The editorial committee appointed to oversee the planning of the book decided to publish all the reminiscences sent to them, in all 128, of which 12 were written by surviving settlers or their wives. These last-mentioned twelve reminiscences are to be found in the first section of the book. The remaining chapters contain the reminiscences of children of the settlers organized according to the Województwo (Province) where their settlements were located. All the articles refer to osadnictwo wojskowe (settlements of military origin) with the exception of four articles that deal with osadnictwo ciwilne (civilian settlements). Most of the reminiscences are from the Województwo of Wolyń (71%) with 18% from the Białystok-Nowogródek region and 15% from the Polesie area and 3% from the Wilno (Vilnius) area. The text of the articles is preserved in its original form, omitting only those parts that do not relate to the Settlement Program.


​T H E   H I S T O R Y    O F   K R E S Y
Osady - Military Settlements 1921-1940​​​

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 



The military settlement (osadnictwo wojskowe) of the Eastern Borderlands has a permanent place in the history of the Second Republic of Poland though its effect was limited to a group of people of approximately 9,000 soldiers who served their country in the battle for independence during the period of 1914-1920. The idea of settlements in the Borderlands was born in the hot days of August 1920 and received legal backing through a bill passed by the Sejm (Parliament) on 17 December of that same year.

The original purpose of the Land Act was to ensure a buffer zone between Poland and the Soviets was created and settled with men who had not only patriotically served Poland in the Polish-Soviet War, but those with hardened battlefield experience who could be mobilised at short notice; that then became the premise for the deportations which were aimed at reducing Poland's ability to defend itself.

Extracts from the Act of the Parliament of the Republic of Poland 
ACT  1 17 December 1920

regarding acquisition of land in certain districts of the Republic of Poland into State ownership
Article 6. ​This Act applies in the following districts in accordance with the administrative divisions

used to date:
1) Brześć, 2) Prużana, 3) Wołkowysk, 4) Słonin, 5) Nowogródek, 6) Baranowicze,

7) Wilejka, 8) Dzisna, 9) Nieśwież, 10) Łuniniec, 11) Pińsk, 12) Kobryń, 13) Włodzimierz,

14) Kowel, 15) Łuck, 16) Równe, 17) Dubno, 18) Sarny, 19) Krzemieniec, 20) Ostroga,

21) Grodno, 22) Lida.

(Ed note: i.e. 5 voivodeships (Wilno, Białystok, Nowogródek, Polesie, Wołyn)

ACT  2 17 December 1920 

regarding the granting of land to soldiers of the Polish Army
Article 2. The following shall be entitled to be given land given at no cost           
        a)  war invalids and Polish army soldiers who particularly distinguished themselves,          
        b)  volunteer soldiers to the Polish army who served on the front.
Article 3. All other invalids and soldiers capable of agricultural work may purchase land depending on availability.                                         

Link to full texts of Act 1 and 2 (Ustawy)

Link to an Akt Nadawczy - Deed of Land Endowment

The bill soon met with aggressive opposition in the Sejm as well as attacks from the press. Various groups that criticized this legislation, which was supported by Józef Piłsudski, (Marshal Piłsudski was Military dictator of Poland at the time) saw in the military settlement of the Borderlands a threat to their political and/or economic agendas. 

This law ended on 28 Dec 1923. A new law in March 1932 gave ex-soldiers the priority in purchasing land. Settlers in the 2 southern voivodeships were those who purchased land after 1932 in the framework of the land reform and officially were recognised as “cywilne osady”, civilian settlements, often called “kolonie”.

The living conditions of the settlers were extremely difficult in the first few years. The plots that were granted them were often overgrown with weeds and generally devastated by war and with no buildings on them. The settlers often lacked the most primitive agricultural tools and equipment at a time when soldiers’ pockets were empty.

