The first 100 interviews of the ‘Testimonies from the War’ project: stories of refugee women and researchers’ experience – 26 January 2023

As part of the project ‘24.02.2022, 5 am: Testimonies from the War’ more than 100 interviews have been recorded since June, amounting to more than 300 hours of recordings. We recorded in Warsaw, Krakow, Poznan, Lodz, Kielce, Gdynia and Lublin, but also many smaller towns and cities throughout Poland. Our interviewees, of whom more than ¾ are women, come from different parts of Ukraine, arrived in Poland either directly or via other countries (e.g. Hungary, Estonia, Russia), and have different experiences, including the Russian occupation. During their conversations with us, they talked about their experience of the outbreak of the war, their first days or weeks in Ukraine, their decision to leave the country, their journey to Poland and their adaptation process to life in Poland. Some of them have already returned to Ukraine, some have moved elsewhere.

The halfway point of the project is a good time for a first summary. Who are our interviewees? What have they experienced, what are they planning and how do they talk about it? How does our methodology work? What problems do we face when seeking out interviewees, during the interviews and their subsequent processing? Three members of our team talked about their experience of research work, the interview recording process and about what and how the refugee women speak:

Dr Katarzyna Jędraszczyk, assistant professor at the Institute of European Culture of the A. Mickiewicz University
Dr Olena Kondratiuk, ethnologist, Head of the Department of Ethnology at the State Scientific Centre for the Protection of Cultural Heritage from Technological Disasters (National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine) in Kyiv.
Dr Elżbieta Kwiecińska, historian and sociologist.

The meeting was chaired by Dr Anna Wylegała, head of the “Testimonies from the War” project in Poland.

Link to recording of the event.