Monography “Świadectwo zanikającego dziedzictwa. Mowa polska na Bukowinie: Rumunia – Ukraina [A testimony to a vanishing heritage. The Polish language of Bukovina: Romania – Ukraine]”, Warszawa 2018

The Institute of Slavic Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences published the monograph entitled Świadectwo zanikającego dziedzictwa. Mowa polska na Bukowinie: Rumunia – Ukraina [A testimony to a vanishing heritage. The Polish language of Bukovina: Romania – Ukraine] by Helena Krasowska, Magdalena Pokrzyńska and Lech Suchomłynow. The monograph is one of the outcomes of a three-year research grant named “Mowa polska na Bukowinie Karpackiej. Dokumentacja zanikającego dziedzictwa narodowego [The Polish speech in Carpathian Bukovina: A record of the vanishing national heritage]”, carried out as part of the programme of the Ministry of Science and Higher Education under the name “National Programme for the Development of Humanities [Narodowy Program Rozwoju Humanistyki, NPRH] in the years 2015–2018. The initiator and leader of this great undertaking was Prof. Helena Krasowska, PhD, associate professor of ISS PAS. The presented publication is the result of long-term field studies which required extraordinary scientific thoroughness, and were conducted in 58 places: 39 in Northern Bukovina and 19 in Southern Bukovina. The most valuable effect of the research carried out is the collected documentary material. It consists of 260 hours of recordings (all of them were written down in the form of 4,500 pages using semi-orthographic transcription): 120 hours recorded in Northern Bukovina (Ukraine) and 140 in Southern Bukovina (Romania), 20,228 photographs and scans of various objects, as well as documents illustrating the linguistic situation and life of Poles in Bukovina (11,433 taken in Ukraine and 8,795 in Romania).

In the extensive monograph Świadectwo zanikającego dziedzictwa. Mowa polska na Bukowinie: Rumunia – Ukraina three scholars present only a small extract of research conducted among the oldest generation of the Polish minority living in Bukovina. The particularly notable fact is that the research was carried out using the same method and the same research tools both in the northern (Ukrainian) and southern (Romanian) parts of the region. This should be regarded as the undoubted success of the project, bearing in mind that it was the first – in terms of the problem and method – systematic and homogeneous research on Poles in the territory of the whole historic Bukovina.

The unquestionable value of the book is its abundant illustrative material. The published photographs come from family albums of interviewed persons (these collections testify culture and social life of different historical periods: from the beginning of the 20th century to the present) or were taken by the members of the research team during field studies. The book is also provided with an appendix with a list of interlocutors, a list of tables, diagrams, maps and photographs, a rich bibliography and a summary in English, Romanian and Ukrainian. This appendix is an important supplement to the linguistic material and allows readers to better orientate themselves in the huge corpus of collected texts. The opening and closing parts of the monograph were written jointly by all the authors. The authors also prepared a digital version of selected interviews (a flash drive is attached to the book), allowing readers not only to confront the “live” material with the prepared transcription, but also to listen intently to the unique Polish speech in Bukovina.

The book is prepared for a wide circle of readers. It is addressed not only to researchers who will find materials for further linguistic and cultural studies in it, but also to all those interested in the Polish cultural heritage, collective memory, language, and changes in collective life. Thus, the authors achieved the objective defined in the project, namely to collect and elaborate the material that is a testimony to the Polish culture outside the country. Therefore, reading this book can be treated as a spiritual and mental journey on the footprints of Poles throughout the history in Bukovina. This region was one of the numerous directions of migration chosen by the Polish population, and at the same time it became a special area. Thanks to Bukovina’s multiculturalism and hospitality, some Poles started a new life here years ago, creating a special culture which they show today to next generations, which speak the Bukovina’s language that was shaped in the course of social life. This book presents a piece of their world.

The open-access monograph is available here: https://ispan.waw.pl/ireteslaw/handle/20.500.12528/625