October 1918 in Lviv

In October 1918, in the conditions of fighting for the formation of national states, Lviv became an object of contest between Ukrainians and Poles. Political meetings, congresses, discussions involving representatives of both camps were held in the city. The city itself became a stage for demonstrating people's support: rallies, demonstrations, and marches.

Historical context

In October 1918, in the conditions of military defeat of the Quadruple Alliance in World War I and the national liberation movement of peoples, the Austrian-Hungarian Empire started collapsing into several independent states. Ukrainians and Poles started taking decisive measures in order to create their own states. Lviv was to occupy an important place in both of these.

On October 16 Emperor Karl І (Karl von Habsburg-Lothringen) proclaimed a manifesto "To My Faithful Austrian Peoples", which was about granting national autonomy to the peoples of the Empire and transformation of Austria-Hungary into a federation.

On October 18, 1918 a meeting was held in Lviv. The Ukrainian members of the Austrian parliament, of the Galician and Bukowina Sejms, representatives of Galician and Bukowinian political parties, and clergy participated in it. As the result of this meeting, the Ukrainian National Council was formed – a political representative body of the Ukrainian people in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. On October 19, 1918 the Ukrainian National Council proclaimed the Ukrainian State in the territory of Eastern Galicia, north-western Bukovyna and Zakarpattya.

On October 28 in Krakow a liquidation committee was formed. It was to take the rule in Galicia from the Austrian Governor and to include the Galician territory to the Polish state.

Event description with localization

The meeting of Ukrainian members of the Austrian parliament, Ukrainians members of the Galician and Bukowinian Sejms, representatives of political parties of Galicia and Bukowina, and clergy took place on October 18, 1918 in the building of the People’s House on 22, Rutowskiego Str. (today Teatralna Str.) The meeting started at 5 p.m. and lasted for eleven hours.

On Sunday, October 20, a massive rally was held on Sw. Jura’s Square in Lviv. Kost Levytskyi, a member of the Austrian parliament proclaimed the formation of the Ukrainian state. The rally started at 11 a.m., as Dilo wrote, "thousands of Ukrainians of the Lviv city were gathered" on the square. Decision to join the Dnieper Ukraine was postponed by Kost Levytskyi for the future, while the parliament member Semen Vityk called for a construction of the united Ukrainian state as a republic. The act of proclamation ended in singing "Ukraine has already risen".

On the same day, the newspaper Dilo published the act of proclaiming the Ukrainian state in the territory of "Ukrainian ethnographic lands of Austria-Hungary" (the territory of Galicia to the east of the river of San, Lemkivshchyna region, north-western Bukovyna, and "Ukrainian parts of north-eastern Hungary" meaning Zakarpattya).

October 20, according to the Polish-language press, was also the day of confirming the "Polish nature of the city". At the morning Mass in the Cathedral, the representatives of the city and regional authorities, Polish societies, organizations, clubs, etc. were present. After the liturgy, in which the archbishop Józef Bilczewski took part, the text of proclaiming the Polish sovereignty was read. The attenders of the Mass sang the anthem "Boże coś Polske".

After leaving the Cathedral, people went to the City Hall where there was a session of the city council. The session room was full of spectators, including the participants of the January Uprising of 1863, representatives of guilds, public organizations and societies. Some members of the city council, in order to show their Polish nature, were dressed in traditional Polish gentry "kuntushes". The session ended in proclamation of the belonging of Lviv to Poland and decision to send a delegation to Warsaw. The meeting ended in a procession to the Adam Mickiewicz monument   and a brief rally on the square.

At about 3 p.m. processions with standards went from Lviv catholic churches to the Kapitulna Square (today Katedralna). The meeting blessed by the archbishop included several tens of thousands of people. In-between political speeches about restoration of Polish independence and belonging of Lviv to Poland the prayers to the Holy Virgin – "The Queen of the Polish Crown" ("Krolowej Korony Polskiej"), and to "Polish" saints Jan from Duklia (Jan z Dukli) and Jakub Strepa (Jakub Strzemię) could be heard.

On that very evening there was a meeting of the Polish community held in the room of the Casino and Literary and Artistic Group (Каsyno i Kolo literacko-artystyczne) in the Mikolasz Passage (Pasaż Mikolasza). The speeches were delivered by the President of the Casino and Literary and Artistic Group Aleksandr Vogel and Armenian archbishop Józef Teodorowicz. At the same time, the meeting of Polish female Christian societies in the City Hall expressed their support of the restoration of Polish sovereignty.

Event interpretation by different editions

The main feature of covering the events by the press is almost complete ignoring of Ukrainian campaigns by the Polish press and vice versa. Even if some event is mentioned, it is rather an introduction to some analytical or propagandist article, then a piece of news. Thus, Kurjer Lwowski was advocating the position of the Polish right to settle the fate of Eastern Halychyna while writing about the meeting of the Ukrainian National Council. Accordingly, the coverage of the "own" events was very extensive and presented positive assessment. Also, lots of infomation was dedicated to substantiation of the "Polish nature" or "Ukrainian nature" of the city that was based on the historical tradition and cultural heritage.

Persons

Bilczewski,  Józef (1860-1923) – аrchbishop of the Roman-Catholic church.
Levytskyi,  Kost (1859–1941) – public and political figure, co-founder of the Ukrainian People's-Democratic Party, ambassador of the Chamber of Ambassadors of the Austrian parliament and Halychyna Sejm, one of the heads of the Western Ukrainian People’s Republic (ZUNR).
Teodorowicz,  Józef (1864-1938) – аrchbishop of the Armenian Catholic church.
Vityk, Semen (1876–1937) – public and political figure, one of the founders of the Ukrainian Social-Democratic party, ambassador of the Chamber of Ambassadors of the Austrian parliament, one of the heads of the Western Ukrainian People’s Republic (ZUNR).
Vogel,  Aleksandr – President of the Casino and Literary and Artistic Group.

Sources

  1. "Gazeta Lwowska", 1918, №240.
  2. "Kurjer Lwowski", 1918, №№ 486-489.
  3. Skorowidz adresowy Krol. Stol. miasta Lwowa (Lwow, 1910).
  4. "Діло", 1918, №№ 239, 240.
  5. Енциклопедія українознавства (Париж, Нью-Йорк: "Молоде Життя", 1954–1989).
  6. Маріоля Шидловска, "Кабаретовий Львів", Часопис "Ї", 2004, Ч. 36.
  7. Мельник Б. В., Довідник перейменувань вулиць і площ Львова. ХІІІ–ХХ століття (Львів: "Світ", 2001).
By Nazar Kis