The plots were distributed by the drawing of lots. Since the fields had been sown before the distribution of plots, it worked out that most of the men had sown the fields of their colleagues, often at the other end of the settlement. They had to wait until after the harvest to work their own fields. The soil was good with a clay base, requiring a specific type of cultivation.
The crowning effort of all the settlers but primarily of the Osada Krechowiecka was the building of a church in the Karłowszczyzna Range. Some of the people of neighbouring settlements and villages helped to transport the necessary stones. The church was built and consecrated for the use of the parish in 1937. A memorable and significant event took place in May 1939 when a copy of the picture of Our Lady of Częstochowa was brought from Jasna Góra and installed in the settlement church. We did not know then that this was the last joyful community celebration on the Osada Krechowiecka before the outbreak of WW II.
Translation from the book
Z Kresów Wschodnich R.P. Wspomnienia z Osad Wojskowych 1921-1940
(From The Eastern Borderlands of Poland, Memories of Military Settlements 1921-1940)
Pub: Ognisko Rodzin Osadników Kresowych (OROK) (Association of the Families of the Borderland Settlers)
London, UK. 1992 and 1998
ISBN 1 872286 33 X
DANUTA GRADOSIELSKA (MĄCZKA)
Gm (Tuczyn) Aleksandria, Pow Równe, Woj Wołyńskie
Poland regained her independence in 1918 but our forefathers fought Soviet Russia for our eastern borderlands until September 1920.
A government act was immediately passed on 17 December 1920 to grant land to the soldiers of the Polish armed forces. The Treaty of Riga was signed on 18 March 1921 when the eastern borders of Poland were established. Shortly thereafter began the demobilisation of soldiers qualified to receive lands in the Eastern Borderlands of the Republic of Poland.
In the Spring of 1921, 102 soldiers of the 1st Regiment of the Krechowce Lancers (Ułani Krechowieccy) celebrated the last Easter holiday in their headquarters. A week later they set out from Hrubieszów by train on their way to Wołyń. In the military tradition, wearing very worn out uniforms, they travelled in freight cars together with their horses, swords and saddles.
The regiment allocated them several wagons, two field kitchens, some small tools but no farm tools or farm equipment. The Krechowce settlers were guaranteed two months' provisions for their people and six months' feed for the horses of the garrison from the town of Równe lying 16km from the Osada Krechowiecka. The soldiers of the Krechowce Regiment were going to Wołyń to start a new life on their own land. The hard labour of pioneers awaited them on the parcels of land granted them for free “for the defence of the borders of the Homeland”.
The settlers arrived in Wołyń on 5 April 1921. Because the land allotted to them was virgin land, they temporarily quartered themselves in the village of Horyńgród. The soldiers’ first activity was to appoint an executive for the “Work Detail” with the following positions: supplies manager, office manager and treasurer. Because the conditions were primitive, the soldiers left Horyńgród in stages, gradually moving to villages such as Szubków and Remel that were situated closer to their land.
The area designated for the group of soldiers of the Krechowce Regiment lay near Szubków on the left bank of the River Horyń and consisted of subdivided Polish estates. Once the land had been a military training camp (artillery) but now it lay fallow and overgrown by weeds.
After a time, one group of the Krechowce veterans moved into several empty barracks in a wood called the Karłowszczyzna Range. The veterans lived in groups, working as a team helping each other, sharing a common kitchen, building sod houses together, etc.
As of 1 September 1921, the army ceased allocating provisions to the units of settlers. From that point they were on their own. Some got assistance from their families; others who got married were bailed out by the dowries of their wives. There were very few that fortunate that first year.
Soon, groups of surveyors began to establish the boundaries of the individual plots. This exercise took some time and a lot of hard work. All the calculations were completed by the Autumn of 1922. The settlement was approximately 1,500 hectares. The Osada Krechowiecka (taken from the name of the regiment) was comprised of two training farms of 45 hectares each, 85 regular farms of between 11 and 13 hectares each and two meadows of two hectares each. There were also plots for public use - the Karłowszczyzna Wood of 200 hectares and four hectares for the settlement community centre and school.
Because the 1st Regiment of Krechowce Lancers had been granted land for 102 settlers within the County of Równe, it was allocated an additional 200+ hectares. This area lay on the main road to Równe, about 6–7km from Osada Krechowiecka near the villages of Wielki Żytyń and Horodyszcze. It consisted of two plots: one plot of 45 hectares designated for instruction in farming and a smaller plot for 19 non-commissioned officers of the Krechowce regiment. They established an independent unit of 20 farms called Bolesławice. The name derived from the first commander of the 1st Regiment of the Krechowce Lancers whose name was Bolesław Mościcki. This group remained in close contact with the Osada Krechowiecka.
When all the plots in the settlement were defined, the work detail was disbanded. Then all property acquired with communal resources, such as tools, equipment, carts, etc., was distributed among the settlers. Additional horses sent by the regiment were paired off and distributed among the settlers by the drawing of lots.
After the disbandment of the work detail, a general meeting of the settlers was called to elect by democratic process four members of the executive of the new Osada Krechowiecka. The following positions were filled: the director, treasurer, manager of the settlement and secretary.
