Translation Powiat biłgorajski w latach I wojny
BIŁGORAJ PROVINCE DURING WORLD WAR I
Austrian army crossed the border on August 7th, 1914 and set up food and ammunition warehouse in Biłgoraj. Initially, Russian army did not succeed much and even retreated after a clash in Osuchy. General Auffenberg’s troops had split and marched from Rawa Ruska to Tomaszów and from Tarnogród to Biłgoraj. General Dankl’s army moved to Janów and Kraśnik and on August 21st assumed the offensive near the Tanew river.
Much bigger fights too place near Frampol on August 21st to 23rd. In September 1914, the scales of victory tipped in favour of the Russians, making the opponents back out to the territories across the San. After a few days of stationary warfare, Austrian army retreated. Similar conflicts took place near Krzeszów in June 1915 leaving the place nearly completely destroyed. The situation on the territory drawn by the river Tanew stabilized in June 1915.
Retreating Russian troops often applied scorched-earth policy. Orthodox villagers, who at that time constituted 26% of the county’s inhabitants, were forced to abandon their homes, leaving some villages completely depopulated. Babice, Księżpol, Biszcza and Łukowa boroughs lost the biggest number of people with only 4793 Orthodox villagers. Having lost 29522 people, the county was now inhabited by 71 840 dwellers. In summer of 1915, once again the county became part of Austro-Hungarian sector of partitioned country with 14 rural boroughs and Biłgoraj as its only town.
Naturally, food and basic products were scarce. Despite scrupulous Austrian customs controls at the border, smuggling flourished. Spirit, kerosene and sugar were smuggled from Galicia. In summer of 1915, cholera and typhoid epidemics broke out in Biłgoraj and Tarnogród. In order to prevent the disease from spreading, Biłgoraj was locked down and the infected were isolated in a local hospital. Around 2000 sick people died in Biłgoraj and another 1000 in Tarnogród. In rural areas isolated cases of both diseases were recorded throughout the war.
Military Department of the Supreme National Committee ran its unit it Biłgoraj with warrant officer Madurowicz as the unit’s chief. The aim of the office was to recruit men to join the Polish Legions. The secondary effect, as it turned out, was political stimulation of local society.
On November 3rd, 1918, lieutenant colonel Aleksander Carapet officially ceded power to A. Cyfrowicz and left Biłgoraj. The next day Austrian troops were disarmed by local team of the Polish Military Organisation, Lt. Mazurkiewicz became the chief of armed services in the county and notary Wolski chief of Public Security Bureau. Biłgoraj and the whole county were liberated territories.