Volodymyr Sereda Володимир Середа

* 1934  

  • We left, there was the assembly point of the railway station Radymno, on the other side of the Sian river, the nearest town from Liashky across Sian. (pause) We arrived by that file of carts escorted by Polish soldiers, of course, and we were settled on the territory near the station in barracks for goods storage. Clearly, they didn't have doors or anything. In 1946, everything had been stolen by thieves. There was a barrack, they told us to stay there, but there are no cars to load. During the day it wasn't that bad, but when the night came... Here are my memories. We lived there as in a camp, I don't know what was there, we had some pillows, featherbed, well, there were also two horses and a cow, they also managed to kill some rabbits, but there was no refrigerator, we had nothing there. It was March, everything was wet, there was mud everywhere and it was cold. But the evening begins, and you know, these city batiars, we called the Poles batiars, the bad people, they threw stones at us, shouted at us, and most importantly - threw stones at us, and we hid there under those featherbeds, and so we spent the nights. Finally, after a while, our neighbor Halva Stakh, a close neighbor, brought us a cart with food. Of course, everything that was in the house, the sleigh, everything that was there, all the carpentry, all my rabbits - we killed a couple of them, and the rest of them all ran around, also two cows were left, a pig, chickens, geese, ducks - we had big cattle. There were ponds in the area, we even had our own pond, a small pond near our yard. Our neighbor brought us more, he is a Pole, he had the opportunity to do it, honor and praise to him. In a nutshell, later we were moved into freight cars…

  • There were times when we lived in very friendly relations with Poles, with a Polish family, their surname was Halva. There was my father's peer Stanislav, the mayor, and his father Bronislav. And they were called "Bronki" in the village, everyone in the village then had a nickname. Stanislav had a close friend Karoltsia, Karolina, she was a year younger than me, she was from 1935. I went to their house, they never locked the doors, you didn't have to knock on the doors, you could just walk in and say "Glory to Jesus Christ". The spoken language we had was Ukrainian in its basis. They went to church and prayed in Latin and preached in Polish. But the rural street language in the eastern Yaroslavl region and among the Poles, the Poles were in the minority, it was our language, with certain Nadsyannia elements of the speech like adding "ye" sounds, and "yu" sounds. For instance: "myeso" (meat), etc. If you go to Mostysk, if you meet an old woman there, you will hear my Lyashkiv language. "Khot hev" - come here, I can recall so many things from childhood, everything that happened. And so (50:04 inaudible), which I also knew by heart, I knew carols, because I earned some money when caroled at their house, and they earned some money for caroling at our house. She already (50:13 inaudible name) passed away a long time ago, I didn't find her, she got married later. I also had a friend from a mixed family, my friend, and he also passed away, Tadzio Huk. And so we lived with all those neighbors, we lived together in a rural friendly way. There were times when the Polish people's government disappeared, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army unit burned down all state buildings, village authorities, etc., the police fled to Yaroslav, across Sian, and there was anarchy. At that time the UPA (Ukrainian Insurgent Army) was in the power, and Stakh, Halva Stanislav, my dad's neighbor, spent the night at my dad's place, in hiding. If we needed, and my dad often had to spend the night somewhere at his friend's house, I don't know where he was hiding, in what hole, somewhere in his barn, or somewhere else. We ran away when there was threat to our lives. Our village stretched from west to east for a couple of kilometers, and on the farther, there were fewer Poles. There was part of the village - eastern Yaremkiya, then there was part of the village Volia Liashkivska, where Poles never went, it was under Ukrainian rule. So we went with my mother and sister to spend the night there, for the night, because we lived in the center of the village where the school, the government, the wooden church, the catholic church were located. And there was a separate part of the village in the west, called Bavoly because the Poles who lived in Lyashky were mostly concentrated there, it was a Polish corner of the village, and there lived Grela, Grenda, Bavol, Halva, all surnames. Once upon a time, they settled there and so the last names spread across the village - Bavol, Grelia, Grenda, Halva. So... And the shop, as they said "sklep" was in that part of the village. One of the skleps, was located there, it was dangerous for me to go there, in the times of the People's Poland. There were villagers with a slingshot, you know: the rubber band and a stone. And I walked down the street, they knew their people, I talked some Polish with them, I knew it a little bit, and then, there was a period of time for me as a child. It left unpleasant memories, I told my parents about it at home, I was told "you would not go there anymore, kid." Those villagers, they put me with my back forward, and they practiced who hits me better, in the head or somewhere else, you know, with stones from that slingshot. Because I'm Ukrainian, a Ukrainian guy.

