In 2011 my cousin Alicja and I (along with her husband and son, Wojtek and Filip) visited the town that was home to my great-grandfather, Aleksandr Cymbał and my great-grandmother, Katarzyna Kucharska, before they emigrated to the US in the very early 1900s. We stayed with my third cousin and his family, Michał Griciw. Michał, Alicja, and I share a common great-great grandfather, Jan Cymbał. I wrote about our visit to his old house in Faschivka here.
But today’s posting is about the town of Faschivka and our cousins who still live there. Michał is a farmer, but it’s a difficult life in Ukraine. At the time I was there, they were working on building a bathroom–their first. When we were there, the outhouse by the pig barn was all the toilet they had, and a shower stall outside, and a nearby well, were all they had. But they were making good progress on the bathroom, and I’m sure by now they are enjoying it. They have a nice but mostly older home. The front room a dining room, is a recent addition with a beautiful entrance door. There is no A/C and in the summer they cook and prepare a lot of food in the outdoor kitchen, though they have an indoor kitchen (refrigerator, gas range, etc.).
Michał raises sugar beets and buckwheat. They have a cow or two and some pigs and chickens. Around him are some very large farms, properous people who pay very low wages for long work days. Michał says these landowners track their workers with GPS devices on the tractors, to ensure they are working. Ukraine is a poor country with just a few very wealthy landowners. Anyway, I took a bunch of photos that show a glimpse of what life is like in Faschivka. You can see them here: http://photos.leonkonieczny.com/Poland%202011/Faschivka/index.html.
Faschivka is a very small town today. Today it has 50 houses and about 149 inhabitants. In 1924 there were 171 houses and 950 people. At that time maybe 1/3 of the population was Jewish, 1/3 Ukrainian, and 1/3 Polish. Today it is all Ukrainan. The Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary Naivity is a Greek Orthodox church in town. My Polish relatives would have gone to the Roman Catholic Church in nearby Tarnoruda. My Ukrainian great-grandmother was baptized at the Greek Catholic church in nearby Łuka Mała.
Faschivka sites on the Zbruch River (Ukrainian: Збруч, Polish: Zbrucz), a left tributary of the Dniester River. From the late 1700s until about 1916 it was the border between Austrian Galacia and Russia. From 1922 to 1939, it was the border between Poland and the Soviet Union. Prior to 1939 it was known by its Polish name, Faszczówka.
You can read a bit more about faschivka and its history here: http://dvasela.at.ua/blog/faschivka_from_the_history_of_our_village/2013-03-21-29.
Finally, near the end of the photos, you can see some of the delicious food were had to eat. I’ll say one thing for sure, “presentation” seems to run in our family, look how delicious it all is. Smacznego!