PUBLICATION ALERT Edited peasant memoir from Polish-Ukrainian borderland

Lucian George Discussion

Lucian George, “Pamiętnik chłopa” [Peasant Memoir], Niepodległość i Pamięć, 77/1 (2022), pp. 233-278

Abstract: This publication is an edited and annotated version of a formerly unpublished peasant memoir written in 1935 as part of a memoir competition for rural activists. Its author, Władysław Kluż, was a poor peasant born in 1894 in the Polish-Ukrainian borderland of Central Galicia. Part jeremiad, part picaresque tale, the memoir interweaves a bitter lamentation of social conditions in 1930s Poland with a thrilling account of Kluż’s exploits as a civilian, POW, national activist, and witness to revolution during the “long First World War”. Kluż presents rich descriptions of the Russian occupation of Galicia, the POW experience in Russian Ukraine, the Ukrainian Revolution of 1917-1918, and village-level politics in interwar Poland. Amongst its most interesting aspects, the memoir offers insights into the inter-ethnic contacts generated in wartime; the role of class and ethnic symbols (e.g., speech, dress) in war and revolution; and the ambiguities of national identity in the Polish-Ukrainian borderlands. It is hoped the publication of Kluż’s memoir will provide social and cultural historians with a new and topical source for the study of WW1 and the interwar period in East-Central Europe.