sobota, 17 maj 2008

Documents and photos

1. Bibliography



Press cuttings 1950-

2. Photo collections

Jatvingian daily work 1


Jatvings at home

A visit to Wodziłki in 1974

The streets of Suwalki...

by Jan and Birgitta Castor

Winter fishing in Suwalszczyzna in 1965

by Gunnar Olsson

Slaughter in Józefowo

by Sverker Norén

Market in Suwalki in the sixties

several photographs

Sejny 1965

by Olle Smedberg

Lakes, lakes ...

several photographers.

Theese pages prefer Internet Explorer

Svenska Jatvingiska Expeditionen 1959 - 1980

Szwedzka Ekspedycja Jaćwięska 1959 - 1980

Szanownie Jaćwięgowie

Mówię tak słabo po polsku że pozwalam sobie mówić po angielsku.

Potop Szwedzki is a well known expression from the history of Poland, speaking of the cruel Swedish troops devastating and burning on Polish territories three hundred years ago. Not even our Suwałki did escape.

45 years ago Suwalszczyzna was struck by a potop Szwedzki, but this time with peaceful intentions. Its name was Szwedzka Ekspedycja Jaćwięska (Swedish Jatvingian Expedition).


The archeologists proudly present their Jatvingian skeletons to the SEJ.

The Polish Kompleksowa Ekspedycja Jaćwięska had already been working in Suwalszczyzna for some years when its leader, dr Jerzy Antoniewicz, applied to Knut-Olof Falk, professor of Slavonic languages at the University of Lund, with the proposal of scientific collaboration, by undertaking research on the preservation of the Jatvingian language in the toponyms of the Suwalszczyzna, as leader of a team of his own.

Why did he apply to a Swede?

It is a well known fact that a linguistic substrate of a region will come best into sight in the local toponomy. And Knut-Olof Falk was a specialist in the toponomy of Suwalszczyzna. Already before the Second World War, in 1934,1936, 1937 he carried out linguistic research in the region desirous of applying on Polish material the Swedish method of toponomastic studies, developed by professor Jöran Sahlgren. This resulted in his doctor?s thesis in the Polish language: Wody wigierskie i huciańskie published and defended at a Swedish university in 1941 at a time when Suwalszczyzna was occupied by foreign troops.

Knut-Olof Falk accepted without any hesitation the possibility of taking up his former research in Suwalszczyzna, and so the Swedish Jatvingian Expedition (Szwedzka Ekspedycja Jaćwięska), in brief SEJ, became a reality incorporated in the Polish Kompleksowa Ekspedycja Jaćwięska.

Most of the participants were teachers and students from the Institute of Slavonic Languages at the University of Lund.

It's worth mentioning that at that time, docent Jerzy Nalepa, today well known in Polish scientific circles, was on the staff at the Institute as a lecturer of Polish language and literature. Consequently the students were well prepared before they came to Suwalszczyzna. Several of the students returned from one year to another, using the opportunity of strengthening their knowledge of Polish language and culture. The total amount of the participants is 106.

Knut-Olof Falk and myself had both been in Poland before the second World War. It was with happiness as well as sadness that we returned in 1959. Many friends were gone, many were still alive. And we found new friends.


Inauguration of the Swedish Jatvingian Expedition.

Most of the students, members of SEJ, were born in the 1940-s. To them the expedition in Suwalszczyzna was not only a part of their linguistic education, but also a door to a totally new world. They too got friends in Poland, friends - and sometimes even wives - and they keep this time in Suwalszczyzna among their most beloved and important memories.

SEJ went to Suwalszczyzna for the first time in 1959 and returned almost every year up to 1980.

