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Female, born 1932

Collection: Social Anthropology of filling the Void: Poland and Ukraine after World War II

Oral stories

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An interview with a native and permanent resident of the town Tovste, now Zalishchyky district of Ternopil oblast. The interviewee comes from an Ukrainian-Polish family (grandfather, Polish by nationality, has come to the village during the construction of the railway and married a local Ukrainian girl), where both Polish and Ukrainian religious holidays were celebrated. Although the woman was born to an Ukrainian-Polish family, he emphasizes that she attended a Ukrainian school and Greek Catholic church. All relatives-Poles were evicted to Poland in 1946. Memories of the pre-war and war years are faint. Fragmentary are the memories of teachers in times of the first Soviet government and German occupation, older Jewish and Polish population, a street in Tovste where the Jews lived, Germans shooting Jews on the village cemetery, a Jewish woman rescued by the Polish one, the bombing of the railway and the destroyal of part of the town during the war. The woman names Ukrainian neighbours-friends; the only Polish girl she was friends with moved to Poland. The woman doesn’t recall any Jewish friends. The focus of the interview is shifted towards the post-war life of the narrator at the end of 1940ies and 1950ies: financial situation, mother’s work in the collective farm and not wishing such fate for her daughter, working in the financial department of the district, repressions and evictions, the practices of writing the “correct Curriculum Vitae”, everyday life, social sphere, medicine. The narrator tells in detail about the Soviet anti-religious policy in the 1950ies and religious practices in the underground, her secret marriage in 1951, and the baptism of the children in particular. A leitmotif recurring in the conversation in the pain from loss of her father, repressed in 1941 during the retreat of the Soviet government, and thus the regret over the inability to study as she wished to because of the need to help her single mother and permanent financial hardship.
Recorded in Tovste. The interviewer – Anna Chebotariova.
Social Anthropology of filling the Void: Poland and Ukraine after World War II
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