  • And suddenly one day, on September 21, 1946, a Polish army appeared in Lyashky, and the army was already engaged in this matter with representatives of the evacuation resettlement committee. You take your horses, or a horse or two horses, you pack your cart with what you think is necessary, and in 2 hours on the exit road from the village, we form a file. And if you don't have horses, some people were poor, not everyone had horses, a Polish cart, not from their own village, but from across Sian region. And accross the Sian, you know, the Poles had no sympathy for the Ukrainians. Sian river was a natural border, and the Ukrainians who lived west of Sian, their fate was... They were all expelled by 1946 and deported to the Soviet Union because it was no longer possible to live there: you would be either killed or robbed. The government was the People's Democratic government, but the real government was the one that acted at night. So soldiers came with bieranets, bieranets, bieranets, we took our cart, and so we left. Somewhere on the way, they filled out an evacuation letter in two languages - Polish and Ukrainian, where it was written that this citizen on March 21, 1946, Sereda Mykola A., a resident of the village, I read in Ukrainian, Lyashky, Yaroslav, of this region, by permission of the Main Plenipotentiary Government of the Ukrainian SSR was evacuated to the territory of the Ukrainian SSR in the district of Ternopil volost. The following persons were evacuated with him: Sereda Mariya, five people with his father, Mariya Mykh. Ukr. In the year 908, that's a document, because we washed the so-called kenkarts for the Germans, they didn't work in the 1946, I don't know if they had something or not, and this is the reason why we went to the Soviet Union. It was written in good handwriting, Ukrainian handwriting, that was the representative of Ukrainian SSR. Sereda Volodymyr M. - son, 34, this is me, Sereda Hanna Myk. - daughter. ddaughter, 42, my younger sister passed away, Sereda Anna Vas. - mother, my grandmother, Anna Vasylivna born in 1875. And on the back of it, it's hard for me to say how they made that description in those few days, but they wrote everything here, there are seals at the bottom, everything is as it should be. Citizen Sereda Myk. M. of the 902nd year carries with him: horses 2, cattle 1, although we had 5 years in 1946, I remember, and 3 - minimum 3, because it was already hard with 5, the delivery of milk was required. Sheep, goats, some other animals - no, no seeders, no one there usually didn't carry anything, they didn't carry plows, food - 8 quintals. Who weighed it? How much stuff you can put on one cart. Although they later made a cart with ladders, similar to ladders for carrying grain, to have more space. And there are even 10 quintals of household items, which means 18 quintals. I don't know if horses could pull that weight. Scales, no one weighed thing on the scales. They moved everything with the help of the cart.

  • Found in Baidyntsi. But even those free houses, first of all, free after the Poles who remained - these are the worst, you understand that those who moved out, our brothers in grief in 1945, everyone already asked, begged - wanted the best option possible. Although it was still comforting compared to our homes, you know… well, I don't want to… That was the life that Ternopil region looked poorer in terms of rural development. We had enough forest in stock. Buildings were built of wood, foundation, etc. And secondly, bad luck forced us to build everything after the First World War, because everything burned down. Because in the First World War there was an assault on Przemyśl by Russian troops and therefore, well, everything was wooden, even then under the roof probably, right? And it caught fire, the village burned down, the church, everything that was wooden - everything wooden burned down. So people built anew. So, I was born in a normal wooden house, normal in height, good walls, vertical, leveled, good windows - as the windows should be, maybe not as lush as now, spacious, but the windows were normal, you know. I did not know a thatched roof, because we had a roof tile industry in the Sian region, the "dakhivka" - its local name. And rich people could already afford covering their roofs with tin. Our, say, barn was covered with... The barn is two rooms on the left and right, and, as we said, "boisko" - a barn floor in Ukrainian, for threshing. We still, however, threshed with a thresher, invited people, because it was very, very difficult to thresh with a chain. So we had a lot of that property in comparison. Although small, but in comparison with that landlessness, my father was a little in love with that land and he took care of our land, so to speak, for the sisters, for the younger sisters, and for himself, he worked on the land. But that's another topic. So, for us to settle, we decided to, say, a house in the Ternopil region had a room on the left, an inner porch, and a room to the right. As a rule, one room was bigger, the other was smaller. And they said that the worst thing was to live under sculpted from clay house, under the roof, as in Taras Shevchenko's paintings: the porch, the ceiling all sculpted, the windows are so tiny. So they gave one family only one room, because "there's nowhere to put you." If someone among the settlers occupied an entire apartment, an entire house, and even the best two-room house, then they had to give one room, whether they wanted it or not. "Because your people have arrived, they must occupy the second room." So we were accommodated in one room. There was a common entrance, there were no locks on the door at that time, no one in the village used locks. We were together, one room - one family. We were: two children, father, mother, and grandmother - five people. We got a bigger room. And in that smaller room, with the roof like that, you know - the chimney, oh, God, the chimney was moulded. It was terrible, as I recall. And very unusual. There lived a family of four people: two of them and two children, our fellow villagers. Well, and we accordingly divided a court yard.

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    Lviv, 10.10.2020

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“Before 1944, relations between Poles and Ukrainians were warm.” Story of eviction

Church village choir of Liashky village, Yaroslavl district. In the center - the choir conductor Volodymyr Shumskyi (Liashky village, 1929)
Church village choir of Liashky village, Yaroslavl district. In the center - the choir conductor Volodymyr Shumskyi (Liashky village, 1929)
photo: Personal archive of the witness

Volodymyr Sereda was born on December 2, 1934, in the village of Liashky, Yaroslavl County, Poland to a Ukrainian family of Mykola and Mariya (maiden name Karapyta) Sereda. In March 1946, during the eviction of the Ukrainian population from Nadsyannia, he and his family were moved to the village of Baykivtsi, Ternopil region. From 1952 to 1957, Volodymyr Sereda studied at the Faculty of Physics of Ivan Franko University of Lviv. He studied in the graduate school of this university too. Later, he taught at Lviv Polytechnic University. Volodymyr Sereda is the chairman of the Union of Associations of Deported Ukrainians “Zakerzonnia” and a member of the Lviv Regional Socio-Cultural Society “Nadsyannia”.