Galicia was nearly as big as present-day Austria; around 1900 its
capital Lviv (Lemberg in German) was the fourth-largest city of the
Austro-Hungarian Empire. The geographical location of the region is
hardly known at all today. But its name still conjures up fantasies:
images of a land lost to the world, the very essence of remoteness; a
core area of Eastern European Jewry, and the multi-cultural poorhouse of
the Habsburg Empire.
The Austrian writer Joseph Roth, himself
born in Brody, coined the term "in-between land" for Galicia. The
western part of the region belongs to Poland today, the eastern half
lies within the Ukrainian border. Politics and war have resulted in
renewed discussions about the European identity of the region.
Historically, it came into existence as an artificial creation of
European power politics: the region began to be called "Galicia" after
it had been annexed by Austria as a result of the 1772 partition of
Poland – for Emperor Joseph II, it was a territory in need of being
"civilised", and one that supplied mineral resources and soldiers to the
Empire. Galicia was a country of linguistic, ethnic and religious
diversity: its inhabitants were Roman or Eastern Catholics and Jews
speaking Polish, Ukrainian and Yiddish.
Issued in conjunction with a cultural exhibition. This exhibition was the
first to focus on the different Polish, Ukrainian, Austrian and Jewish
perspectives in light of the historical facts. The myth of poverty and
backwardness contrasted with the myth of progress and development.
Around 1900, Galicia's rich oil deposits turned it into "Austria's
Texas". After partial autonomy was granted to the region in 1867, the
myth of the "good Emperor" Franz Joseph was born. Galicia, a
multi-ethnic Arcadia? At the same time, social and national tensions
mounted. "Galicia in Vienna" is the heading of one section of the
exhibition which discusses migration flows from the region to Vienna.
From 1880 onwards, Jewish migrants, including artists and intellectuals,
flocked to the capital of the Empire. The final section deals with
"Galicia after Galicia": After the collapse of the Habsburg monarchy in
1918, Galicia vanished from the maps, but its myth was reborn after
1989. The exhibition, which was designed in cooperation with the
International Cultural Centre in Kraków, was on show there from 9
October 2014 to 8 March 2015.
What do we know about Galicia? What is Galicia today? What values do we attach to it – positive or negative? Galicia felix or Galicia miserabilis?
The beloved good Emperor or a conservative bureaucrat? Arcadia or
periphery and “semi-Asia”? “Galician poverty” or progress against all
odds? Country of liberal legislation or the proverbial “Galician
elections”? A place of happy coexistence or of national and social
The photo book accompanying an exhibition or under the
same title attempts to answer the questions asked above. An attempt at
looking at a Galicia that is no longer there, and yet, despite both the
world wars, and both the totalitarianisms that made their brunt on this
part of Europe, it is still present as a mythical place, an imagined
space. An endeavour at telling a tale of a shared territory of memory
for Poles, Ukrainians, Austrians, Jews nowadays separated by borders.
the existence of the imagined, universal Galicia, its historical area
in real life is intersected by the border of Schengen Zone being at the
same time the border of the European Union, clearly separating the
western Polish Galicia from Eastern Galicia – the Ukrainian Halychyna.
Yet “the Galician experience” of Western Ukraine became one of the most
important arguments for the “European drive” that came to prominence in
Kyiv’s Maidan. Therefore, the phenomenon of Galicia is not only the
question of a surviving memory, but primarily a proof of
reality-influencing power that a myth can have.
Over 300 works
and documents from Polish, Ukrainian, and Austrian collections are
reproduced in the book, and the history and myth of Galicia have been
investigated by the most eminent experts of Galicia questions from
Europe and overseas: Matthias Beitl, Emil Brix, Patrice M. Dabrowski,
Katrin Ecker, Jarosław Hrycak, Kerstin S. Jobst, Klemens Kaps, Maria
Kłańska, Żanna Komar, Wolfgang Kos, Börries Kuzmany, Waldemar Łazuga,
Hans-Christian Maner, Martin Pollack, Jurko Prochaśko, Jacek Purchla,
Mykola Riabchuk, Jan Rydel, Monika Rydiger, Werner Michael Schwarz,
Joshua Shanes, Telse Hartmann, Alois Woldan, Larry Wolff, Taras Wozniak,
and Krzysztof Zamorski.
- 477 Pages
- Size - 9.5" x 11"
- Printed In Poland