With the passage of time, the situation of the soldiers improved. By the 1930s, articles in the newspapers assessed the accomplishments of the settlers and their positive role in the Borderlands favourably and sometimes even enthusiastically. In the east where many ethnic groups such as Poles, Ukrainians, Belarusians and Jews, as well as other smaller minorities came together as in a crucible, the settlers managed to coexist with the local population based on the principle of being good neighbours, rather than the relationship of “Polish Lord” to the Ukrainian or Belarusian “Peasant”.

The invasion by the Soviets onto Polish territory destroyed the Settlement of the Borderlands movement. The settlers and their families, with few exceptions, were forcibly deported into the heart of the inhuman Soviet land where they were decimated by disease and hunger. Some of them escaped to the free world in 1942 with the army of General Anders, but most of them only returned to their homeland after the end of the war. The settlers and their children were scattered all over the world.  

At the initiative of the children of Osada Krechowiecka in Wołyń, the first meeting of osadnicy (settlers) and their children was organized in 1983 in the scout hostel in Fenton, Lincolnshire. It was at this time that the OROK (Ognisko Rodzin Osadnikow Kresowych) (Association of Military Settlers of Kresy) came into being with Czesław Pukacz, an osadnik at Osada Krechowiecka as its first president. From that time onward, annual meetings of the settlers and their families have taken place in Fenton in September, and from 1990, also in London in February/March. The love of their settlements, as well as the admiration and respect for their parents’ pioneering work, have led the members of the Association to publish the reminiscences of the “younger” generation of the settlers in the form of a book.

Source materials about the subject of the osady are sparse. The extensive archive of the Związek Osadników (Settlers’ Union) in Warsaw was destroyed during the German occupation and the fate of the archives of the various Województwa (Provinces) and Powiat (counties) of the Związek Osadników which ended up in the hands of the Soviets, are still unknown to this point in time. Some documents relating to the Settlement Program can be found in the Centralny Archiwum Wojskowy (Central Military Archive) in Rembert and the Archiwum Akt Nowych (Archive of New Records) in Warsaw. Some periodicals of the Settlement Program have survived in Warsaw libraries. These include: Osadnik (1923-25), Rolnik i Zagroda (1925-29), Miesięcznik Osadniczy (1929-31), and the weekly Rolnik i Zagroda which resumed publication in 1938, as well as the reports of the activities of the Związek Osadników for the years 1931-33, 1933-35 and 1935-37.

In these circumstances, the reminiscences of the sons and daughters of the settlers contained in this book are an additional resource and constitute a valuable contribution to the history of the settlement program, as well as providing a window onto life in the Borderlands in that era. It is true that the authors of these reminiscences have reached back to a time of their lives more than 50 years ago, but this was the time of their carefree childhood days which were tragically interrupted by their deportation to Siberia. As a result, that time has remained frozen in their memories, preserving the freshness of a good photograph. These memories have undoubtedly been supplemented by the stories told by their parents who by talking about the difficult early days of the settlements, strove to evoke in their children pride in the accomplishments of their parents, as well as in their osada origins.

Osadnik list showing osady and settlers' names is on our research page 

Plans of osady
OROK (Ognisko Rodzin Osadników Kresowych) - a short history

Pre-war  Memories from military settlements


(Click links on left.  Translations of the remaining recollections are in progress and will be uploaded in due course)

art nrName of Osada



Name of author




Klemens RudnickiReflections on the Settlement Programme and its legacy written by Gen. Rudnicki in Antokol, 1992, a few months before he died.

History of Military Settlement

in the Eastern Borderlands

Janina SmogorzewskaStobniak A study of the economic, social and political context of the military settlements that is evidenced by the individual accounts below.

