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Posts by USLemko  

Joined: 1 Dec 2009 / Female ♀
Last Post: 6 Dec 2009
Threads: -
Posts: 2
From: USA, Los Angeles, California
Speaks Polish?: A little
Interests: Genealogy, Polish language, Lemkos/Lemkovyna, WW 1 & 2, serfdom

Displayed posts: 2
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USLemko   
6 Dec 2009
Life / Why Do You Love Poland? [907]

I am American-Lemko and also love Poland. I have been there about 8 times since 1998 and can't wait to go back.

Whenever I visit, I feel very much at home. The people are wonderful, very kind and friendly. I have visited many towns and villages from Wroclaw to Sanok/Przemysl and from Warsaw to Zakopane. But I especially love Krakow and Lemkovyna. The rolling hills and mountains of Lemkovyna remind me of western Pennsylvania, where I was born. Lemkovyna also is the homeland of my ancestors, and I have made many wonderful friends there. Some day, I would like to visit Dansk.

I have studied the Polish language on my own but still only speak it like a second grader. Yet I try to use it exclusively in Poland. Somehow, I manage to communicate with the people. I think they appreciate it that I make an effort to speak their language. And when I use the wrong word, we enjoy a good laugh--which just makes things friendlier.

I also have a strong admiration for Poland and what the country has managed to accomplish since 1989. It is often difficult for Americans to appreciate that Poland has suffered through many wars on their lands, lived under the rulership of other kingdoms, and survived nearly 50 years of communist rule. Yet it has risen with its head held high. Even though I was not born there, I feel a great kinship as though it were my adopted land.
USLemko   
1 Dec 2009
Genealogy / Where are the Lemkos now? Do they still exist in Poland? [32]

Most of the Lemkos now reside in western Poland, where they were forcibly resetted in 1947 during the military operation known as the Vistula Operation (Akcja Visla). They are scattered throughout the towns and villages of western Poland. But there is a major concentration in and around Wroclaw and the Lemko cultural center of Legnica.

Every August, the Lemkos in this area hold a Vatra (traditional mountain bonfire festival) in the village of Michalowce, which Lemkos from all over Poland and other countries travel to attend. The Lemkos who sponsor this Vatra do NOT consider themselves to be Ukrainian.

However, since the 1950s, about 10-20% of the Lemkos have returned to their homeland, which runs along the slopes of the Carpathian Mountains in southeastern Poland (referred to as the Lemko Region or Lemkovyna.) They are scattered in villages and towns from just east of the Tatras all the way to Sanok, with a number residing in the Bieszczady. The major Lemko cultural centers are in Krynica and Gorlice. There is a wonderful Lemko Museum in Zyndranowa (near the Dukla Pass).

Every July, a Lemko Vatra is held above the village of Zdynia, which is also widely attended by Lemkos from Poland and Ukraine. This vatra is sponsored by those Lemkos who consider themselves to be of Ukrainian origin. But this is another story.