Events by Day

Borderlands Outcasts
28 February 2017

On February 28, 2017, at 4.00 pm, during the Urban Seminar, Kamil Ruszała will present his research on "The Outcasts From the Borderlands of the Empire: Refugees From Galicia During the First World War in the Habsburg Monarchy."

The presentation focuses on highlighting selected issues on the war refugees from the Habsburg Monarchy during the First World War. In times of the WWI, Galicia was the battlefield. As a result, there was mass migration of population. Some were fleeing the looming warfare on their own, while others were evacuated by the Austrian authorities. The population of the multicultural Galicia scattered around the Habsburg Monarchy – from Czech lands, Moravia, until Krajna (present Slovenia), from the western borders until Vorarlberg, at the border with Switzerland. The refugees were accomodated in larger cities such as Vienna, Gratz, Brno, Budapest, a.o. This created opportunities for another life standard. Parallel to changes of the situation at the front, refugees received a chance to return to Galicia. However, it was not an easy task because the economic situation of the crown land destroyed by war was not easy. Some wanted to go back home in spite of anything, but some decided to stay and search for new living space.

In his presentation, the researcher will try to answer the questions of what evacuation was like, and how Galician residents had to spontaneously flee. What was their experience of war refugees? How did it impact their mental health? How did the refugees themselves understand the state of affairs? Did they feel fully-fledged citizens of the monarchy when in exile? Or, did they perceive themselves as aliens? How did the citizens of Austria, Moravia, and Czech treat refugees? How did the war experience make refugees change their attitudes about the Habsburg Monarchy?

Kamil Ruszala, MA, is a historian, a doctoral student at the Department of History of Contemporary Poland, at the History Institute of Jagiellonian University in Cracow. He studies the history of Galicia, Austria, and Austro-Hungary. He attended Jagiellonian University in Cracow and Vienna University. Underway is his doctoral thesis on the refugees from Galicia during the First World War in the Habsburg Monarchy. He authored the book "The Great War in a Small Town. Gorlice in 1914-1918" ("Wielka Wojna w małym mieście. Gorlice w latach 1914-1918", Cracow, 2015). He edited several research works on the First World War, the recent one being on "Soldiers' Experience of the Great War" ("Doświadczenia żołnierskie Wielkiej Wojny", Cracow, 2016).

The seminar is held in a workshop formatResearchers are invited to discuss research projects and studies underway at different stages, as well as completed research projects to be published.

The seminar is not open to the general public. Historians, sociologists, cultural anthropologists, and other humanities students are invited to share their research and experience, as well as take part in discussions of the projects presented at the seminar.