Opening: Sat, 12.03.2022, 18:00

In this project I dealt with the past and present of New York’s East Village in Manhattan, where many emigrants from Galicia – Ukrainians, Poles, Carpathian Ruthenians and Jews – have lived since the 1880s.

New York is a city that is constantly changing and immigration has always played a major role in this. Since I was born and raised in Galicia, I was familiar with this environment and quickly got to know many people. I photographed the people, wrote down their biographies and stories about the neighborhood. I was interested in the question of how these people identify themselves, especially in the time when identity-defining constants such as ethnic, national and state or gender affiliation are changing. What strategy of integration to the “new” homeland did they, their parents and grandparents pursue? How important to them are their roots?

Galicia belonged to the Habsburg Monarchy from 1772 to 1918. After that, it was part of Poland (1918-1939), the USSR (1939-1941), Germany (1941-1944), the USSR (1944-1991) and since 1991 belongs to Ukraine. Even during the monarchy, Galicia had the highest emigration rate of all Austrian crown lands. Based on the census results from 1880 to 1910, the number of emigrants from Galicia is estimated at 1.3 million. Most of the Galician emigrants were Poles and Ukrainians. Determining the extent of Jewish emigration is difficult as the American immigration statistics often included Jews among the Slavs.

The next wave of emigration was associated with World War II. After the war, around ten million people were on the run or outside their home countries. They were called “Displaced Persons”. In Austria these were the survivors of the concentration camps, the foreign forced laborers and the people displaced and fled from their countries. They were housed in large camps. Many of them emigrated to North and South America a few years later. The last wave of emigration began right after the collapse of the Soviet Union and continues today.

Text: Anatoliy Babiychuk

Supported by Federal Ministry for Arts, Culture, the Civil Service and Sport