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.
 

Sr. Barbara and blind grandma Szurka. The Szarytki Nuns from Sniatyn help the most needy.
Sr. Barbara and blind grandma Szurka. The Szarytki Nuns from Sniatyn help the most needy.
The bridge in Kuty on the Cheremosh connecting Galicia and Bukovina, and once the II RP and Romania.
The bridge in Kuty on the Cheremosh connecting Galicia and Bukovina, and once the II RP and Romania.

It was here that President Ignacy Mościcki and the highest representatives of the authorities of the Second Polish Republic left Poland when they heard the news of the Soviet aggression against Poland on September 17, 1939.

Ruins of the building of Polish border guards at the no longer existing bridge in Kuty.
Ruins of the building of Polish border guards at the no longer existing bridge in Kuty.
Armenian cemetery in Kuty. Before the war, Kuty was called the Armenian capital of Poland.
Armenian cemetery in Kuty. Before the war, Kuty was called the Armenian capital of Poland.
Kosów or the “Hutsul Davos”. Fot. Tomasz Lachowski
Kosów or the “Hutsul Davos”. Fot. Tomasz Lachowski

Here, dr. Apolinary Tarnawski created a sanatorium called “the national Spa resort”.

Dr. Tarnawski was famous for his original methods of treatment and was a pioneer of natural medicine
Dr. Tarnawski was famous for his original methods of treatment and was a pioneer of natural medicine

Waking up at six in the morning, gymnastics, water treatment, sun-air baths, breathing exercises, barefoot excursions, recommended meat-free diet.

One of the historic villas in the “national Spa resort”. Fot. Tomasz Lachowski
One of the historic villas in the “national Spa resort”. Fot. Tomasz Lachowski
A swimming pool in Kosovo, built in 1938.
A swimming pool in Kosovo, built in 1938.
A bathing beach in Kosovo, built in 1938.
A bathing beach in Kosovo, built in 1938.
The Carpathian Center of Cultural Heritage is being established in the the pre-war restaurant.
The Carpathian Center of Cultural Heritage is being established in the the pre-war restaurant.

From the funds of the Cross-border Cooperation Program Poland-Belarus-Ukraine as part of the project “World of Carpathian rosettes”.

A graveyard of Soviet motorization classics.
A graveyard of Soviet motorization classics.
Józef Jach, one of the last pre-war Polish inhabitants of Kosovo.
Józef Jach, one of the last pre-war Polish inhabitants of Kosovo.
Siblings of Mieczysław and Jadwiga Krasowski from Kosovo.
Siblings of Mieczysław and Jadwiga Krasowski from Kosovo.

As children, they survived the murders of Ukrainian nationalists on local Poles.

Krzytofowicz-Jaruzelski Palace in Załucz. Today an orphanage for disabled children.
Krzytofowicz-Jaruzelski Palace in Załucz. Today an orphanage for disabled children.

Here president Ignacy Mościcki spent his last days in Poland.

One of the ruined buildings of the palace compound.
One of the ruined buildings of the palace compound.
A devastated church with the Krzytofowicz-Jaruzelski family crypt.
A devastated church with the Krzytofowicz-Jaruzelski family crypt.
The pupils of the orphanage in Załucz near Sniatyn.
The pupils of the orphanage in Załucz near Sniatyn.
In the past, the Szarytki Nuns from Sniatyn helped in the orphanage.
In the past, the Szarytki Nuns from Sniatyn helped in the orphanage.

Today their role has been taken over by De Paul organization volunteers.

Sr. Dorota Irska, the Superior of the Religious House of Szarytki Nuns in Sniatyn.
Sr. Dorota Irska, the Superior of the Religious House of Szarytki Nuns in Sniatyn.

Rehabilitation classes for disabled children are conducted here.

A kindergarten run by nuns.
A kindergarten run by nuns.
The Szarytki Nuns also look after the oldest inhabitants of Sniatyn and its vicinity.
The Szarytki Nuns also look after the oldest inhabitants of Sniatyn and its vicinity.
Three Polish sisters, Genowefa, Stasia and Marysia from the village near Śniantyń.
Three Polish sisters, Genowefa, Stasia and Marysia from the village near Śniantyń.

As a result of a chain of circumstances, after 1945, the women did not leave for Poland and remained in Ukraine.

“We never got married!"
“We never got married!"

"If we were to marry, it could only be with a Catholic, and all Polish men had left. We were left alone and we were forced to manage somehow.”

Zaleszczyki on the Dniester River, one of the largest resorts in the Second Polish Republic. Fot. An
Zaleszczyki on the Dniester River, one of the largest resorts in the Second Polish Republic. Fot. An
„When we’re having fun, we’re having fun all the way, selling porticos, pawning the tailcoat!”
„When we’re having fun, we’re having fun all the way, selling porticos, pawning the tailcoat!”

The Ukrainian, Maria Wereszczuk, with nostalgia recalls the times when the streets of Zaleszczyk were teeming with life and she would enjoy the “shady” and “sunny” beaches on the Dniester.

The Lviv Gate, the last remains of the Fortress Trenches Holy Trinity.
The Lviv Gate, the last remains of the Fortress Trenches Holy Trinity.
In the 18th century, Poles defended themselves against the Russians in this church in Okopy.
In the 18th century, Poles defended themselves against the Russians in this church in Okopy.

Their commander Kazimierz Pułaski, became later a hero in the US Revolutionary War.

The escape of the Zbrucz River into the Dniester.
The escape of the Zbrucz River into the Dniester.

Former tripoint of the borders of Poland, Romania and the USSR.

Fortress in Kamieniec Podolski.
Fortress in Kamieniec Podolski.

It defended the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth against Turkey in the 16th-18th centuries

Walking through Kamieniec Podolski.
Walking through Kamieniec Podolski.
The minaret in front of the cathedral in Kamieniec, topped with a statue of the Virgin Mary.
The minaret in front of the cathedral in Kamieniec, topped with a statue of the Virgin Mary.
Castle in Chocim.
Castle in Chocim.

In the 17th century, the castle in Chocim witnessed two triumphs of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in the fights with Turkey.

The victory of Christ over the monument of gratitude to the Red Army.
The victory of Christ over the monument of gratitude to the Red Army.
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