Licencja: Dokumentacja cmentarzy dawnego powiatu buczackiego
Licencja: Dokumentacja cmentarzy dawnego powiatu buczackiego
The state of preservation of the cemetery in 2008, when the documentation work was carried out, was very poor. Work carried out in recent years has led to a partial clean-up of its grounds. It is situated behind the village, overgrown with forest. Its original plan has been completely obliterated. Most of the tombstones are heavily devastated. Numerous destructed gravestones have been found. Attention is drawn to the relatively large number of heavily damaged wooden crosses, most of them without inscriptions. As we can deduce from the preserved inscription on one of them, at least some of them may commemorate the victims of the battles of 1944. In the cemetery there is also a gravestone of the first parish priest, Rev. Karol Zoeller. Right next to it is a grave commemorating the members of the Jasiński and Tycko families who died tragically during the First World War. Behind these two graves is a contemporary votive cross, erected in memory of those buried in the cemetery in Puzniki.
Puźniki (Pużniki, Пужники) was located about 8 km from Barysh and about 10 km from Monasterzysk, between Koropec in the west, Novosiolka Koropiecka in the south, Zbrucz in the east and Zaleszczyki Maly in the north. In view of the poorly preserved archival material, it is difficult to establish the time when the village was founded. Maciej Dancewicz supposes that it could have taken place at the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries, while Antoni Dancewicz, the author of a website devoted to the village, postpones the time of its foundation even to the 17th century. However, this does not seem to be justified, as the village does not appear in any archival lists from the 17th or early 18th century. THIS, HOWEVER, DOES NOT SEEM TO BE JUSTIFIED, AS IT DOES NOT APPEAR IN ANY ARCHIVAL LISTS FROM THE 17TH CENTURY OR THE EARLY 18TH CENTURY. It was not until 1799 that we find the hamlet of Puźnik on the map. For Antoni Dancewicz, it seems that the population of the village in 1816 was 311, including 40 rustic noblemen, probably renters, and in 1824 - 348.
Puźniki, as a small hamlet, certainly existed from the last quarter of the 18th century, but in this period it is not treated as a separate village. This makes it possible to date their establishment cautiously to around the middle of the 18th century. Probably at the end of the c. XVIII or at the beginning of the XVIII c. XIX there was a more rapid development of the settlement. However, the Skorowidz (Index) of 1868, based on the 1857 census, although Puźniki is listed as a separate settlement, it lists its population together with the town of Barycz. Antoni Dancewicz also quotes his uncle's account of the origin of the village: "After the collapse of the uprising, whether someone took part in it or just enlisted they were pursued and persecuted. Some sought refuge in inaccessible forests. One such group of would-be insurgents took refuge in forests belonging to Count Szawłowski in an area called Pilawa. The settlement was gradually expanded, and to commemorate the fact that they were late for the uprising, they called it Pużniki". This account, as Antoni Dancewicz himself notes, is not very reliable and can be counted among the local legends. In 1870 Puzniki had 557 inhabitants and in 1880 - 640. Most of them were people admitting to Polish origin, Antoni Dancewicz even supposes that from the beginning the village was inhabited by impoverished gentry. However, in 1841, apart from Poles, 20 Ruthenians were said to live there, and in 1880 - 567 Poles, 55 Ruthenians and 18 Jews. In 1900 - 790 Poles, 44 Ruthenians and 18 Jews. According to the 1921 census According to the 1921 census, Puźniki had 833 inhabitants, most of whom claimed Polish nationality (831 people), including a small Jewish community, and 2 people identified themselves as Ruthenians. In 1939 there were 1020 Poles and 20 Ruthenians living in the village.
At that time the Roman Catholic inhabitants of Puznik belonged to the parish in Barysh, while the Greek Catholic parish was in Welesniów. Initially the village belonged to the estate of Barysh, so in 1777 it was in the hands of Pelagia Potocka. In 1780, Pelagia Potocka, Franciszek Rerich and Jakub Smoniewski were mentioned as its owners, and in 1799. Kajetan Potocki (1751-1814). From at least the 1830s, the owners of Půžnik were the Szawłowski family, including Tytus (b. 1819), and later his son Stanisław (b. 1844). Probably at the beginning of the 20th century the village found itself in the hands of the Świdrygiełłos-Świderski family. In the interwar period the landowner was Władysław Świdrygiełło-Świderski.
