Łódź couple go on epic 5,500 km journey to uncover forgotten memories and long-lost borders
A stunning collection of photographs showing people, places and memories connected with the history of Poland’s ‘lost’ interwar borders has been released as a book and online exhibition.
Kaja and journalist husband Tomasz Grzywaczewski from Łódź, travelled over 5,500 km around Poland, Germany, Czechia, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia and Lithuania on the trail of Poland’s interwar eastern and western borders.
Entitled ‘Lost Borders: In the Footsteps of the Second Polish Republic’, the project which began in Dębki near the mouth of the Piaśnica River at the Baltic Sea, tells the story of how living in the borderlands has shaped the memory, identity and lives of the people who still live in its territories today.
The couple said: “The most important thing in this photographic journey is not stone pillars, but living people.
“This story is about them- the borderland inhabitants, who formed the multinational mosaic of the Second Polish Republic. Adventurers, smugglers, writers, artists, explorers and dreamers.
“But most of all, it’s about ordinary people, who, despite the atrocities of the 20th century, were trying to survive on the ‘erased’ border.”
The border line of the Second Polish Republic (1918-1939) was moved by a combined series of events: The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, German and Soviet aggression and the treaty written at Yalta conference at the end of WWII, forcibly altering the individual lives and communities living in its vicinity.
The project website, which has four language versions including English, entitled ‘Borders II RP’, presents a large exhibition gallery of photographs as well as videos documenting each place the couple passed through.
These included the town of Volhynia in present day Ukraine, the site of pogroms carried out by Ukrainian nationalists on the Polish population in 1943-44, which led to the death of around 100,000 Poles, and Koniuchy in which Russian and Lithuanian partisans killed 38 inhabitants of the village.
The project was financed by funds from the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs as part of the ‘Public Diplomacy in 2020-new dimensions’ programme.
To see more about the project go here.