'THE STILL OPEN QUESTION OF LVOV'. BETWEEN HOPE AND DOUBT- POLES IN LVOV IN 1945
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On the eve of 1945 Poles comprised more than 60% of the population of Lvov. The town was the site of an active Polish pro–independence underground movement, and several conspiracy periodicals were issued on a regular basis. Already in 1944 the Soviet authorities intended to force a majority of the Poles to leave westward, beyond the Curzon Line and the new eastern Polish frontier. Migration was to be provoked by the increasingly harsh policy applied towards the Polish population, i. a. a more ruthless army conscription and a restriction of the right to use the Polish language. In 1944 and 1945 the Poles of Lvov were well aware of the provisional nature of an existence marked by the awaiting of unavoidable changes. The conviction that liberation from Nazi occupation could signify only a brief change of the occupant was universal . The war went on, and for many Poles it did not end either in July 1944 or even in May or September 1945. In a local dimension, it was still being waged by deciding to remain 'home' as long as possible, 'to the very limits'. Its true finale was to bring a new peacetime order restoring the status quo ante bellum. In 1945, this belief in a better tomorrow, which made it possible to survive 22 months 'of the first Soviet period' and German triumphs, was put to the harshest test. In a letter written to his family in December 1945 a resident of Lvov described in a few sentences the atmosphere which the Poles were compelled to suffer: 'Wartime and even air raids were much better - at least something tangible transpired, some sort of changes followed, stirring hope and brighter thoughts - now there is nothing. All is quiet, ominous and hopeless'.
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