Since 2015 I have travelled three times to Lower Silesia, Poland, where my father’s family lived for centuries under Bohemian, Prussian, and German rule. Their homes were in regional villages south of Wroclaw, a thousand-year old city. The earliest Silesians were migratory tribes. Traces of Stone Age habitation were found on the city’s riverbanks and Celtic populations passed through and moved on. Silesia was claimed by the kingdom of Poland shortly before the year 1000, followed by various competing rulerships and kingdoms as the land was bought, sold, given and taken in marriages between revolving political and religious controls, becoming finally a province of the Republic of Germany until it was annexed to Poland after WW2. My relations, along with most ethnic Germans, were expelled to the west, leaving their homes and properties behind.
While in Silesia I filmed sites and recorded interviews for my media project, Borderland Memories. I was a visiting researcher on a team from Adam Mickiewicz University, Poland, and my project was funded in part by the Canada Council for the Arts (2018).