Sense of place, sense of people #ukraine


Lancy
 

I don't know how the people on the Russian side of the border felt, but I
have had talks with people >from Skala Podolskaya on the Easternmost part of
Galicia, right on the Austrian side of the border, and I heard talks about
the Russian Podolians and the Austrian Podolians, including jokes about
slight differences among Podolians depending on which side they were from.

Many families had branches on both sides, matches were made over the river,
draft-dodging young men were smuggled to their relatives in Galicia, etc. I
have a hunch that they were closer to their mates >from across the river than
to areas of Galicia that were more than 50 miles away.

Shana Tova to you all!

Lancy Spalter
Kfar Tavor, Israel

----- Original Message -----

I've encountered a bit of a mystery in researching the town of Makhnovka,
which was near Berditchev. A number of people whose grandparents were from
this town reported that their grandparents thought of themselves as
Galician
and not Russian. Looking at the maps, it is clear that Makhnovka was
definitely in the Russian Empire, further east than Galicia's borders ever
went (that I know of).

I'm wondering is it possible that people in this western edge of Russian
Empire could have thought of themselves as Galician, even though not
within
the official borders, because of close ties between the various towns?
Would
they have had a sense of themselves as the same "people"?

I have heard many people describe how even among Jews, there was a sense
of
different ethnic identities, and that there were differences in traditions
and practices between some of these groups. Galicianers would see
themselves
as distinct >from Litvaks, for example.

So, I'm wondering what sense of ethnic identity did the Jews of Podolia
and
Volhynia have? (I've certainly never heard anyone describe themselves as
Podolian or Volhynian - these were, I think, just arbitrary guberniyas
whose
borders moved around.) Would they have thought of themselves as Russian?
Could they have thought of themselves as Galician? Was there any Ukrainian
identity? Where were the "ethnic" boundaries? (The official national
boundaries changed so much in that area, I can certainly imagine people
not
taking them as seriously as perceived ethnic boundaries.)

Any insights into this?

Tom Chatt
Los Angeles, CA

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