Before World War II
Pre-war Volhynia was a land inhabited by many nationalities: in the villages and towns you could come across Ukrainians, Poles, Jews, Czechs, Armenians and even Tartars. Poles made up only 16% of the population there. The majority were Ukrainians. Similarly, in eastern Galicia, where Poles accounted for around 30% of the population. Those who lived in the villages tended to live just as poorly.
Despite the differences, people who remember pre-war Volhynia recall it as an idyllic, peaceful place to live. Although in the stories of the Ukrainians, there is often a sense of grievance that they were discriminated against by the Poles. People with a Ukrainian background had no chance of a career in the state administration. Nor was a university established in pre-war Poland where Ukrainian was the language of teaching. Poland settled colonists in areas inhabited by Ukrainians, whose presence was supposed to change the unfavourable demographic proportions.
A military settler with his family in front of his house.
Krechovets settlement in Volhynia. 3-4.08.1924.
Photo Narcyz Witczak-Witaczyński/National Digital Archive
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