A Last Glance Back

Galicia, Austria "The Old Country"

Many first -generation Americans knew little, if anything, about their parents' world before they came to the United States. The "old country", for children of immigrants, was simply a deep, black void…faraway and seldom mentioned. Those parents, endeavoring to become more American, or others, trying to forget bad memories of the countries they left, closed the doors to the past, never discussing their homeland again.

Lena and Adolph were exceptions. My mother spoke lovingly of her childhood, relating that she was born in Mielnitza, a town in Austria, ruled by a kindly Emperor Franz Joseph. Lena said we were Galizianers, that is, our family came from the province in Austria called Galizia/Galicia. To understand Galicia, it is necessary to go back into Polish history, specifically the 1700s.

Eastern Europe 1772  THE NY TIMES ATLAS OF THE WORLD, 1940, 3rd edition
Eastern Europe 1793  THE NY TIMES ATLAS OF THE WORLD, 1940, 3rd edition
Russia-dark green; Prussia-Beige-grey; Austria-Orange
Eastern Europe 1795  THE NY TIMES ATLAS OF THE WORLD, 1940, 3rd edition

How Poland became Poland-Lithuania
"Polish Queen Jadwiga (1374-1399, ruled from 1384 till 1399), was the daughter of Louis I, King of Hungary and Poland (Polish: Ludwik Wegierski) from the Andegawen dynasty. She was canonized very recently (1997) by the "Polish" Pope Jan Paul II. Queen Jadwiga married in 1385 Lithuanian Grand Prince Jagiello (Iogaillas) which lead to the estblishment of the Jagiellonian dynasty and The Commonwealth of The Two Nations.

Queen Jadwiga's grandfather, King Casimir III, The Great (Polish: Kazimierz Wielki) (1333-1370), the last king of Polish Piast dynasty, invited Jews to Poland after destructions of over 300 German Jewish communities, and with the Statut of Wislica (1384) he provided Jews protection from pogroms and ritual murders at the hands of the Christians.

King Casimir had been romantically involved with young and beautiful Jewish maiden. Her name was Esther (Esterka). Invitation of Ashkenazim Jews and extended to them monarch protection can be directly related to Esther activities.(1)"

"Territorial Gains and Losses in Eastern Europe (1695-1795) as a result of the break down of the Ottoman empire
During this period the Western powers began to realize that the Ottoman Empire, once the terror of Europe,was no longer an invincible force and had indeed become dangerously weak. As Austria and Russia sought advantage from the Turkish disintegration, Prussia expanded, while France and Sweden tried to maintain the traditional balance. With France increasingly paralyzed and Britain's attention concentrated beyond Europe, the Eastern powers were able to contrive the Partitions of Poland.
  1. In the First Partition (1772) Russia made relatively modest gains, Prussia annexed the territory dividing Pomerania from East Prussia except for Danzig, Austria annexed a large area to the north of Hungary including Lemberg.

  2. In (1775 ) Austria annexed Bukovina which had been part of Russia.

  3. In the Second Partition (1793), Russia annexed the entire eastern territory inhabited by Ukrainians and White Russians, while Prussia gained Danzig, Thorn, and Posen, and pushed her frontier eastwards close to Warsaw.

  4. In the final Partition (1795), Prussia annexed Warsaw itself, Austria West Galicia, including Crawcow, and Russia the remaining Polish territory, including modern Lithuania."(2)

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Compiled by Susana Leistner Bloch and Edward Rosenbaum.

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