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Lemko Oral History Project Underway

Lemko Oral History Project Underway:

Call for Research Participants
Carpatho-Rusyn Society Oral History Research Committee

“It is important to hear these stories while my generation is still here to talk about it.”
-Mrs. Anna S., 88, Operation Vistula Expellee

“A people which is able to say everything becomes able to do everything.”
–Napoleon Bonaparte

The Carpatho-Rusyn Society’s Oral History Research Committee seeks to preserve the oral histories and artifacts of the Lemko people, and to explore the post-World War II expulsion campaigns that resulted in the destruction of their settlements in Southeast Poland.

In order to obtain and preserve firsthand perspectives of the events, C-RS is conducting extensive fieldwork, including recorded interviews with eyewitnesses in North America, Ukraine and Poland. The research team is seeking individuals to participate in the study who meet one or more of the following criteria:

  1. Lemkos who recall life in their villages before or during World War II;
  2. Lemkos who experienced the post-World War II expulsions from their homeland, and who were resettled in either Soviet Ukraine from 1945-1946, or in Western Poland (former German territories) in 1947 (Operation Vistula/Akcja Wisla.);
  3. Lemkos who were displaced in Allied-occupied Germany during the time of the expulsions in the Lemko region, and who became separated from their relatives as a result;
  4. Former members of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) who witnessed or had knowledge of the expulsion operations of Lemkos;
  5. Polish civilians who lived in the Lemko region at the time of the expulsions and bore witness to these events; and
  6. Others with relevant, first-hand information about the events.

In addition to locating and interviewing subject participants, the research team is interested in procuring the following types of artifacts:

  1. Photographs (originals or reproductions) from the Lemko region, especially prior to Operation Vistula (“Akcja Wisla” 1947);
  2. Letters between expelled Lemkos and their relatives in North America or elsewhere;
  3. Lemko clothing and costumes (original and artisan reproductions); and
  4. Other Lemko artifacts, such as rare literature, paintings, carvings, etc.

The oral history research project will be ongoing indefinitely; however, the committee would like to receive as many leads as possible prior to July 31, 2011 to prepare for fieldwork in Ukraine and Poland this fall.

How To Help: The committee is seeking volunteers with various skill sets to assist with interviews, transcription, and other duties. We are also accepting monetary contributions, which will be used to procure and preserve oral histories and artifacts. If you are interested in volunteering or in making a tax-deductible donation to the project, please email us at history@c-rs.org.

Click here to read more (pdf)



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