Along the 5km northern border of the Osada Krechowiecka was a federally-owned forest. The settlement was bisected by the wide, straight, well-travelled road from Równe to Tuczyn. Many country roads led from this main road to various villages, such as Żytyń, Aleksandria, Remel, Szubków, Koźlin, Horyńgród, etc. These were large villages (the largest of which was Koźlin with 1,200 people) whose inhabitants were assimilated into the prevailing Ruthenian and Ukrainian culture. There were a number of unpleasant incidents involving the local population in the initial years of the Osada Krechowiecka. The cause of these problems was an attitude of hostility and distrust on the part of the locals towards the settlers. With the passage of years, relations improved between the two groups and in some instances there was even reciprocal co-operation and respect.
To the east and south, the Osada Krechowiecka bordered on Osada Hallerowo sharing a small part of the southern border with Osada Jazłowiecka. The rest of the southern border it shared with the Osada Bajonówka. These were all military settlements. The village of Żytyń lay to the south and further south was the county seat of Równe. In the direction of the wood, there were 20 five-hectare civilian plots whose owners maintained close ties with the settlement immediately on their border. The Osada Krechowiecka was larger in territory and population than any of the above-mentioned settlements.
The beginnings of the settlement were very difficult. Many people lived in sod houses. They started by digging wells and building their homes. The men worked together in small groups to hasten the work so that they could take up residence on their own plots as quickly as possible. Many of the settlers had no idea how to cultivate the land. Agriculture courses were organized to remedy this situation. Then the settlers began to put into action the settlement’s cultivation plan. They planted fruit-bearing and decorative plants, as well as vegetable gardens. In 1923, the first agricultural association in the county of Równe was established at the Osada Krechowiecka.
The Settlement celebrated its 10th anniversary in 1931. A delegation from the 1st Regiment of the Krechowce Lancers in Augustów attended, as well as associated veterans of the regiment. A gala dinner for several hundred people was held at which the following poem was recited by the children of the settlement:
Ten years ago – there was nothing here
I was not here, and neither were you or nor he
Only the wind howled in the empty field
And the sad sun journeyed across the sky.
Then came our daddies;
Each one sowed and ploughed and built a home,
Then, everyone brought their wives.
Now they have many sons and daughters,
And we will work for the common good
And we raise now our children’s voices and shout:
“All for our homeland!!! All for our settlement!!!”
From the beginning of the 1930s, the settlement was in full bloom economically and organizationally. The settlement community centre housed the school, the central dairy, a room for making sauerkraut, a post office with telephone operator, a branch of the Kasa Stefczyka (the national farmers’ co-operative bank), a co-operative shop and a warehouse for grain. Also, the offices of all executives and organizations: The Farmers’ Association, the various breeders’ alliances, the Village Housewives’ Association, youth organizations such as Brownies, Guides and Scouts, the executive of the settlement itself and living quarters for the head mistress of the school.
The settlement was bisected by a good road from Równe to Tuczyn where there was a bus route. The beautiful orchards, plantations of sugar beets, tobacco, the ponds full of fish and the herds of cattle and flocks of fowl were all evidence of the increasing prosperity of the settlers. The common effort of the settlers was bearing fruit.
The local population in the neighbouring villages also benefited from the presence of the settlers: the locals found work on the farms, the neighbouring farmers gained access to improved breeds of cattle and fowl, better types of grains and new seeds for onions, celery, etc.
The ladies of the settlement, who were members of the Village Housewives Association, ran the library, organized social meetings and dances, as well as assemblies to honour anniversaries. They also provided courses in child-raising and hygiene. Their greatest single accomplishment was getting a health centre with living quarters for a nurse to live in, built in the Karłowszczyzna area. This was done with the help of the Red Cross. The Health Centre housed a medical clinic, a dental office and a counselling service for mothers and children. A doctor came to the settlement twice a week to see the sick settlers and their children in the examining rooms made available to him at the health centre.
All the posts in the settlement and the area were voluntarily occupied by settlers. Some of the settlers rented out their farms and only visited them, usually during their vacations. There were those settlers who rented farms to their colleagues. In such cases they worked two and sometimes three farms.
All the settlers worked as a group for their ideals and the common good. A neighbourly, friendly atmosphere of solidarity always prevailed in the settlement, where help was available for every need. In recognition of their service, the Regimental Standard was honoured with the order of Polonia Restituta in 1938.
The outbreak of WW II and the invasion of the Eastern Borderlands by the USSR was a shock to everyone. Then on 10 February 1940 came the expulsion and forced relocation of the Polish population (chiefly the veterans and their families) to the forests of Siberia and the steppes of Kazakhstan. The chapter of the history of the settlement of the Eastern Borderlands of the Polish Republic had now come to a close…
All that remains are our memories, of happy childhood years at the Osada Krechowiecka.
Personal memories from Osada Krechowiecka
By then most of the settlers were married and the settlement was developing well. A great deal was accomplished by common effort. A dairy operated in a home rented from one of the settlers. A school was established in the home of another settler. The needs of the settlement were many. Construction of a community centre was begun in 1929 when all the settlers helped to transport the necessary materials. A loan from the National Agricultural Bank made possible the completion by the end of that year. The settlement school was relocated to the community centre. Classes were added as children arrived in the settlement to a limit of seven classes, totalling 240 children. The teaching staff grew accordingly. The headmistress of the school from the beginning to the end was Miss Maria Klossówna.
The first and only parish priest was Father Jan Kąkol.
Plan of Osada Krechowiecka (click to enlarge)
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