004Radziwiłłów-BemowoWołyńPiotr Jankowski
The story of hardships and working together to develop virgin land but also of a week-long relay horse race.
005Rejmontów WołyńAnna Bielińska
A newly married couple leave for their honeymoon to start life on a settlement.
Wola Korybutowiecka 
Marta Korszańska

A wife recalls the social life in the settlement whilst building a future. 
007ReymontowiczeWołynJózef Malczyk
We had to go through a truly pioneering period of self-denial, perseverance, and conviction in our mission to secure the Polish borderlands.
008SzwoleżerówkaWołynZofia Brochwicz-Lewińska
Written by the wife of a settler who lovingly describes the place she prefers to any other.
Aleksandra Nowicki
A settler after conscription into the Russian army, volunteered in Piłsudki’s legions and contributed to victory at Lida over the Bolsheviks.
010KluczNowogródekJózef Wysocki
Drafted into the Russian Army, captured by the Germans, Wysocki fought for a free Poland but civilian life was not easy. 
011Granatów, Lispotadówka, Krzemienice
WołynB. Łozowski
Recollections of various osady in the Chorów district by an 86 year old settler
012LachówWołynJulia Prochorowicz
A list of settlers drawn up by the wife of a settler.
T. C. Kryński
Making a living from the land amongst Belarusian and Ukrainian villages.

Cezarówka Proszowa,




Antonina Nowakowska

primo voto Zapiór

ZychRecollections from , not only the daughter but also the wife of settler,  who inherited the land from his father.
015KarolinowoWilnoHalina KurczawaZwierchowskaThe parents instilled in their children the motto "For you Poland and for your glory".
Bolesław Polnik

Boyhood memories of home in Kresy.
017 RżawkaWilnoLudmiła GutowskaStopaThe smallest osada worked by two brothers following their military service
018RokitnoBiałystokWładysław Przygoński
A military settler from Kresy who spent 30 years in Canada but died in Poland
019ŻydomlaBiałystokAlicja PolaninOrechwaA soldier awarded the Virtuti Militari in the Battle for Warsaw, settles in Kresy but ends up with a family of 4 generations in Chicago.
Zofia SzymanGórskaA daughter of settler family reminisces of her life in the osada.
021AdampolNowogródzkieJózef Rojek
A survivor recalls life as a 12-year-old and dreams of returning to Adampol to dig up treasured possessions.
Adam Wojtowicz
A short account with a list of settler families.
Bolesław Trojanowski
A short account with a list of settler families.
Henryk Madany
A small settlement of seven families.
026KajszówskaNowogródzkieBolesław Turowicz
A very brief overview
​Alicja Jankowska
RozwadowskaEight childhood years in this settlement formed a lifelong love expressed in the words of a national poet.
Bogdan Trybuchowski
Includes excerpts from Bogdan Trybuchowski’s book Polskie Drogi 1940-2000 (Polish Trails) with more information from this author.
029Mały Olżew, SzczytnikiNowogródzkie
Alina KawulokDrozdowskaLife on the estate that had been confiscated by Russia in 1863 but reclaimed by Polish settlers in 1920.
030NatalinNowogródzkieJanos Kranodębski
- - - -


Feliks Wdowczyk

 This family of eight children farmed the land and owned a restaurant but faced local communists who burnt settler’s barns.
Stanisław Świercz

Colourful  anecdotes in this account of life on a settlement.
034ChlewiszczePolesieHalina Papowszek


Settlers regarded by local population as the “salt of Poland”.


The author tells of relationships with other nationalities in the area.
PolesieMaria WylotWoźniakAs in the song "The Spell of Polesie", life in the settlement has a charm of its own. 
037 ChylinPolesieWiktor Staniaszek
Describes life in a remote settlement with few facilities and subject to annual flooding.
038ChylinPolesieR Staniaszek
An account of an agricultural livelihood on a smallholding
039KopańPolesieMaria DoleckaKrólikowskaThe author remembers many of the settlers and their roles within this settlement.
040OsownicaPolesieJadwiga DabrowskaKortaBirthplace of a  Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs.







