Goodbye, Motherland

An extract from Goodbye, Motherland first published in 2011.

My father Leopold’s ancestors were Polish. His father’s name was Blazej. The surname, written on my grandparents’ graves, Lienkievich, originates from a Lithuanian word meaning “Polish”. My mother’s bloodlines are of Belarusian (my grandmother Sofja Tarasauna) and Russian (my grandfather Grygoryj Ivanavich) origins.


My different ancestors experienced the war in different and at the same time, in similar ways. Poles from Western Belarus were not taken to the army – my father explains – because of distrust. My father’s cousin was the only one from my Polish part of family who worked for the Germans during the war and after the war he decided to stay in Poland. When the Iron Curtain fell we visited my Uncle Anton in Poland. He lived in better conditions than we did.


On our way to Poland, we waited for three days on the Polish-Belarusian border in Brest.  The city where the real war begins all over again every evening and you can hear explosions and Leviatan’s voice spreading over the museum. My father served here when the Second World War began for the Soviet Union. We stayed three days in the place where my father stayed for three years. My great grandfather Ivan was an orthodox priest and an enemy of the nation. My grandfather’s family lost everything after my great grandfather was taken. They had to search for birds’ eggs in the forest… But nobody died because of the Germans. Even my Aunt Sonya, my grandfather’s sister survived the Siege of Leningrad.

Andrei Liankevich (b.1981) is a Belarusian photographer.


Liankevich teaches Photojournalism at the European Humanity University in Vilnius, Lithuania and is the art-director for the CECH art-centre in Minsk, Belarus. He has collaborated with the European Press Photo Agency (EPA) and the Anzenberger Agency in Vienna.


In 2008, Liankevich joined collective of young photographers- SPUTNIK. His works have been published in The New York Times, Le Figaro, Newsweek, Die Zeit, Spiegel, GEO, GEOlino and the International Herald Tribune.


Liankevich has presented his photographic oeuvre in more than 60 exhibitions worldwide, such as the Noorderlicht gallery,  MOMA Vienna and the National gallery in Warsaw.

© Anthropocene Magazine 2016