Temporary Exhibition: A Pomeranian Biography. Genowefa Szoka – a Settler and a Weaver

"A Pomeranian Biography. Genowefa Szoka – a Settler and a Weaver” exhibition is presented within the West-Pomeranian Heritage Days. The motto for this year: "On the Way" excellently harmonizes with the title of Polish edition of European Heritage Days: "Polish Knot".

This combination inspired The Department of Ethnography of Pomerania of The National Museum in Szczecin to show the image of a person, forced by the complex history of the twentieth century to make a fundamental decision that changed her life forever. The exhibition can be viewed at The National Museum in Szczecin - The Szczecin History Museum between September 17th and October 20th 2019. On Saturday, September 28th 2019, at noon we invite you for a curatorial walk - Iwona Karwowska will present the exhibition (held in Polish).

Genowefa Szoka was born in 1923 in the village of Dejlidy in the Soleczniki district in the Vilnius province. Like thousands of her compatriots, she had to decide whether to stay in the Soviet Socialist Republic, created after the war as a part of the USSR, or to set off on a long journey to the Western Lands, incorporated to Poland in 1945. She resolved this dilemma by settling in the village of Dziadowo in the Gryfice district of the then Szczecin Voivodship. She got married to a man who was a settler as well, who came to Dziadowo from nearby Grodno. She raised two daughters and had grandchildren. She said about her decision during an ethnographic interview: "I founded my life here; at first I didn't like the area very much, but I got used to it. Now I would not like to go and live back there. One may get used to everywhere, as long, as they make ends meet."

Genowefa Szoka was also an extraordinarily skilled weaver. She took wool and linen threads from Dejlidy, but unfortunately did not find weaving looms in Dziadowo, so was forced to give up weaving. However, she also brought her products: towels and carpets (covers) artfully woven even on twelve shedding devices, that is, fabrics double-made with eight shedding devices. Crocheting still remained her pleasure.

The exhibition shows the mentioned fabrics, as well as openwork knotted tablecloths, created by the artist in Dziadowo from threads brought from the Vilnius region. Weaving products are accompanied by family photographs, and the whole exhibition is complemented by weaving tools, including: a spinning wheel, a motovid, a set of shedding devices, shuttles and guides. They show the multitude of works that must be carried out before the fabric is created.