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Three rivers


Border: Poland – Romania - USSR
At present: Ukraine


These three border rivers have reflected the history of the Second Polish Republic since its beginning until its tragic end. On September 17 and 18, 1939, limousines carrying the president, the highest representatives of the Polish state and the generals passed on the no longer existing bridge over the Cheremosh River in Kuty. They were followed by the military and columns of civilians, who sought refuge in Romania in the face of Soviet aggression. On September 20, an inconspicuous Kuty street, full of holes in the pavement, was the witness to the death of Tadeusz Dołęga-Mostowicz, the author of, among others “The Career of Nicodemus Dyzma” and “Professor Wilczur”. The tragic bridge was accessed by president Ignacy Mościcki not from Warsaw, but from the village of Załucze Dolne, also situated on the Cheremosh River, where he had spent his last night in his homeland in a palace that belonged to the Jaruzelski-Krzysztofowicz family. Today it houses an orphanage for disabled children, in which the Polish and Ukrainian sisters of Charlotte from nearby Sniatyn have served for years.

In Załucze, the border throws aside Cheremosh and, running through the slightly wrinkled Carpathian foreland, after several dozen kilometers sinks into the waters of the Dniester river. On the other side of the steep slope of the canyon, in an almost looping bend of the river, there is the famous pre-war spa Zaleszczyki. The Polish People’s Republic propaganda insisted that representatives of the highest Polish authorities flee to Romania through here in September 1939. The luxury resort fit well with the vision of debauched capitalist bloodsuckers leaving their nation in the hour of crisis. 

The former Romanian border ends about seventy kilometers east of Zaleszczyk in the Trenches of the Holy Trinity on a balloon-shaped headland in the forks of the Dniester and the Zbrucz River flowing from the north. In the interwar period, at the river crossing there appeared a Polish-Romanian-Soviet border tripoint; of course, there isn’t the faintest trace of it. Zbrucz is bound by the fate of borders. Following the first partition of Poland, the river marked the border between the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and Austria, after the liquidation of Poland between Russia and Austria, and in the 20th century between the Second Polish Republic and the USSR. Even now, as part of one state, it comprises the mental and cultural frontier between western and central Ukraine. Its spring marks the end of Podole, and further on stretch the forests of Volhynia.

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