According to my parents, my father Wojciech Węglarz came from Żywiec in the province of Kraków. He joined the army in 1914 but was later held in captivity in Russia in Podolia [Ed. note: located in the west-central and south-western parts of Ukraine and in northeastern Moldova], where he met my mother, Domicela Wiktoria née Łozowska. The wandering soldier won the girl's heart and, despite her parents' protests, they got married. My father returned to Poland after the end of the war, and soon his mother joined him. He received a 14-hectare plot of land in the Wola Wilsona settlement, created by the parcelling of the Kniażyna estate. 43 other settlers received similar plots.
The beginnings were very difficult as not everyone had experience of agriculture. Before the settlers could decide where to start to make a living, they had to be patient and first build dugouts or shelters.
After a short time, the settlers were granted a state loan, which helped in the purchase of agricultural equipment. They started to build houses, mostly of clay and straw. The roofs were usually covered with straw. In the beginning, water was brought in barrels from villages nearby, but before long each had his own well.
Our settlement was developed along the route Wiśniowiec-Zbaraż, about 2.5 km from Wiśniowiec, and 14 km from Zbaraż. In the middle of the settlement by the main road was a brick cross, next to which the Community Centre was built where a 4-grade elementary school was located. The headteacher of the school was Mrs M. Korylciowa, much liked by her students and the settlers. In the Community Centre there was also a social meeting hall where performances, games and meetings were held. There was also a small shop with basic necessities such as sugar, salt, yeast, candies, etc., for which you could pay with other items, such as eggs, butter or cheese. The shop was run by Ludwik Klimczyk. After completing four years of school, the children could continue their further education in Wiśniowiec until the seventh grade.
There were five of us in my family. The eldest brother, Stanisław, stayed with the Fuliński family in Lwów during the war from where he smuggled our soldiers across the Polish-Romanian border. My brother's work ended very tragically, when on one expedition he was captured by the Ukrainians and cruelly cut into pieces in the forest. I didn't receive this sad news until 1945-46 from Romek Pitera from our settlement.
The Union of Military Settlers was established in Krzemień. Its founder was lieutenant Wnęk, a man of extremely noble character, offering advice and help to all and very devoted to settlers' matters.
The secretary of the Union was Julian Nowak who also dealt positively with settlers' affairs and problems of which there were many. My parents received great help from lieutenant Wnęk in hastening the receipt of compensation when our first house burned down. The replacement domestic building was brick-built with a red-tiled roof. There were also other farm buildings, such as a barn, a stable and a shed for cattle and pigs. There were two large horses - chestnut and grey - a couple of cows and poultry, as well as a lot of geese.
The external appearance of the settlement changed. There were beautiful front gardens full of flowers, vegetable gardens and extensive orchards full of young fruit trees, especially cherries. In addition to farming, some settlers had licenses to grow tobacco. My father farmed tobacco, and he also planted sugar beet. During the harvest it was difficult to do all the work on his own, so for this period my father brought people to help from the neighbouring villages of Rakowiec and Fedkowiec.
Unfortunately, the outbreak of the war in 1939, followed by the events of February 10, 1940 put an end to our parents’ many years of hard but creative work.
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) WOŁYŃ
HELENA MOCZULSKA (WĘGLARZ)
OSADA WOLA WILSONA
Community (Gmina) Wiśniowiec
District (Powiat) Krzemieniec
Kresy Family group
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