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Number of people deported during “Operation Vistula” (Akcja “Wisła”)

 “Operation Vistula” or Akcja “Wisła” in Polish, was a 1947 operation conducted by the Polish communist government and Soviet authorities that forcibly re-settled ethnic minorities of south-east Poland to territories gained from Germany as a result of the Second World War.

In total, nearly 141,000 people were forcibly moved. Minorities such as Ukrainians, including Boykos and Lemkos of the Greek-Catholic and Orthodox faiths had only a couple of hours to get their belongings from their homes and head towards the nearest train stations. As a result of Akcja Wisla, many villages in the Boyko and Lemko region became ghost towns, and many met the fate of being completely razed.

Operation Vistula (Akcja Wisła) Data

The following information lists the number of people deported and the corresponding voivodeship.

  • Lublin Voivodeship – 45,000
  • Rzeszów Voivodeship – 86,000
  • Kraków Voivodeship – 10,000

Ivan Kozak, a Ukrainian WW1 commander, born in Hoczew

Ivan Kozak (Source: Wikipedia)

Ivan Kozak (Іван Козак) was born on August 8, 1891, in Hoczew, Austro-Hungarian empire. He was the son of a Greek Catholic priest, Teodor Kozak (Теодор Козак), and Helena Gajowska (Гелена Ґайовска). Hoczew was a village that had a majority Ukrainian / Rusyn Greek Catholic population, however, it also had a strong Polish Roman Catholic presence, and also a very minor Jewish population. The village was home both to a Greek Catholic and Roman Catholic church, a rarity in this region, since most villages around the area only contained Greek Catholic churches, and Roman Catholic ones were mostly found in larger urban centres. 

Kozak’s father time in Hoczew was brief, and he stopped serving the village in 1896. After some time, the family ended up in Lemberg (Present day Lviv, Ukraine), where the young Ivan Kozak was schooled, and by 1910, he had finished his studies at the Ukrainian academy there. He went on to study law in in Lemberg and obtained his law degree in Prague.

Service in the Austro-Hungarian Army during WW1

During the first World War Kozak served in the Austrian army, where he participated in battles on the Russian front, and was seriously wounded. He was awarded several Austro-Hungarian combat medals. Because of the major rehabilitation needed as a result of the wounds received, he served out the rest of the war doing field work. After the collapse of Austria-Hungary, the West Ukrainian People’s Republic, with Lviv as its capital proclaimed independence over eastern Galicia, and Kozak joined the fight for an independent Ukrainian state.

The fight for a Ukrainian Republic

In November of 1918, Kozak started his service in the Ukrainian Galician Army, which was the military wing of the newly proclaimed West Ukrainian People’s Republic. In 1920, the Ukrainian People’s Republic (which aimed to create an independent state with Kyiv as its capital) and Poland signed a treaty officially recognizing Polish control over the disputed territory of Eastern Galicia, which formally ended any hope of a Ukrainian state in Galicia.

He was then transferred to the Ukrainian People’s Republic Fifth Kherson division to fight the Soviets. After several months, he left the division along with its commander Antin Kravs and crossed into Czechoslovakia, where he became the last commander of a sprase Ukrainian Galician Army unit in the country.

The interwar period

After the Soviets conquered most of Ukraine and the attempt at any Ukrainian state failed, Kozak went back to Poland where he setup a law practice in Uhnów, Poland (present day Uhniv, Ukraine). He was arrested in the 1930’s by Polish authorities and spent time in the Bereza Kartuska prison for participating in Ukrainian nationalist organizations.

Emigration and later life

After the end of the Second World War, the lands that Kozak fought to become a part of a Ukrainian state, came under Soviet and Polish control. He emigrated to the USA in 1949, and settled in New York. He died in December of 1978 at the age of 87.

Ivan Kozak’s Birth Record

Taken from the Hoczew Greek Catholic Births: 1863-1907 Collection: (60/673/0) 

Greek Catholic Metrical Records available at USC Solina

The following Greek Catholic metrical records are available at USC Solina (Urząd Stanu Cywilnego – Civil Registries Office):

  • Bóbrka: Births 1886-1946, deaths 1893-1947
  • Berezka: Births, marriages and deaths  from 1926 to 1938
  • Bereźnica Niżna: Births, marriages and deaths from 1926 to 1938
  • Bereżnica Wyżna: Births from 1907 to 1945 and marriages from 1874 to 1928
  • Wola Matiaszowa: Births, marriages and deaths from 1926 to 1938 and deaths from 1891 to 1946

You can contact USC Solina in Polish at usc@esolina.pl. Please be as specific as possible in terms of names, surnames, dates and places when making your request. As with most USC’s in Poland, you will be required to provide proof of relationship and sometimes a payment when making a request.

Greek Catholic Baligrod Deaney and member parishes before World War 2

The following parishes fell under the jurisdiction of the Baligród Deanery, Przemysl Diocese, before World War 2.

Source

Overlaying Austro-Hungarian Cadastral Maps in Google Maps

Back in December of 2014, the Przemysl branch of the State Archives of Poland released many digitized records and published them to their website. Some of the items released were 1850’s era Galician cadastral maps which along with their indexes and other related documents are a great resource for Genealogists as they show the owners of houses and plots of land in Galician villages, towns and cities.

Using Google Maps

When viewed on their own on the Przemysl state archive website, the cadastral maps can be a bit confusing to understand, as they are split up into multiple pages. If you’re not map savvy it can be a difficult experience in trying to put these maps together. The quickest and most simplest way is to print out each individual image of the maps, cut them to size, and stitch them using scotch tape. We’ll be doing the exact same thing – digitally, and once the maps are stitched up into one solid image, we will overlay them using Google Maps, so that objects of interest on the maps, such as buildings, rivers and roads can be easily referenced. The State Archives of Austria has done something similar with much of their old map holdings. As an example, you can view the First Military Survey of Galicia (1779-1783).

A Test Example – Bachlowa, present day Bachlawa

We have taken a sample image from the 1854 cadastral map of Bachlowa, present day Bachlawa, Poland, and overlaid it in Google Maps using MapTiler software. You can view the functioning example, by clicking on the image below:

Bachlowa 1854 Cadastral Map

The above example is just a first draft test of a single image, and doesn’t take into account the other four images that compose the map. Once we have all the village images stitched up, we will be adding them one at a time to our site.

The Project Villages

The following initial set of villages will be part of our project:

Hoczew Area

Other Villages

Welcome to “On the Edge of Boykivschyna”

Welcome to “On the Edge of Boykivschyna”. I have been always interested in the places where both sets of my grandparents came from, the Bieszczady region of south-east Poland. This website will try to explore a small number of villages in Lesko, Baligrod and Solina counties, as well as some villages in the immediate area. This area was the westernmost settlement region of the Boyko people, the majority of which now identify as being a part of the Ukrainian ethos.

I am also interested in Genealogy. In particular the following surnames, in the following villages:

Bobrka

  • Kusz
  • Rylik
  • Rylow

Bachlawa (Bachlowa)

  • Capar
  • Ros
  • Klim / Klym

Hoczew

  • Byc
  • Czemerys
  • Luczejko
  • Orynicz / Orynycz

Nowosiólki

  • Orynicz / Orynycz

Wola Matiaszowa

  • Bilanicz
  • Popowicz

If you have any information on the above, please contact me!