I came to a conviction that family history is of great importance since the memories after many years, begin to fade and descend into oblivion.
What is a family that does not know its history, where it comes from, how it grew, how their members endured the vicissitudes of life and everything that happened with the family members over the many long years?
Second World War (WW II) created incredible changes in the Domański family. Our family was disinherited from their ancient birthright and scattered throughout the world like birds from their nest by a hawk. Writing these words, full of bitterness and heartache, I had in mind these young members of the family born there and exiled in their young life and those who were born outside of Malopolska, who will not know that their family roots come from the land of Podole from these beautiful regions of Zborów (Zboriv), Tarnopol (Ternopil) and Lwow (Lvov). They will not know that these areas were the ancient lands of their ancestors, where they lived and struggled to survive for centuries. These lands which were deeply impregnated with their blood and where the best sons fought and sacrificed their lives.
For these and many other reasons, I decided to capture it all in my diary, including the most important historical events concerning my family and everything that I inherited from my parents. These include many stories from my parents and from many older than them people who remembered the old days. Along with these stories and accounts, my father’s old documents contained much information about my family dating back from my grandfather and great-grandfather. I deeply regret, however that these documents did not survive beyond my years of maturity. They were destroyed during the First World War in 1917 when I was only fifteen years old. I remember when I was in the third grade, and already could read very well, I would often look into my father’s documents but I was far too young to understand what was in them. I was intrigued by the strange names of the people, who in current Bogdanówka did not exist. Besides these names, perhaps more interesting to me were seals in a form of postage stamps with images of some emperors or tzars. I often pestered my father with questions like, ‘who was this Dominik (Dominic), Leokadia, Bartłomiej (Bartholomew) or Błażej (Blaise)?’ My father would often give me and answer but when he got annoyed, he would say, “ Go away you little fart because you do not understand it anyway.”
When my father went to fight in the war, I suddenly became much older, not in years but of the fact that I was the oldest male in my family.
Obtaining this elevated status in the eyes of my mother, I could do everything that interested me. In the past, my father did not allow me to review his documents and the key from a large coffer was normally under his or my mother’s care. At that time when my father was gone, my mother would let me see these documents being her son and the rightful successor. I was then able to look over everything in detail. A large bulk of documents was rolled into a tube and tied with a red ribbon. All the documents were very old, mostly hand written with a feather quill and yellowed with age.
There were all sorts of documents such as court records, payment edicts, maps of fields and their names and most importantly, there was a testament which mentioned names that interested me so much.
There were also a few documents which were printed but pertained only to my father. These documents provided me with a good understanding of who my great-great-grandparents and great-grandparents were, how they lived, and what they possessed.
I did not expect that these documents would soon be destroyed and that with time, the names of people and places would vanish in the grey fog of future years.
As I wrote my memoirs, I had difficulty remembering some of the facts, names and dates of these past years, however I was able put everything in logical sequence and shed some light on my family existence and their life. What stuck in my youthful memory from those documents and the tales I heard, with certainty it must be accurate within seventy percent.
I believe that every family should have such a diary because it is like a testament passed down from generation to generation. My goal was to leave such a diary as a legacy for my children and grandchildren to have a clear picture of where our family came from and what was their life like.
As to the existence Bogdanówka I noted everything based on the stories told by such people as old Mr. Szamryk, Michał (Michael) Laskowski, Jan Nowak or old Mrs. Hreczkosijka, who remembered stories from her childhood, that is, from people older then her by about 70 years. I remembered Bogdanówka quite well from the year 1910 to 1940 when I was arrested and sent to Russia’s forced labour camp. Bogdanówka over about half a century underwent considerable change which I will describe in the right content in this diary.
Writing a book is not an easy task, because putting thousands of words on paper requires a long time, especially when the words have to have the character of a documentary based on truth. ‘Wanting is doing’, as the old saying goes. Writing for me here in Canada was very pleasant. It seemed to me, as I wrote, that I was among those who were long gone from Bogdanówka and those who lived but from whom I was separated by the vast oceans and lands, unable to converse with them like it was before 1939.