Zofia Szwarczynska was 2 years old when her mother had to take her and her baby sister from their house in Volhynia (former Poland, now Ukraine) and flee towards the west to Pegow (southwest Poland), driven away by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), in 1944. She is one of the thousands of Polish civilians that were forcibly displaced from territories in eastern Poland that now belong to Ukraine, and resettled in areas in the south-western Poland, in villages and towns evacuated by German civilians that, in turn, had to flee to the west within the German borders.

Unesco Initiatives Center, Poland


Irena Kusiemska remembers the year 1945 in Poland, and the hard times her mother and her siblings had to go through, especially after their father was taken away to war by the advancing Russian army who had just entered Rokitno, their hometown. At some point they received the -mistaken- information that their father had died in the war, and they finally had to leave Rokitno and flee to the west, because of the border changes. They settled in Smardy Dolne -a village recently abandoned by its German inhabitants in southwesten Poland- where they got reunited with their father.

Unesco Initiatives Center, Poland