Tadeusz Kralski

​Henryk Nowicki

Two descriptions of a small settlement on land once owned by Eliza Orzeszowska, (1841 - 1910) a Polish novelist and  writer.
043StawyPolesieIrena OrzelKujawaA remote settlement  with no facilities of its own until June 1939
044TrebiezówPolesieHalina Szulc
SobockaA family devoted to settler’s issues and involved with the community on a settlement with an abundance of snakes.

048AntoninWołyńAleksandra RymaszewskaJarmulskaSixteen families and some of their fates.
Genowefa KwiecińskaStaniszewskaAmid many executions, Staniszewski was saved by  Ukrainians.
Krystyna Ostrowska Chyży
A young girl taken on a journey to collect, for the new church, a copy of the "miraculous" image of Our Lady of Częstochowa .
051BajonówkaWołynGenowefa ŁackaNosek

Of a family of nine, only the author survived Siberia.

055ChorówWołyńJadwiga MarkiewiczWinnickaA community where everyone spoke Polish and Ukrainian.
056ChrobrowiczeWołyńL. RybackaGrzeszkiewicz"Wołyń.....was in my mind the closest description of Heaven."
057ChrobrówWołyńIrena RyduchowskaMatkowska"I lived at that time like “a hare under alert”






Grazyna Dabrowska

Wiesława Chmura 



​Two short accounts of the osada by survivors who were young children at that time.
061DrozdówWołyńTeresa PalejDomalgalskaTales of settlers who didn't get on well with each other.
062HallerowoWołyńZofia Bronowicka


Zofia describes childhood dreams dashed by war and deportation .
063HallerowoWołyńJadwiga PawłowiczPleciakBorn in an earthen cabin, Jadwiga dreams of the most beautiful days of her life with summer picnics in beautiful meadows.
064HallerowoWołyńIrena RybiczonekBudzyńBountiful orchards planted by settlers and a visit by General Haller after whom the settlement was named.
Mieczysław Więckowski

A courageous widow defends her property from thieves.

068JanówkaWołyńTadeusz Walczak

This story features a number of photographs of people who lived on the settlement.

L. Cabut
Settlers built a new church and with donations such as wedding rings purchased a replica of the Częstochowa Black Madonna.
WołyńKarol Olszewski
Tales of old die-hards of the 14th Jazłowiec Lancers Regiment whose "selfless efforts ...just burst like a bubble of soap”.

Józef Pajdowski

Irena Bieżańska


From the wilderness to a model farm in 16 years but then the Soviets took all of the horses and destroyed everything.
076 KościuszkoWołyń

Jerzy Kondziela

​Alicja Kondziela


A detailed description of the location, social makeup and community life from the arrival of the first pioneers until the War.







Danuta Gradosielska 

Danuta Gradosielska



Danuta describes the organisation of the settlement and her life and family who lived there.

Jan Kulik
The eldest brother of five describes life for his family.
080Krechowiecka WołyńJanina MisikGóralJanina spent school holidays with her Aunt and Uncle here.
081KrechowieckaWołyńCzesław Pukacz
A detailed recollection, honouring parents whose example taught their children work ethic, love of nation and how to be productive.
082KurhanyWołyńMaria KruczkiewiczKacperskaA  settlement with many connections to graves.
083KurhanyWołyńStefania Borowy
KacperskaDetailed list of settlers and the day to day life on the settlement
084Kurhany and ChorówWołyń

Stefania Borowy

Stanisław Borowy

KacperskaStories of soldiers of the 21st Infantry Division settled amidst local Poles and Ukrainians.

