Dr. Stephen Rapawy is the owner and author of this page. It appears here by his gracious permission.
The village of Karlykiv (Карликів, Karlików) is an old village although the date of its founding has not been located. The Austrian Cadastral Records of 1787 report that Karlykiv had 43 families, indicating a lengthy period of existence. By the mid-twentieth century the number increased to 66, the increase resulted from farms being divided between sons and probably a physical expansion of the village. The village is in a forested Carpathians and some woods would have been cleared for cultivation. The village stretched along a creek on the east –west axis for several kilometers, in a mountainous Lemkian region villages were typically built along creeks. Interestingly most households had dual names, surname of a family and name of a farmstead. Typically, farms were not sold, the surname changed when a family did not have a male heir and one of the daughters married and remained on the farm. At the same time, retention of old names indicates the emphases placed on the land by the local population.
Comparison of the two sets of names, indicates greater diversity during the earlier history of the village. The 1787 Austrian data show even greater diversity, but later some family names disappeared and others are retained as names of household in a modified form, e.g., Bavoliak becomes Bavliak and Pstrak changes to Strak. There are some family names that become more numerous over time, four Rapawy families increase to six in 1939, Hoysans increase from two to six, Gulych from two to four, Stefura from two to three. The three families comprised 29 percent of the village families.
In the Middle Ages eastern Lemkian region was part of the Galicia Principality and therefore part of the Kyivan Rus, but western Lemkian counties were settled later on a nominal Polish territory. Midieval records indicate that the area belong to the Polish Crown but was not settled or settled sparsely, Lemkos migrated from the east cleared the forest and began farming. People in Galicia called themselves Rusyny, usually rendered in English as Ruthenians, but in the Lemkian region the name Rusnak was more prevalent. In the first half of the twentieth century Ukrainian lands were undergoing rapid re-identification, regional names were abandoned for a common national name, this trend also extended to the Lemkian region. The older generation frequently used the term Rusnak in Karlykiv, those who matured between the wars usually referred to themselves as Ukrainians, the name Lemko was a secondary identification. Ukrainian nationalism in the region increased during the war and especially when deportations commenced. For deportation purposes, Ruthenians, and Lemkos were considered Ukrainians and all where subject to removal, regardless of their political views or services to the Polish State, serving in the Polish Army for example. Some who usually called themselves Ukrainians now wrote to the Polish authorities claiming to be Lemkos in a vain attempt to avoid deportation.
The population table shows a significant reduction, about a fifth, during the war and deportations. The data were generated by uncle Andrew and myself in about 1962, starting from the lower end of the village we went house by house noting the number of people in 1939 and 1946. There may have been some undercounting, but that number should not be significant. Germans arrived in the village and began recruiting people for work in Germany and found many volunteers. Earlier there had been heavy emigration primarily to the U.S., many found work in coal mines and steel mills of Pennsylvania. Between the wars emigration was curtailed and many young adults lived with their families, offer to work in Germany became an option. During the early phase most young people went voluntarily, there may have been forced recruitment later in the war. Altogether, 52 people worked in Germany and only 14 returned to the village after the war. Large exodus of young people, most were single, reduced the formation of new families and a natural growth of the population.
Besides large migration to Germany, 47 people were killed in various ways. The first casualties were the two Jewish families consisting of 12 people who were taken by the Germans and disappeared without a trace. In September of 1944 a major battle took place in the village lasting eight days. During the summer Soviet POWs and villagers were forced to dig World War I type trenches on the hills to the south and west of the village. In September Soviet planes bombed the village for five days and when the Red Army arrived, German artillery shelled the village for three days. The village was destroyed, but miraculously only two villagers were killed, though during German shelling most people left the village. After the front moved west, Soviet recruiters arrived and ordered the priest to provide them with the parish register which recorded all births, marriages, baptismals, and deaths. Young men were summoned and told to join the Red Army and according to uncle Andrew, who was there, warned that their families would be sent to Siberia if they refused. Most men took a wait and see attitude but 12 were frightened enough and joined. The recruiters quickly left and families of those that did not join were not bothered. The twelve that joined became a cannon fodder for the Red Army. Some were sent to the front several days after joining, virtually without training. Of the 12, six were killed and six wounded, 100 percent casualty. The wounded after recuperating in Red Army hospitals in Slovakia deserted and made their way back home over the mountains. In addition to the service in the Red Army, priest’s son served in some German army unit and was killed, according to the stories in the village.
In the summer of 1945 Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA in Ukrainian) began recruiting in the area and number of boys went voluntarily to the forest. After several weeks most returned and presumably received training, while few remained with partisans. The two, Josaphat Szpynda and Stefan Sywy were sent to the NCO school and received a title of senior riflemen. Szpynda was killed in 1946 and Sywy apparently became squad leader in 1947. Another village man, Fedir Hudak, apparently served in a self defense unit and was hanged by the partisans for killing a farmer while attempting to steal his horses. The largest loss of people, 22 persons, occurred during the first half of 1946. In January Polish Army in a first raid on the village killed about 15 people, including the village priest and his family and burned perhaps half a dozen houses. During subsequent months the army usually killed any man found in the village. These raids seemed to have been designed to terrorize the population and force them to leave. The deportation was billed as voluntary and people had to sign a document indicating a voluntary resettlement. In the spring of 1946 villagers fled to the forest and later entered Slovakia only to be turned over to the Polish Army by the Czechoslovak Army. At this point most headed to the deportation point at the railroad station. A handful managed to escape again and eventually returned to the village, only to be deported to western Poland in the spring of 1947, Operation Vistula.
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