The meaning of DP (Displaced Persons) camp to Ukrainians

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Mama Orysia Kowalchuk Tato Wasyl Klymuk (Oleh) and Me August 1950 Regensburg Germany. Green Card Picture for Immigration to USA. New Life begins………….
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Ukrainian school in Rheine Camp 1946. Westphalin Germany British zone there is a story
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Один з перших СУМ таборів в Німеччині 1948 або 1949 у Шонґау. Більшість учасників табору були з Анґлійської зони на півночі. One of the first CYM camps in Germany 1949. A vykhovnyk (counselor) was Bandera.
Oseredok CYM Dusseldorf in Shongau.1955
Oseredok CYM Dusseldorf in Shongau.1955

The post War Emigration from Ukraine to the world via Germany and what made German Hromady different……..

Many younger people don’t understand so I tried to write it down simply for my friend’s daughter who asked.

There were millions of people in DP camps and out of DP camps in Germany after WWII. Many many of them were Ukrainians. Since Ukraine did not exist this was the first place they were able to register not as Poles, not at Soviets or Russians, but as Ukrainians. It was here that they had Ukrainian schools, Ukrainian trade schools, churches, plast and CYM, theater, drama gymnasia, and music, all in Ukrainian. That hadn’t happened before. They escaped and got their first wif of freedom in the American and British zones. It wasn’t all hunky dori, because there was spying and killing and sending back etc. but it was from here they moved to all over the world.

Australia, South America, England, France, Belgium, Canada and last but not least to the USA. Many who left Germany after 1950 were on their way to the USA or Canada or they had to stay. Who stayed? My father in law said , the bandyty the prostitutky and the sick. My father in law belonged to the sick. 75% of his lungs were not working because of the conditions in the coals mines in Dortmund. He was an ostarbeiter which means slave laborer from the east.

Australia like England were new and they built up quickly and sustained themselves more or less, Australia was simply far from Europe. They worked bought property and built schools churches and narodni domy. South America had old iimmigrations but they were poor and tried to go to America. Many did. The Venezuelan one is just about gone unless there are new people there and then there is Argentina and Brazil with surviving hromady to this day. Canada and the church work with them.

The USA and Canada have old emigrations from Austrian times in the late 1800’s. They were basically economic but after WWI political as well. They built churches schools and narodni domy that still stand today. They came to stay and really were not going to go back. Some did but few.

The hromady in France are old as well. Petlura was in France. They are the debaters and the talkers. They will talk you to death at the dinner table and don’t be surprised to have 6 opinions among 4 people all talking at once. It is lovely and normal. I loved being a guest in France. Especially at the Mitrovych house.

Belgium were the holders of the fort. They all worked hard, and educated their kids. I was so happy to go back two years ago and find all my junaky were lawyers, doctors, scientists, teachers, honest workers and more. I have always admired and been fond of the hromady in Belgium. In Holland there were unique families of strong individuals namely Kushpeta and Antonovych. These two families and a few others put Ukraine on the Dutch map.

Now we come to Germany;

Germany never bought any property or buildings. They watched as the people left from 1945 to 1965. It was a depletion of people from year to year. They felt the Germans and the diaspora owed them because they got out or because they were Germans. So everything Ukrainian was paid for by kultur amt, and social amt etc. most people did not work or they worked on zeppelinstr or dachauerstr or isarring 11. This too was money from the govt or diaspora. This makes for a weak group. They felt they were the chosen politicians of Ukraine and immediate connection to the east. They kind of were. This created an aura of we are special. I was very shocked to observe this when I married and moved to Germany in 1977.

I lived there from 1977 to 96 and kept telling them if they don’t buy a domiwka, if they don’t buy a ploshcha if they don’t buy a church they will disappear. This was the plan of the Germans. Look at your church on Shoengau str. or whatever I forgot already. Take off the dome and you have an instant Walmart. It was a plan. We already lost Krefeld which Sheptytskyj bought, and Essen and Ratingen and Braunschweig and Regensburg and I don’t know what is in Duesseldorf anymore. I don’t know about Hannover or Hamburg now either. They were pretty strong and I think the pravoslavni and katolyky actually bought their own church in Hannover.

So that is why “Uli” your German hromada looks different now than the rest of the world. It is the old capitalist philosophy Money talks where nobody walks. The Hromada in Germany never had ownershipl They supposedly wanted to go back to Ukraine. but they died or were murdered by the Russian KGB….. the young ones don’t really know what happened. Someone should write a history, because the whole diaspora in the world began in Germany…… so it is an interesting phenomena …..

There were hromady in Poland, Czech Republic, old Yugoslavia that one was mainly funded by Rome. But I don’t know much about them…. I know they go back to WWI and Ruskyj Krstur to 1750 or so. They were economic migrations under Austria. Maybe others will fill in…

Post Script next day Oct. 5th 2014.

The sad thing about Germany is they had tons of money from the USA and Canada and England and Australia diaspora. they spent it and bought nothing. I think Slava bought Yaroslaviv Val in Kyiv with some of the money. But the people who buzzed around in Munich spent it frivolously in my opinion. They don’t have a piece of land in germany they can call their own. That is shameful.

Moral of the story is If you own property you have a chance at survival That is why Ukraine is fighting for it’s land because it belongs to Ukraine. Israel fights for its land because they say God gave it to them. The USA fights for its land because the founding fathers said they should. So in Germany whatever the reason may have been resulted in the fact that there is no ownership and this lead a a weakened hromada. Simple lesson learned from downtown New York. Those that bought their buildings like Surmach and Bachynsky , resulted in their businesses surviving. Those that paid rent, couldn’t any more, and thus were forced to close. The Ukrainian store Arka folded, and Orchidea the infamous Orchidea which was home to hanging out for decades folded it simply became to expensive. There is something to be had for real estate and ownership…….

Halya Klymuk
October 2014