ListopadówkaWołyńE.P.BrzezińskiHe writes - ​to remind those that come after us that our fathers and we lived there. It was our home and our land. It was Poland.
Jadwiga OsostowiczWnękA settler who took a Philosophy Masters degree, was Chairman of the Settler’s Association, became an MP and whose freedom was pleaded by local Ruthenians and Jews.
087MaczkowceWołyńZofia Repa


Memories that bring on tears.
088MaczkowceWołyńBronisław Wawrzkowicz
Extensive descriptions and photos of the settlement.
090NarutowiczeWołyńJanina Walbach Warzecha

A short account of this Osada

091NawózWołyńZdzisław MichalskiA settler whose family possessions are on display in a museum
OstrówWołyńZyta SzulejewskaRzehakA brief description of the settlement as Zyta was very young
095PiłsudczankaWołyńMaria FilonOleśShort account from the eldest daughter, the only survivor from a family of seven.
Józef Ćwirko
"Even now, during lucky chance encounters, we greet each other like neighbours."
097PomorzankaWołyńTeresa RafalątMiłoszewska"Now, even after so many years of exile... I can still see a picture of my happy childhood."
099RadziwiłłówWołynAlina ŻbikowskaMusiałA family whose three men were taken by the whirlwind of war
Dorota JasińskaJaroszTales of a settlement with uneasy relationships
Eugenia ZakładaPopsowska
“ was a barren land, but they left  behind beautiful houses, farms, orchards, and churches."
Rozalia GordonReich“If not for WW II, what a vibrant, rich Polish culture would have pulsated on the soil of Wołyń!”
Krystyna Walak
“In such a short time, they accomplished so much and had such wonderful plans for the future.”
115SzyłyWołyńJerzy Rzegota-Januszajtis

A dismissed General wins respect from local Ruthenians and settlers.  His actions save workers from an out-of-control bull.

116 TeklówkaWołyńJanina KruszewskaPawlikJanina describes her family and includes many photos of the settlement.
Tadeusz Lachowski

Wreaths of flowers were floated down the river in the moonlight during May celebrations and people danced until midnight.
118 Ułanowice


Short description of the settlement and the names and fates of the settlers.
119UłanówkaWołyńHalina BąbikRafałA fascinating history  of men from Jaworski’s cavalry; heroes who earned distinctions in the war with the Bolsheviks.
Henryka LappoUtnikA detailed description the life of a young girl on this settlement.
121WielkopolankaWołyńKażimierzGrubczakHis certificate in support of an application for the Cross of Independence lists the campaigns he fought.
123Wola KorybutowieckaWołyńMaria Krystyna KalagaCieślinkiewicz​Detailed description of settlement including a list of settlers and plot numbers.
124Wola PiłsudskiegoWołyńTeofila RachelKowalska

Rachel describes a settlement of thirty families with rivalry between cavalrymen and infantrymen. 
127Wola WilsonaWołyń
Helena MoczulskaWęglarzA short  description of life  on the Osada including a list of settlers.
128WółczekWolyńGenowefa GuzewiczSzymańskaWitold Szymański’s (129 below) sister Genowefa recounts her memories of the osada she calls 'heaven'.
Witold Szymański

An account of the inspiration for the settlement name and the deep-felt longing for the life long gone - “remembering my childhood, I write about it for the next generation”.

133Education and Formation of Settler Children
Magister Danuta Marszlik-Lubanowska
Reminiscences of working in the Settlers Union Lower Secondary School in Równe from September 1937 until February 1940.
134Act of Parliament I 1920 Regarding land grants
Translated text of the Acts of the Parliament of the Republic of Poland.
135Act of Parliament II 1920 Regarding land grants


Regina WalczakSobierajA story dedicated to a mother who, on her own in subhuman conditions and at the price of self-denials and sufferings, managed to save the family from death.
137ArmatniówWołyńHelen B CheekKoziołA settler who was a good husband and a passionate beekeeper, written by his only daughter.

140"Young Settler's Hymn"WołyńEwa Olszewska
A call to solidarity and endeavour.
141"Uściług in Wołyn"WołyńEwa Olszewska
Poem about a home town that dates prior to 1240  when it was destroyed by Mongols.
142Kresy” and "Miedza"Wołyń 
Ewa OlszewskaPszczółkowskaTwo poems - the Kresy tragedy and walking through the fields.

Back to Recollections page

click to enlarge the cover​

Poland 1930 Administrative Regions

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