For the 12th time, with the efforts of the Armenian Foundation in Poland, a group of Polish Armenians visited Kuty. Formerly populated by Armenians and flourishing Kuty and other surrounding areas, under Soviet rule, at the beginning of World War II, were forcibly taken from Poland and Romania, cleared of Armenians and donated to Ukraine.
The group, which consisted of both adults and children and adolescents, did not limit its visit to just one settlement. They visited also the other populated in the past by Armenians villages and towns nearby.
On a trip that has become a tradition, the group members were not only visiting the former small Polish-Armenian capital - Kuty, for tourism. Their goals were more noble and patriotic.
The members of the group visited one by one all the settlements in the vicinity where there was a trace of Polish Armenians - ruined and silent or still more or less erecting chapels, churches, palaces and finally cemeteries. The last ones in particular need great help - day by day, they are demolished and the barbaric devastating actions of the local population are sometimes compounded by the terrible bludgeon of the time.
And here the years of persistent and thorough work of Polish Armenians are invaluable. They catalog the latest resting place of all Armenians, repair and strengthen each grave, giving new life to the memories of the past. It is hard work but the only way to save the graves of Armenians from the complete destruction.
- Often we have to clear a grave, such as a 200-year-old tomb, to try to decipher the Armenian, Polish, or Romanian inscriptions on the stone so that the memory of the Armenians buried under it will not erased, - say the members of the group and add. - Well, our children, as much as they can, help us in order to remember the names of their compatriots or… families' ancestors. The ancestors of many of these children fled from these settlements to the Republic of Poland during the Red Army invasion. And they must remember where we came from and where we go, where our roots are. Of course we are Polish, but first of all we are Armenians.
True, there is not much left of the Polish Armenians' material values for the new generations to see, to learn and to remember. Whatever is left is not Armenian or is too little Armenian and can be confused with the Ukrainian. Armenian Church of Kuty? Is a Ukrainian Orthodox church. The Armenian Temple on Armenian Street in Chernivtsi? A small part remained Armenian and the rest became Philharmonic. The chapel of the Bohosieviches’ cemetery? The basis is left ... And so we can list and list …
For two weeks of the stay all the children in the group attended each morning the Armenian language lessons, to study to read and write in Armenian, and special course about the history of Polish Armenians, in order to learn how important roles their compatriots and ancestors played in Polish history. And the adults ... They had the pleasure of attending the evening Armenology meetings which were conducted by Armenian descent Polish scientists.
Let's hope that the next year the Armenian-friendly „expedition” to Ukraine will be repeated for the 13th time. It is a tradition, and the tradition must be cherished and caressed.