History and experience are the most valuable gifts we can pass on to future generations. That is why it is so important to record the memories of the oldest inhabitants. In this way we can find out what our ancestors’ lives looked like, their daily worries and joys, and finally – how political events influenced the fate of the inhabitants of our area, their lives.
The main purpose of the LZC Media Library – a multimedia archive of the oral history of the city and region – run at the Białystok Culture Center / Ludwik Zamenhof Center – is preserving these memories and home archives of photographs and documents shared by the residents of Białystok.
All LZC Media Library resources are available free of charge at the institution’s headquarters at 19 Warszawska Street. To facilitate access to the collected materials successively, we publish them on the website www.mediateka.centrumzamenhofa.pl.
We have recently published the accounts of:
Jan Jagodzik (born on 12.24.1939), who as a 10-year-old boy in February 1940 with his whole family was deported to Siberia. In his memories he talks about the journey, work, death of loved ones and about a difficult return.
Mirosław Wroczyński (born on 10.11.1919), who has lived in Białystok since the 1930s. From May 1939 he served in the Podlasie Cavalry Brigade. He spent the occupation in Białystok. As a result of various turbulences, in July 1944 he came to Warsaw, where he participated in the uprising (he was the commander of the communications platoon in the “Chrobry II” Group, the “Lech Żelazny” Battalion). He returned to Białystok in the 1960s.
Stanisława Mancewicz (born on 07.24.1924), the sister of Zbigniew Kędzia – one of the most important scouts for the Białystok region, participant in the scout meeting on November 11, 1939 at the military cemetery at today’s 11 Listopada Street. The participants were arrested by the NKVD. Ms. Stanisława remembered those events thoroughly, as well as pre-war Białystok and its residents.
Halina Wojno (born on 06.16.1930), she spent her childhood in Biała Podlaska, where she joined the scouts. She returned to scouting in 1945. Her father was active in the resistance, which was the reason for the young Halina’s forced move to Białystok. In a new place, a helping hand was reached out by Irena Białówna MD, who helped her find a job and a flat. To this day, Halina actively participates in scouting activities, including meeting young people.
In addition, following accounts were published, which until now were only available at the institution’s headquarters, dedicated to:
wedding traditions in various denominations,
the Białystok Aeroclub – accounts of former and current members: pilots, parachutists, modelers,
Białystok water sports enthusiasts – accounts of sailors, divers and modelers,
Lowlanders Białystok – accounts of the members of the Białystok American football team.
An equally important part of the archive are photographs and documents made available by the residents of Białystok. These assets complement each other perfectly and together they create documentation of the changes taking place in Białystok in the 20th century.
The recently published archives include, among others:
photographs of the Starosielce district made from the end of the 19th century to the 1980s. The photos show the no longer existing wooden houses, fields or wooden belfry of the church and people – employees of the Road and Bridge Works, students of the Railway Technical School (including over 500 photographs documenting the life of the school shared by the Kolejowe Podlasie Association) or residents while working during the harvest, during holidays or leisure time,
over 400 photographs documenting the history of the Czerewacz family since the 1930s. This family has an extremely rich history. Siblings: Wiktor, Donat, Leonard and Tatiana took part in the September Campaign, later in the Warsaw Uprising,
Donat Czerewacz is the author of words to a famous insurgent song “Zośka”. The collection includes a photo of Tatiana Jasińska (née Czerewacz) taken after one of the actions during the uprising. Her account is available in the archives, soon also on the website,
several hundred scout photographs from the People’s Republic period. They show the activities of the Union at that time: camps, meetings, and courses,
over 1000 photographs made available by Andrzej Trzciński, in which an unknown author documents changes taking place in the vicinity of Młynowa and Mazowiecka streets – demolishing wooden buildings and erecting blocks of flats there. The collection also contains photos that cover the lives of an unknown author and his neighbors and friends at the turn of the 1970s and 1980s.
In total, 158 accounts and over 5,000 archives, mainly photographs, are available on the LZC Media Library website. These materials were published as part of the task ” e-Mediateka CLZ vol. 2″ project co-financed by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage from the “Kultura Cyfrowa” program.
In addition, new accounts and materials are constantly coming to the archive. Last year, we recorded about 50 accounts of witnesses to history, including 32 accounts of members of the Tatar minority in Podlachia. We have also acquired over 1000 photographs and documents, some of which have already been edited and made available.
The project also included a series of workshops for primary and secondary school students using the archive resources of the LZC Media Library. Participants learned about the history of Białystok through the prism of memories of its residents and their home archives. About 800 students took part in the free classes.
Project partners: Karta Center Foundation, Łukasz Górnicki Podlachian Library
Media patronage: Kurier Poranny, Bialystokonline.pl, Złote Przeboje Radio, Histmag.org
The “e-Mediateka CLZ vol. 2” project is co-financed by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage.