THE ATTITUDE OF THE POLISH COMMUNITY IN VILNO TOWARDS NEW REALITY. STANDS AND MOODS 1944-1945
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The object of the analysis requires outlining a more extensive exposition as well as rendering several issues more precise. The authoress examined the question of a Polish minority existing 'here and now', in a concrete geographic space; the well-enrooted indigenous population possessed its own historical and regional traditions, and was involved in complicated relations with other nationalities, particularly the Lithuanians, for whom Vilno (Wilno, Vilnius) and its environments remained the object of years-long controversies with the Poles. The chronological boundaries of this sketch are the years 1944-1945. The situation in which the Lithuanian state found itself produced qualitatively new circumstances for the Polish minority, different from the ones which had prevailed since 1939. During this period, Vilno changed its state affiliation upon a number of occasions. It remained the capital of Lithuania for not quite a year, and subsequently was incorporated into the Soviet Union; in the years 1941-1944 it was occupied by the Nazis and then once again became the capital of a Soviet republic. Memory about the Polish past was gradually limited, and assumed 'local' and 'native' qualities. By retaining its language and oral tradition it became a regional 'Polishness' , encompassing customs, songs, and narrated 'stories'. Hence the predominant element consolidating tradition was embedded in individual and collective memory; it was also transmitted in individual and collective memory. This type of cultural behaviour was, basically speaking, passive and defensive, and favoured the relative stability of the number of Poles in Lithuania. Another conducive circumstance was the existence of schools (elementary and secondary) with Polish as the language of instruction. Regardless of the 'curricula adapted to' Soviet needs, they influenced the retention of certain rudimentary components of 'high culture'. The promoted initiatives and ventures favoured both the preservation of old 'codes' of tradition and their expansion. Undertaken in difficult and unfavourable conditions, they passed the test of time.
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