I n t r o d u c t i o n
A town's history is no more than a speck of dust, compared to that of a country, or of all mankind. Yet, its minuteness sometimes becomes vital in the discovery of missing chapters in the history of civilizations. Its relative size may not always reflect its historical value, as recent archeological discoveries
amply display that unearthing an ancient grave, an old settlement, or the walls of a forgotten city buried in the ground, provides enormous scientific value in researching the secrets of the past.
No claim of such magnitude can be made with respect to Jazlowiec. Its only archeological find, made by Prof. J. Kozlowski shortly before World War Two, testifies to the presence of man in the valley of two passing streams in the Bronze Age. However, it is certain that much hidden information relating to the town's various periods of development awaits discovery. But ever since the Eastern territories were ceded to the Soviet Union by the World War Two peace treaties, the likelihood of any archeological undertaking within the town's perimeters have became problematic, and perhaps improbable. Soviet historians and scientists, and even less Ukrainian, could not be expected to find in themselves much incentive to dig into a Polish past.
At the crossroads of many armies and civilizations, Jazlowiec has been subjected to destruction several times in its history. This did nothing to assist in preserving a sufficient amount of information for recreation and restoration of its past lost in old ages. Whatever remains in the form of available documentation is often sparse and incomplete, primarily because many records fell victim to the wanton destruction of invaders, especially from the East, and to the ignorance of local people.
In spite of this, this town so blatantly deleted for the post-war times from the European map still lives on in Polish memory. Certain historical aspects have helped to keep its name alive, although seldom intimate in detail. As its ancient glories radiated over former and present territories, its name was documented in many ways for many reasons. The purpose of this text is to assemble available data into a condensed volume for future references, and to document the town's existence.
The scarcity and incompleteness of historical material on Jazlowiec calls for certain logical conclusions and assumptions in relation to certain periods of its history. Such practice would not be inconsistent with the general approach of historians towards this geographic area or other areas of the world. At different times, historians of differing nationalities in a manner which would further their political interest presented different aspects of history. However, the above statement is more applicable to the general area of Podolia, where the town is located, than to the town itself.
The available documentation on Jazlowiec is basically of Polish origin. The Ruthenian (Ukrainian) sources so far have nothing to offer which even acknowledges the town's existence. Even the map of the region, allegedly prepared in the 16th Century and presented in their historical publications, fails to show the town's name. This is altogether inconsistent with proven facts that recognize this period as the "golden age" of Jazlowiec. More generous information is provided by Armenians, who maintained a presence there for several centuries, and who were at the time the dominant economic and cultural communities within its walls.
Another important contributor of the town's past is local folklore. The further back in time, the greater its contribution. Legend may not always be the source of verifiable information, but in general, it has an established position in the histories of various nations. Such is the case with Jazlowiec. Ignoring this source of information would jeopardize the project, and at best limit its scope to shortened period of time. Utilizing it, however, we are able to maintain a continuity in the chronology of events.
In all fairness, it has to be recognized that this text cannot be taken as clear-cut historical presentation. In view of the many nationalistic viewpoints presented, no assurance can be made of absolute objectivity. In this context, any assertions as to impartiality of sources would have to be views with the close scrutiny; and assumptions and conclusions presented considered within the framework of the reader's convictions.
This work is being written as a series of essays, each treating historical events and personalities, or even ideological issues, in a fashion that will conform to a series of events in the order of their occurrence. The repetition of time periods, events and personalities is unavoidable, but on the whole, the monograph should give a fair and reasonably accurate account of the history of Jazlowiec.
Another important note relates to the general geographical location of the town, which in the present circumstances needs some clarification. The region of Podolia, once an integral part of the Polish state, has since World War Two become unknown on the new Soviet and Ukrainian maps. To reconstruct its location it is necessary to refer to the territory as the Western Ukraine. Although the borders of the two do not exactly correspond, it is a fair geographical approximation of the "vanished" land of Podolia.