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Reconciliation in Bloodlands

Assessing Actions and Outcomes in Contemporary Central-Eastern Europe


Edited By Jacek Kurczewski

Central-Eastern Europe, in the mid-20 th century, was a scene of Holocaust, mass killings, war, deportations and forced resettlements under the competing totalitarian invasions and afterwards. It was also the area where churches, politicians and citizens were engaged in reconciliation between antagonized religions and nations. This book presents several attempts to heal relations between Poles, Jews, Germans, Czechs, Ukrainians, Russians and Latvians as well as between Catholics, Protestants and Mariavites. Re-conciliatory practices of John Paul II and other Catholic leaders as well as Protestant churches are analysed in the first part of the book. Most of the remaining studies are focused on particular localities in Upper Silesia, Cieszyn Silesia, former Polish Livland and on the Polish-Ukrainian borderland. These detailed contributions combine sociological methods with anthropological insight and historical context. The authors are sociologists, psychologists and theologians and this leads to a fully interdisciplinary approach in the assessment of the recent state of inter-group relations in the region as well as in the proposed theory of peacebuilding and reconciliation.
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Past, Conflicts and Seeking of Reconciliation on the Polish-Ukrainian Borderland


The purpose of the following article is to picture how conflict and reconciliation are perceived and conceptualised by the two national groups in the certain historical part of the Polish-Ukrainian borderland. That area was a part of Eastern Galicia up to 1918, and from 1919 to 1939 it belonged to Lviv voivodeship within the Republic of Poland. This borderland was divided by a permanent state border in 1939 for the first time and now it encompasses eastern and southeastern areas of Podkarpackie voivodeship in Poland and Lviv oblast, Ukraine. Since 1989-1991, independent democratic states have been developing on both sides of the border, more or less respecting the rights of national minorities. These structural and political conditions of the Polish-Ukrainian relations are the fundamental context of their conceptualisation in the borderland, from the past and present perspective.

A number of historical periodisations of the Polish-Ukrainian relations exists. They are often elaborate and complex (e.g. Stępień 1996, 160-162). From sociological perspective considering historical moments that are the most meaningful for today’s situation on the borderland, three fundamental historical stages of ethnic relations can be distinguished. The first one concerns historical events that left imprints on contemporaneity, because of their longue durée (Braudel 1999), despite the fact that they had taken place before the appearance of modern nationalities (it concerns the period from the beginning of state organisation to modern times). The second stage of the history of ethnic relations in this area begins with the appearance of...

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