Fire Marks from the Kraków Mutual Insurance Society

Shortly before the full-scale war started, I was working on an article about fire insurance companies that worked in Lviv (Lwów / Lemberg) in Austrian times. Thanks to this, I had learned about the Kraków Mutual Insurance Society and knew that their former headquarters still stood in Kraków. Thus some […]

Read More

The Lost Jewish Cemeteries of Lviv

While many old Jewish cemeteries still remain around Galicia, the same cannot be said of the Jewish burial grounds in Lviv (Lemberg / Lwów). Only found fragments of their ancient tombstones (matzevah) — which were used by the Nazis and Soviets as pavement and building material — remind us of […]

‘Obezpechyla Azienda’: Lviv’s Prewar Ukrainian-Language Fire Mark

I started working on this article in February 2022, shortly before the war started and before I ended up in Kraków for several months. *** Every day I walk to work across Lviv’s Old Town, passing Rynok Square right in front of the city hall building, down Ruska Street, then […]

‘Zhuravli’: The Galician Funeral Song

I recently discovered that one of my favorite Sich Riflemen (a Ukrainian unit within the Austro-Hungarian Army during WWI) songs, “Chuyesh, brate miy” AKA “Vydysh, brate miy” (Do you hear, my brother), was written in Kraków. It turns out that the song was based on a poem called “Zhuravli” (Cranes) written by […]

German-Era Bomb Shelter Signs in Kraków

One of the obsolete remnants of the past has again become relevant in Lviv is the WWII-era bomb shelter signs. Across the city traces of such signs from the times of the Nazi occupation can still be found. Soon after I arrived in Kraków (in late February 2022) I found […]

A Piano with Russian Bullet Holes: On War, Family, Displacement, the Power of Music, Sich Riflemen Songs, and Russia’s Attack on Ukrainian Culture

“Did they not know that the Ukrainian people sing their beautiful songs, composed over the centuries by national heroes, not only in joy but also in sorrow, misfortune, and grief, during work and at rest, in peaceful times and in times of war? Had they heard the Sich Riflemen song […]

Finding Solidarity with Ukraine: 12 Ways Kraków and Lviv Are Connected via Their Historical Built Environment

Kraków has become my temporary wartime home. When Russia began it full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, I made the difficult decision to leave my home in Lviv and depart for Poland. I didn’t know how long I would be gone or where I would end up; but […]

Hungarian-soldiers

‘Ked’ my pryshla karta’: An Austro-Hungarian Recruit Song

“Ked’ my pryshla karta” (Кедь ми прийшла карта) is a folk ballad from the Lemko region (Lemkovyna or Lemkivshchyna), a mountainous territory that stretches along the present-day borders of Ukraine, Poland, and Slovakia. The area that today belongs to Poland and Ukraine was a part of Galicia until WWI, while […]

Country of Roxolania: Ukrainian Women in the First World War

By Mariana Baidak for Lokalna Istoriya (original in Ukrainian) “Out of my love for Ukraine, I took a rifle and went to the field to beat the enemy with physical force,” said Olena Stepaniv, the most famous Ukrainian military woman, more than 100 years ago. Since then, the issue of […]

A Look at 1920s Galicia: Photographs of Daily Life in the Countryside

Below is a collection of photographs that depict daily life in the Galician countryside in the 1920s. The photographs were found on eBay by German collector Wolfgang Wiggers, who subsequently published them on his Flickr page. At the time the photographs were taken, Galicia was part of interwar Poland. All […]

How to Teach a Bear to Play the Flute: The Fairy-Tale World of Oleksa Bakhmatiuk

By Oleksandr Simchuk for Amnesia Master tilemaker Oleksa Bakhmatiuk (1820-1882) is the most famous representative of the Kosiv school of ceramics and perhaps the most successful Ukrainian artist of the nineteenth century. A lion playing with a wheel, a bear on the flute warming up a violinist, street artists dancing […]