Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Lemko Research Project Underway: Call for Research Participants

The Lemko Oral History Project seeks to preserve the oral histories of Lemkos who experienced the post-World War II expulsion campaigns that resulted in the destruction of their settlements in Southeast Poland. Specifically, we are interested in interviewing Lemkos who experienced the expulsion actions of 1944-1947 (including "Akcja Wisla," also known as "Operation Vistula.") Results of the study will be used to create an oral history research collection.

Family from Koroleva Ruska in the Western Lemko Region
In order to obtain and preserve firsthand perspectives of the events, the research team 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 1944-1946, 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 affecting 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 digital 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;

The oral history research project will be ongoing indefinitely; however, the research team would like to receive as many leads as possible prior to December 31, 2011. Please call us at (703) 987-0592 or email the project manager at wengryn@yahoo.com.

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