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 (out of print)
ISBN 1 872286 33 X
Province (Województwo) POLESIE
IRENA ORZEŁ (KUJAWA)
Community (Gmina) Wołczyn
District (Powiat) Brześć n. Bugiem
My settlement, Stawy, was located about 25 kilometres away from Brześć on the river Bug. It was inhabited by 29 male settlers. Some of them arrived with families and others married local girls.
We used to go to the neighbouring village Ogrodniki, to the church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, where every year on August 15 there was a big church fair, for which people arrived from near and far away, because it was a big feast in the parish.
The settlers’ children went to school to the village of Stawy, about two kilometres away from the settlement. It was a four-class public school. Stawy village was inhabited by Belarusians with whom relations were relatively good.
The village administration centre of Wołczyn, five km away from the settlement, was the place to go for all economic and administrative matters, such as taxes, certificates, and others. There were a few shops there, but all of them were owned by Jews. For markets we went to Janów Podlaski or to Wysock, which was about 15 km from the settlement. To get to Janów Podlaski, 12 km away, you had to cross the Bug River, but there was no bridge there, so you crossed the river by ferry.
We could only dream about a cultural life in the settlement with the exception of the meetings of the Settlers Association, because such an association existed in Stawy. The meetings were held in private houses of the settlers. The chairman of the association wrote a notice where the meeting would be held, stating the place, date, and time. Such a notice had to be signed and taken to the nearest neighbour, and that neighbour to the next, until the notice reached everyone.
In 1937, the settler Michał Plewiński donated the land for the construction of our own “Settler’s House”, where the cultural life could be centred. The plan was realised and in 1938, with a joint effort, the construction of the building, which was also to house the fire brigade, was started. It was consecrated in June 1939.
As we know, in September the same year war broke out and unfortunately, the settlers did not experience any benefit or joy from their hard work.