Fondanserkas of Prewar Lviv: Women of Forgotten Time

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Retro style lady

This story goes to the time when Lviv was part of Austro-Hungarian Empire and was called Lemberg. Lviv-Lemberg looked like a pleasant, cozy and colorful town which gave a lot of opportunities to feed its inhabitants. For this reason, young people from all the surrounding areas, towns and villages came here. Everyone had a hope of making their own way in life in this town.

Parents of many girls from the provinces wanted to arrange a better life for them (and a good marriage, of course), and sent their daughters in private girls’ boarding schools in Lemberg, where the ladies turned into educated women. Graduates of these boarding schools knew several languages, played the piano, danced, and could naturally keep up a conversation with men. Such a lady could be the perfect life companion. Well, then it was just a matter of luck.

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Lemberg girls tried to get into the circle, which was called in Paris a half-light. Lemberg of the time was not inferior to Paris in terms of the number of wealthy business men. And such men were often lonely and were searching for a young, pretty, tidy girlfriend, with whom it would not be boring to talk, and to have a good time in the theater or to dance in the lounge. In Polish "fondanserka" – means a partner for dancing.
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However, the fondanserkas of Pre-war Lviv were not only partners for dancing. Fondanserka, who knew the realities of a big town life, could give the right advice and connect the man with the right people and even save him from depression. In a word, the fondaserka-girl honestly worked out her money, which the wealthy men paid her. After a few years, a reasonable "half-light lady" could make a mint of money, with which it was possible to think about marriage.
couple close to castle
Of course the marriage can be arranged not in Lemberg, where everyone knew her, but the Austro-Hungarian Empire was big. There were big and beautiful cities in it, where a wealthy lady could find a decent spouse, and where no one knew about the frivolous past of a that faithful wife and virtuous mother who was a fondanserka once upon a time.
Photos: depositphotos.com

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