Owing to the financial support of the Chancellery of the Senate of the Republic of Poland, the KARTA Centre and the History Meeting House have been implementing the KARTA with the Poles in the East Project since 2006. The aim of the project is to document the fates of the Poles living behind Poland’s eastern border. During the trips which we have organized we reached some people who lived in the Second Polish Republic before the outbreak of World War II but decided not go to Poland in her new borders after the war, for various reasons, and remained in their homeland. We also managed to get to some places located outside the borders of the Second Polish Republic in the interwar period, such as Kamianets Podilskyi (in Polish Kamieniec Podolski), Chernivtsi (Czerniowce), Fastiv (Fastów), Zhytomyr (Żytomierz), and Mazyr (Mozyr) which had large Polish populations at that time. Two separate trips were organized to document the fates of the Poles deported to Siberia (Tomsk area) and Kazakhstan as a result of Stalinist repressions.

May 2007, Braslaw.

In the church courtyard Magdalena Kwiecińska (left) and Magdalena Stopa make an appointment for an interview with Jadwiga Sadowska.

Photo: Dominik Czapigo

During a dozen trips or so we visited Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine, Russia and Kazakhstan. During our meetings with our interlocutors we became convinced about the exceptional and complex nature of the category of Polishness. The term Poles in the East appearing in the title of this site is not intended to divide the members of the communities which we have visited by the nationality criterion. Self-identifications of the people who have been recorded were often so complex that any attempts to identify them only by reference to the category of nationality turned out to be insufficient. No matter how the interlocutors identified their national identity, we hoped they would bring the 20th century history, which they participated in, closer to us.

May 2008, Chernivtsi

Leopold Kałakajło with Piotr Filipkowski describes photos scanned from family albums.

Photo: Dominik Czapigo

The recorded interviews are part of the trend of documenting the past described as oral history. We did not use any pre-defined closed set of questions. However, we tried to record the fullest life stories told by the interviewed people in their own language. Like in all other projects implemented by the KARTA Centre we focused on personal biographic experiences.

The site polacynawschodzie.pl – modernized in 2021 thanks to a grant from the National Humanities Development Program – presents the stories of the interviewed people recorded under the project. Each of them has a biogram – we also try to attach selected sound excerpts of interviews and provide transcriptions of the recordings. We also include archive records obtained during the meetings, such as family photographs and documents. All the recorded interviews are available at the History Meeting House, where they can be heard through in full.

September 2008, Bila near Chortkiv

In front of Maria Witwicka's interviewee’s house.

Photo: Dominik Czapigo

We extend our thanks to all the recorded persons, as this site would have never been created without them. The world remembered by our interlocutors irreversibly belongs to the past. These people have remained as its last eye-witnesses. By recording their recollections we wanted to preserve this remembrance for the future generations.

Translated by Aneta Dylewska

people involved

interviews recorded by

Maciej Boral

Magdalena Bożyk

Michał Bronowicki

Maria Buczyło

Dominik Czapigo

Anna Czyżewska

Magdalena Derezińska-Osiecka

Piotr Filipkowski

Jakub Gałęziowski

Tomasz Gleb

Michał Górski

Stefan Hejnowicz

Ignacy Jóźwiak

Artur Jóźwik

Grzegorz Kaczorowski

Katarzyna Kaczyńska

Adam Kaczyński

Łukasz Kamiński

Sergiusz Kazimierczuk

Anna Kindziuk

Agnieszka Knyt

Joanna Komperda

Agnieszka Kozłowska

Magdalena Kwiecińska

Katarzyna Madoń-Mitzner

Anna Maciąg

Anna Maculewicz

Michał Maleszka

Maciej Melon

Hanna Nowicka

Jakub Osiecki

Michał Osypowicz

Jarosław Pałka

Anna Piłat

Konrad Pruszyński

Marcin Sanetra

Mateusz Sidor

Robert Sobol

Magdalena Stopa

Zofia Stopa

Alina Szamruchiewicz

Joanna Urbanek

Ewa Wołkanowska

Anna Wylegała

Karolina Żłobecka

people involved in preparing the site

Hanna Antos

Sławomir Cebula

Dominik Czapigo

Mateusz Czapigo

Aneta Dylewska

Maciej Kamiński

Adriana Kapała

Agnieszka Kozłowska

Tomasz Kubaczyk

Karolina Anna Kuta

Maciej Melon

Dorota Pazio-Wlazłowska

Robert Radecki

Anna Richter

Tomasz Szwąder

Magda Szymańska

Elena Śliwińska

Anna Wylegała

collection inventory