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Int Migr Rev. 1997 Fall;31(3):704-20.

Making borders stick: population transfer and resettlement in the Trans-Curzon territories, 1944-1949.


"Designed in 1919-20 by the British mediator Lord Curzon as an armistice proposal between the then warring powers Poland and Soviet Russia, the Curzon Line served to identify the maximum territorial reach of Soviet political influence in Europe....[The author discusses] a program of resettlement which would target communities on both sides of the new border, a policy eventually affecting some 1.4 million individuals...." The implementation and impact of this population exchange are described.


The formal acceptance of the historical Curzon Line as the boundary demarcating the new frontier between Poland and the Union of Soviets Socialist Republics led to a massive population exchange between the two countries during the final years of World War II and its aftermath. The process of population exchange began immediately with the signing of the Polish-Soviet agreement of September 1944, which set the new frontiers. A program of resettlement which targeted communities on both sides of the new border affected some 1.4 million individuals, including 810,000 Polish inhabitants of former East Galicia and Volhynia and 630,000 individuals identified with the Ukrainian ethnolinguistic community inhabiting the borderlands of Podlachia, Chelm, Jaroslaw, and the Lemko region. This article specifically discusses the population transfer and resettlement that took place in these Trans-Curzon territories during 1944-49.

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