In 1880 the inhabitants built a wooden church in Puzniki, which was enlarged and ceremonially consecrated in 1900. At first it was a branch church. In 1904 a parish was established there, funded by Artur Cielecki. The first parish priest was to be Fr Karol Zoeller (1847-1904), a grammar school catechist from Stryj and former vicar in Koropiec. From 17 August 1905, the parish in Puzniki was entrusted to the Salesian Fathers by Archbishop Jozef Bilczewski. Fr Gabriel Vanroth (1875-1941), who had arrived in Poland two years earlier from Switzerland, became the parish priest, while Fr Franciszek Schnyder was the curate. In the same year, on 30 November, the first religious house was opened in Puzniki, with Fr Gabriel Vanroth as superior and Fr Salomon Schalbetter and Fr Franciszek Schnyder as councillors. In addition, missionaries Rev. Eugene Picard (1880-1964), Br. Edward Meichtry (1873-1946), Rev. Solomon Schalbetter and Rev. Edward Roux (1878-1949). The facility was inspected by the General of the Order, Fr Joseph Perrin. Preparations then began for the establishment of the Apostolic School, opened on 17 March 1906. Fr Salomon Schalbetter became its director, while the priests Elijah Roux, Eugène Picard, Anthony Zehner and lay teachers became its professors. Subsequently, Fr Francis Schnydrea (1906) and Fr Gabriel Vanroth (1908) were recalled to work in the USA , and were replaced by Priests Antoni Zehner (1907), Joseph Baccus (1908), August Gauthier (1909), Francis Dantin (1910) and Joseph Martin Mathian (1911). Inadequate premises, and perhaps also the village's inconvenient location, led to the relocation of the Apostolic School to Dębowiec, where a new facility was built and opened in the autumn of 1910-1911. 1911 r. Nevertheless, the Salesian fathers carried out their pastoral work in Puzniki until 12 May 1921. During their time there was a brick parish building built next to the church. In 1921 the parish was presumably taken over by Father Karol Chmielewski (born in 1885), who had arrived in Puzniki from Russia in 1918. He was the founder of, among other things, a credit union, a milk dairy, a farmer's circle, a weaving school producing carpets and household linen, a men's choir (which won the second place in the district competition in Buczacz), an amateur theatre, the Riflemen organisation and the Catholic Association. There was also a trivia school in the village. At that time, the nearest post office was in Barysh. In Puzniki there was an active fire brigade in the 1930s. Voluntary Fire Brigade.
The village was a linear village situated on both sides of the road. An account by Antoni Dancewicz, who spent his holidays in Puzniki as a child, says a little more about its character in the interwar period: "In Puzniki one lived as if in an oasis separated from the outside world, from which news arrived rarely, brought by those who had to go to the town on business or official matters, or by newcomers and wanderers. But to us, children on holiday (there were several of us), we did not need this news either. We lived our affairs, our daily lives, enjoying total freedom, trips to the woods, roaming fruit trees, especially cherries, and visiting other relatives. According to my sister's recollections, in Puzniki everyone was in some sense our relative. Closer or further. Of the closer ones, there were the families of our uncle and aunts. Of the further ones, it is difficult to enumerate. There were the Krowicki, Karpinski, Wisniewski, Przybylowicz, Stanislawski, Kosinski and other families." The village was famous for its fruit orchards stretching on both sides for about 3km. There were 5 blacksmiths, 2 carpenters, 2 shoemakers 3 carpenters and 1 wheelwright, as well as a cooper. There were also two shops run by Kółko Rolnicze and J. Działoszyński. According to a census of the inhabitants of Puzniki compiled by Antoni Wiśniewski, 247 families lived there before and during the war, as well as a priest and nuns. This is in line with other estimates, according to which before the Second World War there were around 800 people living on 200 farms and the information that in 1931 there were 192 houses.
The village was occupied by the Soviet army in 1939 and about 50 people were deported to Siberia in 1940. In 1941 the German army entered the village. In 1942, a self-defence organisation was formed in cooperation with the Home Army. Its commander was Lieutenant Mieczysław Warunek. In 1943 a partisan unit passing through the village robbed a shop, which resulted in the inhabitants being accused of collaboration with them. In retaliation, 12 homesteads were burnt down and several men were taken hostage, but released. In September 1943, the first two UPA attacks on the village took place. Some of the buildings on the edge of the village were burnt down, but no one was killed. In January 1944, 6 more Poles were arrested by the Ukrainian militia for failing to meet their quota. However, the self-defence managed to recapture them. As the frontline approached, arrests and searches became more frequent. On 18 July 1944, the Soviet army entered Puzniki. Most of the men joined either the local police, which was being formed in Koropec, or the Polish Army. At that time, a detachment of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) returning from the Stanislawow area appeared in the area, mostly composed of inhabitants of neighbouring villages.
On 12 February, Soviet soldiers arrived in the village, who they assured would guarantee the safety of the inhabitants. However, already after their departure, on the night of 12-13 February 1944, a tragic attack took place on the village, which was encircled and attacked from 3 sides. The battle lasted for several hours and resulted in the murder of 112 people. Almost the entire village, except for the brick buildings, was burnt down. Despite the annihilation, some of the inhabitants whose buildings survived decided to stay. Most, however, went to Koropec and Buczacz after staying for a few days in the vicarage. From Buczacz, most left for the Recovered Territories, mainly to Niemysłów and Katowice near Wrocław. Nevertheless, several Ukrainian, Polish and mixed families remained in the village. In 1946 Lemkos and Ukrainians displaced from the border areas were brought to the village and a school was established in the vicarage building. In 1949 the Soviet authorities decided to liquidate the village completely, forcing the inhabitants to leave their houses, which were demolished. Only the cemetery and the chapel next to the church survived. The agricultural land became part of the neighbouring kolkhozes, and the local orchards are still used today.
The author would like to thank Mr Konrad Zaleski for his comments
In the cemetery in Puzniki, clean-up works were carried out in 2019-2021 by the Kostiuchnówka Dialogue Centre of the Lodz ZHP Changarion, subsidised by the Polonika Institute - https://polonika.pl/programy/programy-grantowe/programy-grantowe-instytutu/cmentarze-a-ukrainie-2021-kresowe. In 2022 permission was obtained to carry out search work for the graves of Poles murdered in 1945.
- Karta dokumentacyjna obiektu zabytkowego poza granicami kraju, powiat buczacki, zbiór przechowywany w Ministerstwie Kultury i Dziedzictwa Narodowego, Warszawa., karta cmentarza.
- „Cmentarze dawnego powiatu buczackiego”, pod redakcją Anny Sylwii Czyż Bartłomieja Gutowskiego, Warszawa 2017, s. 647-660.