The Swedish-Polish collaboration was officially settled by two treaties  succeeding one another. The first one, in 1964, between the Instute of Slavonic Studies in Lund and Towarzystwo Naukowe w Białymstoku (BTN); and the second one between Słowiańsko-Bałtyskie Towarzystwo Naukowe w Lund and Polska Akademia Nauk w Warszawie, together with Białostockie Towarzystwo Naukowe. The collaboration was based on interchange of 4 annual scholarships.


a treaty was signed between the Instute of Slavonic Studies in Lund and Towarzystwo Naukowe w Białymstoku (BTN) based on interchange of 4 annual scholarships

In 1972 Knut-Olof Falk traditionally retired from his chair. The board of the Institute in Lund then gave financial priority to other linguistic research, cancelling the existing Swedish-Polish collaboration, so Knut-Olof Falk had to find other ways of financing SEJ, mainly private ones.

After SEJ had returned to Lund from Sywalszczyzna the recorded material was listened to, and typed, as you could not rely on the permanency of the sound quality of the tapes from that time. The material was then ready for further examination before being published.

A study of the toponyms of Sywalszczyzna reveals interesting facts about the linguistic stratification.

From our program I see that there will be an excursion via the lake of Szurpiły. A creek of Szurpiły is named Jodel. A hundred years ago it was a separate lake with the same name. About 10 kilometres north of Jodel we find the lake Czarne. And towards the east of Czarne, near Smolniki, there is a small place, Jodjeziory. About 30 kilometres northwest of Jodjeziory, on the other side of the Lithuanian border but in a former Jatvingian region there is a small river named Kirsna. This name contains an Oldprussian, and probably Jatvingian root with the sense of black. Jodel and Jodjeziory are to be associated with the lithuanian adjective juodas, black. And the Polish czarne - black. Consequently 3 linguistic strata reflected in toponyms in a restricted area.

There are many examples of these strata. For instance the sense of stone is reflected in Sztabinki, Szczebra, from the Jatvingian root stab-: Okmin is to be compared with the Lithuanian akmüo, and, finally, we have the Polish Kamienne, Kamionka.

Finally, I would like to quote the following lines from the diary of the leader of SEJ, Knut-Olof Falk:

Plemię Jac´więgów zostało wytępione albo wygnane przez Krzyżaków, Jaćwięż leżała przez dłuższy czas niemal bezludną. Ale jeszcze dzisiaj - po prawie 7 wieków liczne nazwy miejscowe ziemi suwalskiej przypominają nas o tych czasach kiedy Jaćwięgowie żyli swobodne na własnej ziemi odziedziczonej.

It is regrettable that SEJ had no publication series of its own. Articles had to be published anywhere, for instance in Acta Balto-Slavica, Scando-Slavica, Rocznik Białostocki, in volumes dedicated to eminent scholars. Sometimes they exist only as mimeographs. Some students used the material for their examination papers.

Seminars were held in the old village school at Jasionowo, supervisioned by professor Knut-Olof Falk.

W nauce nie ma łatwych dróg.

As time passed, Knut-Olof Falk remained the only Swedish linguist interested in the Jatvingian question, so the Jatvingian material of SEJ was stored in his study-room. And in our attic and there it has been sleeping for ages. I was at a loss what to do, but I could not find an expedient neither in Sweden nor in Poland.

When hearing of the conference of today, I felt it necessary to remind of the existence of the Zbióry of SEJ: articles published, unpublished material, where you can find facts of partially examined, but also partially unknown facts about Suwalszczyzna, told by old people with memories from the past.

There is a photographic documentation of the informants, of villages, lakes and so on. There are notes of lokal pronunciation of the toponyms and press cuttings.

I'm specially concerned about the so called Zbiór Falka - photo copies of documents regarding the history of Suwalszczyzna. These copies are unique, as their originals were destroyed by fire in the second World War.

For this reason I asked two former Jatvings for help, and we have systematized the material as much as we could get done for the meantime, recording it on a pilot CD. Later on it will be changed for a new one. In spite of the shortcomings of this pilot CD, our troika in the names of all the members of SEJ take the liberty of presenting a copy for general use, to the Jatvingian collection of the museum of Suwałki, which is to be deposited at the museum of Suwałki as a modest evidence of the modern potop szwedzki of Suwalszczyzna.

Dagmar Falk

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