Stories of two Ukrainians from Zhovkva, Part 1

  The pre-war Zhovkva was the place of inhabitance of three main ethnic groups: Poles, Jews and Ukrainians. In our research we were trying to find people, who were born in Zhovkva before the WW II or who came to the town after the war. From these three ethnic groups of pre-war town we found only representatives of two groups - Poles and Ukrainians. Those Jews, who survived Holocaust migrated to Israel or USA and only few stayed in the town. They already passed away and presently there live children of one of them. In this part I will present transcript of the interview with two Ukrainians - woman and man, who were born and grew up in pre-war town. On the beginning of the war they were teenagers. Both of them lived in the suburban of the town called Vynnyky, which was situated behind the Jewish cemetery, presently city-market. In this part of the town mainly Ukrainians lived and had their church and cemetery. Also there were houses of Poles and Jews. Both respondents went to school in pre-war town in which they studied together with Polish and Jewish children. They witnessed beginning of the war and the rule of Soviets and Nazis, destruction of the local Jews. Both had an experience of deportation and forced labour. He was ostarbeiter in Germany, then taken to Soviet army and forced to work in Germany and then in different parts of the Soviet Union and only after several years he managed to return to his town. She was sent to Siberia together with her husband and her family. The relatives of both respondents became members of the Ukrainian Uprising Army and, thus Soviet authorities deported their families to Siberia. The respondent together with other people who were in prison in Lviv and who survived the trip were located in the Komsomolsk-on-Amur region. There people from Western Ukraine were trying to survive the harsh conditions and hard labour by keeping together. They were trying to create the copy of their home and during several years they managed to build themselves a houses and plant gardens. History of these two people it is not only history of one place - their home town, but history of many places which are united into the network of places people from average Galician town visited, usually unwillingly during and after the Second World War. Places where they had to accommodate themselves, to find friendly people, who would help them to survive harsh conditions and then safely return home. Some of my respondents not only were ostarbeiters in Nazi Germany, but after their return were sent by Soviets to Siberia. The woman managed to avoid being sent to Germany, but did not deportation to Siberia. Return to their home town after deportations was very complicated. Their houses Soviet authorities gave to someone else and they had to look for new and start from the beginning. Both woman and man presently live in other parts of the town - woman in the part, where before the war were gardens and after the war Ukrainians, who were deported from Poland build their houses. Man lives on one of the main streets, where in pre-war period mainly Poles and Jews lived.   Remarks: It is important to be aware that respondents use pre-war terminology when they are talking about the people of various nationalities who lived in pre-war Zhovkva. Particularly respondents called Jews as "Zhydy", what is pre-war name for Jews and respondents did not perceive this term as offensive. One of the respondents when I asked about Jews in the town using contemporary term "Yevrei" replied that "this term was introduced by Soviets and traditionally we called them Zhydy and it was not offensive". In order to gain confidence of interviewees I started to use similar terminology when doing interviews, which does not have pejorative meaning.   The transcripts of the interviews are placed in attachment and due to technical reasons interview with woman is placed in that post and with man in the next post. In the document with interviews one can find photos given by respondents.      

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Ein Förderprogramm der Stiftung Erinnerung Verantwortung Zukunft