilno railway station. Family on holiday in Poland, before WW2. Kresy Countryside Krzemieniec before WW2 Multi Ethnic Grodno Osada Krechowiecka Photographs TestimoniesInterwar Borderlands (1918-39) - the script for the audio narration
Gorczynska family walking on the promenade in Lwow, before WW2.Map of Poland 1921-1939. Kresy comprised voivodships : Wilno, Nowogrodek, Polesie, Wolyn, Tarnopol, Stanislawow and Lwow
Official in Ministry of Interior, 2nd Republic of Poland