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Scattered: The Forced Relocation of Poland's Ukrainians After World War IIby Diana Howansky Reilly
Synopses & Reviews
One of twelve children in a close-knit, affluent Catholic Belgian family, Jan Vansina began life in a seemingly sheltered environment. But that cocoon was soon pierced by the escalating tensions and violence that gripped Europe in the 1930s and 1940s. In this book Vansina recalls his boyhood and youth in Antwerp, Bruges, and the Flemish countryside as the country was rocked by waves of economic depression, fascism, competing nationalisms, and the occupation of first Axis and then Allied forces.
and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; Within the vast literature on World War II, a much smaller body of work treats the everyday experiences of civilians, particularly in smaller countries drawn into the conflict. Recalling the war in Belgium from a childand#8217;s-eye perspective, Vansina describes pangs of hunger so great as to make him crave the bitter taste of cod-liver oil. He vividly remembers the shock of seeing severely wounded men on the grounds of a field hospital, the dangers of crossing fields and swimming in ponds strafed by planes, and his familyand#8217;s interactions with occupying and escaping soldiers from both sides. After the war he recalls emerging numb from the cinema where he first saw the footage of the Nazi death camps, and he describes a new phase of unrest marked by looting, vigilante justice, and the countryand#8217;s efforts at reunification.
and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160;and#160; Vansina, a historian and anthropologist best known for his insights into oral tradition and social memory, draws on his own memories and those of his siblings to reconstruct daily life in Belgium during a tumultuous era.
Following World War II, the communist government of Poland forcibly relocated the country's Ukrainian minority by means of a Soviet-Polish population exchange and then a secretly planned action code-named Operation Vistula. In Scattered, Diana Howansky Reilly recounts these events through the experiences of three siblings caught up in the conflict, during a turbulent period when compulsory resettlement was a common political tactic used against national minorities to create homogenous states.
Born in the Lemko region of southeastern Poland, Petro, Melania, and Hania Pyrtej survived World War II only to be separated by political decisions over which they had no control. Petro relocated with his wife to Soviet Ukraine during the population exchange of 1944–46, while his sisters Melania and Hania were resettled to western Poland through Operation Vistula in 1947. As the Ukrainian Insurgent Army fought resettlement, the Polish government meanwhile imprisoned suspected sympathizers within the Jaworzno concentration camp. Melania, Reilly's maternal grandmother, eventually found her way to the United States during Poland's period of liberalization in the 1960s.
Drawing on oral interviews and archival research, Reilly tells a fascinating, true story that provides a bottom-up perspective and illustrates the impact of extraordinary historical events on the lives of ordinary people. Tracing the story to the present, she describes survivors' efforts to receive compensation for the destruction of their homes and communities.
Vansina, a historian and anthropologist best known for his insights into oral tradition and social memory, draws on his own memories and those of his siblings to reconstruct daily life in Belgium during World War II.
About the Author
Diana Howansky Reilly has master's degrees from Johns Hopkins University, in international affairs, and from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. She lives in Connecticut.
Table of Contents
Note on Transliteration
Prologue: The Realization
Caught on the Battlefield of World War II
The Reality of the Soviet-Polish Population Exchange
Operation Vistula: The Solution to the "Ukrainian Problem"
Prisoners in the Central Labor Camp in Jaworzno
A New Home in the Recovered Territories?
Epilogue: The "Compensation"
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History and Social Science » Military » World War II » General