STRYJÓWKA 2009GALERIAPodróż w czasieNie zapominajmyW lipcu 2009

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  Let us not forget     Stryjówka, July 2009



“The night was coming and daylight faded away, but darkness didn’t come because of the light from the huge fires. Załościce, Barzyńce, Łublanki, Stryjówka, Kretowce, Zarudzie, Wachlówka and all surrounding villages were one big fire as far as eye could see.”  (from Henryk Sienkiewicz’s book  -  “With Fire and Sword”).

Stryjówka, situated about 4 miles south of Zbaraż, is mentioned for the first time in archival documents dating from 1463.  In this time, by Skała ( Rock ) which was the beginning of the Miodobory mountains in the part of the village called Kąt,  there was an old cemetery from the times of the Tatar’s raids. Buried there were the people who managed to escape slavery.  Centuries later you can still find the remains of burned out farms -- probably from that period.

Before World War II Stryjówka formed a close and solider community with no substantial problems between Poles and Ukrainians.  Most inhabitants were Poles, a smaller number were Ukrainians, and there were also a few Jewish residents. Only some of the Ukrainians were chauvinists, but it was quite a mild form of chauvinism.  People worked and lived together in peace as good neighbors and arguments were solved without any problems.  Everyone helped each other in harvest time.

During World War II and shortly afterward several murders by Ukrainian nationalists took place, not only in Stryjówka, but in other villages as well.  In the beginning of the Soviet occupation the Russians deported many inhabitants of Stryjówka to Siberia. After the war almost all the remaining Polish inhabitants (who had lived there for centuries) were forced to leave for so-called Ziemie Odzyskan (Retrived Areas) in western Poland. Only a few stayed behind and they, or their descendants, still live in Stryjówka today. They are mostly Polish women who married Ukrainians, or their children. In the early 1970’s the Polish church in the center of the village was destroyed. This was one of the last traces of Polish history.  The land was overgrown by bushes and the graves in the local cemetery were neglected.

Thanks to Alina and Ireneusz Skrzypczak from Łańcut, who set up the Longinus Foundation ( ) a clean-up of Stryjowka cemetery was organized.  On July 15th through 18th all remaining Polish graves on the Stryjówka’s cemetery were cleared.  A lot of support came from Father Berard Anatol Zadojko – the only priest in the temporary Catholic Church in Zbaraż. The majority of the hard work was done have by the wonderful scouts from Warsaw - girls and boys - members of 206 Youth Scout Troop, “Skrzetuscy” . Their effort was a great success! All the Polish graves which could be found were restored.  Wild shrubs, trees and branches, as well as blueberries which had been growing there for more than 60 years were removed. It was very hard work in more than 104 degree weather … but was worth the effort. For the first time in more than a half century many graves of Kominek’s, Szary’s, Kraśnicki’s, Wałowy’s, Rokicki’s and many more could be seen again. All graves were photographed and all of the hard-to-read inscriptions were noted in the inventory index. That index will become a valuable database for people all over the world whose roots are in Stryjówka and who are interested in family history.

The village inhabitants knew immediately that something was going on in the cemetery. Ukrainians watched the action with great curiosity. Some of them offered fruits and food, others came by to check and make sure no hooligans were busy destroying graves.  The scouts with their master, Kamila, worked very hard.  Everyone had a beautiful lesson in national history, how to cherish memories about our ancestors, and pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives in the difficult time of the war in the eastern part of the Republic of Poland.

Let us do not forget our ancestors and rich Polish history in those areas because, as Józef Piłsudski said - " who does not respect his own past, does not deserve the respect of the present or have a right to the future".

Jan Łukasiewicz



Stroną administruje Fundacja Longinus