Saturday, June 14, 2014

Lemkos In Their Own Words: The Post-World War II Deportations (1944-1947)

SPEAKER: Corinna Wengryn Caudill
WHEN: Wednesday, June 25, 2014, 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Room 4130 Wesley Posvar Hall 
[formerly Forbes Quadrangle] 
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
COST: Admission is Free!

In the fall of 1944, the Soviet Union and their Polish communist cohorts began a population-exchange campaign that mandated the removal of Poland’s Ukrainian minority. What began under the guise of “voluntary” relocations soon escalated into terror and state-sponsored ethnic cleansing, fueling resistance from the rapidly expanding Ukrainian underground.  In the process, the unique regional culture of the Lemkos, who had inhabited the Carpathian mountains for centuries, was virtually destroyed in its original autochthonous form.

From 2010-2013, independent researchers Corinna Wengryn Caudill and Richard Garbera Trojanowski interviewed ethnic Lemkos currently living in North America, Ukraine and Poland who experienced the deportation campaigns, including people who were deported to Soviet Ukraine during 1944-1946, as well as those who were deported to Poland’s “Recovered Territories” during the 1947 “Akcja Wisła" operation. On Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 6:30 p.m., Ms. Caudill will present a multimedia presentation featuring English-captioned film segments from the interviews. The first part of the presentation will focus on the experiences of Lemkos who were resettled to Soviet Ukraine between 1944-1946, and how the so-called “voluntary” resettlement program quickly evolved into a forced deportation campaign. The second part will focus on the 1947 resettlement operation known as “Akcja Wisła,” the final and most comprehensive campaign to deport the remainder of Poland’s Ukrainian population from their historic settlement territories. She will discuss: (1) the motivations and tactics used by the Polish government to resettle and disperse those who were deported; (2) the Lemkos’ experiences before, during, and after resettlement; and (3) the aftermath and impact of these events on the people who experienced them as well as common historical misconceptions about the nature of the resettlements. The presentation will be followed by a discussion and Q&A session with the audience.

SPONSORED BY: Ukrainian Cultural and Humanitarian Institute (UCHI), University of Pittsburgh Center for Russian and Eastern European Studies (REES) and the Pittsburgh-Donetsk Sister Cities Committee.

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