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
PROVINCE (WOJEWÓDZTWO) WOŁYŃ
JADWIGA PAWŁOWICZ nee PLECIAK
Postal District (poczta) Tuczyn
District (Powiat) Równe
My parents came from western Poland – from Kalisz and Łódź. My father was a volunteer in the Polish army and was awarded a Gallantry Cross during the Polish war of liberation [Ed. note: The war against the Bolsheviks in 1918-20].
On receiving a plot of land at Hallerowo settlement – in 1922 I believe – he immediately set about building a cabin [Ed. note: The term used is ziemianka which here is used to mean a cabin built by excavating an earth-floored cellar or basement room and then building a log cabin on top.] with the help of settler neighbours. I was born in that very cabin and after a couple of years so was my brother. Subsequent births were in the new house, which was probably built in 1928 with the aid of a government loan received by all the settlers. There were then five of us children. Life was not easy in those times, but the settlers helped each other and the crops produced from the soil were not bad.
On our 14 hectare [Ed. note: One hectare is 10,000 sq m or about 2.5 acres.] plot my father would sow wheat, rye, oats, barley, buckwheat, millet, rapeseed for oil, and planted potatoes, sugar beet and tobacco. The sugar beet and tobacco were a government project.
My mother looked after the garden, in which she planted a variety of vegetables. We also had chickens which laid eggs not only in the coop but also in all sorts of other places by the house, in the cereals and the bushes.
We had a few cows and horses as well as breeding pigs, one of which would be fattened for Christmas or Easter. My father would salt pork in a barrel, which was stored in the cellar. One of the neighbours who knew about preserving meat would usually help in dividing up the pig. Sausage, black pudding, brawn and pâté would be made. Then it was all divided up between this and that close neighbour who would reciprocate the following year.
In due course, my parents picked up meat preserving skills and were then able to manage everything themselves except for slaughtering the porker.
Our settlement numbered 50 settlers. As far as I can remember, a few worked outside the settlement, probably in offices in Równe or Tuczyn.
Our first school was in the house of the Krajewski family and at first, had only one class and an indeterminate number of children. A new school was built by the cooperative efforts of the settlers in about 1930. Later, as the families grew larger, a larger building was added in which there were further classes, and that is how our 7-class school emerged. That building contained not only classrooms but in addition accommodation for teachers, a library, a dairy, a bakery and a little shop. Our school was well organised and the academic standard was high. Scout troops were formed, and there were various excursions to places near and far.
Up to 1937 we used to go to Horyńgrod for Holy Mass on Sundays and other religious festivals. It was several kilometres on foot across fields, furrows and paths. That is also where I received my First Holy Communion. I loved that little chapel very much – it had a lot of charm, but unfortunately it was too small to accommodate the growing settlement population. After the construction of a new church in 1937 in the Karlowszczyzna woods, it was nearer for us to walk to services. This was an ideal place in every respect – the church was near the road which went through Hallerowo settlement from Szubkow and Tuczyn and ran through Osada Krechowiecka to Równe. The construction of the church was the combined effort of all the nearby settlements such as Krechowiecka (the biggest settlement and which put in the most work), Hallerowo, Bajonówka, Jazłowiecka and Zalesie.
The women settlers organised Village Housewives Associations and ran courses on sewing, cooking, baking and so on. The women also met at meetings to debate matters that affected the settlement. Beyond the woods, a few kilometres from us, there was a long belt of meadows by the River Horyń which were divided up amongst the settlers. In the summer my father would drive there in a carriage for the haymaking and very often he would take us children. It was absolutely beautiful there – on one side the woods, then the meadow and beyond the meadow the river. Usually, at Whitsun, the whole family would drive out there with bread, cold meats and cold drinks. We would spend the whole day outdoors. Those were the most beautiful days of my life and I dream of them to this day.