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Photographer's Note

November 11th is recognized in Europe as the end of the World War I. It is also celebrated as the Polish Independence Day, since after about 120 years being divided between Russia, Prussia and Austria, Poland became independent again. As you can imagine, the new borders were not created smoothly.

Austria-Hungary, which ceased to exist, had a very diverse ethnicity. Have a look at this map which well illustrates how many different nations were part of that empire. If you pay attention to the north east corner of that map you will notice that the city of Lviv makes a clear purple (Polish) dot surrounded by an orange (Ukrainian) area.
At the end of the World War I, when the Austro-Hungarian empire collapsed, the Austrian army in Lviv wanted Ukrainians to take over the control of the city. As a result, in October 1918 several thousands of Ukrainian soldiers were stationed in the city, while all Polish soldiers were sent away far away from Lviv.
On November 1, 1918, the Ukrainian Military Committee, with the help of Ukrainian soldiers from the Austrian regiments captured the most important public buildings in Lviv. At the same time two Polish points of resistance were spontaneously formed. Poles constituting the overwhelming majority of the Lviv population (60% of Poles, 30% of Jews, 10% of Ukrainians) could not accept that the predominantly Polish city may become Ukrainian. A lot of very young people spontaneously started to create small units which on their own led guerrilla warfare. Of the defenders of Lviv one was only 9 years old, seven were 10.
The battle has been won and Lviv was for the next 21 years Polish again.

The photo presents the Cemetery of the Defenders of Lwów (Polish: Cmentarz Obrońców Lwowa, Cmentarz Orląt, Cemetery of Eaglets, Orlat Cemetery). The complex is a part of the city's historic Lychakiv Cemetery. There are about 3000 graves in that part of the cemetery.

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Additional Photos by Mariusz Kamionka (mkamionka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5459 W: 104 N: 13890] (55578)
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