HOME  |  ABOUT US  |  FILMS  |  EXHIBITS  |  ARCHIVE  |  PUBLICATIONS  |  EDUCATIONindex.htmlhttp://livepage.apple.com/About_Us.htmlFilms.htmlExhibits-Internment.htmlArchive.htmlPublications.htmlEducation.htmlshapeimage_1_link_0shapeimage_1_link_1shapeimage_1_link_2shapeimage_1_link_3shapeimage_1_link_4shapeimage_1_link_5shapeimage_1_link_6shapeimage_1_link_7


Professor of Engineering

Date and Place of Birth: Zarebky, Ternopil oblast, Ukraine

Date of Interview: October 27, 2017

Place of Interview: Toronto, Ontario

Interviewer: Sophia Isajiw

Length of Interview: Part 1 - 01:33:02 (raw); Part 2 - 00:22:25 (raw)


In the village of Zarebky [near Ternopil, at that time under Polish rule], there were just 2 persons in prison – my father was first, and my uncle, my mother’s brother. He was a mayor of that locality. But he was, sent, imprisoned before my father was imprisoned. Once they started to, wanted to make collective farms in Zarebky [to collectivize farms], they sent the mayor, my uncle, to the Soviet Union, to Soviet Ukraine, to see what life on collective farms [is like], but they showed them the best collective farms. But one of the Ukrainians approached him, when my uncle was on the collective farm in Ukraine, and he said, “This is not so. Listen, this is the best farm, this is just for example [just for show] but we are slaves of collective farms. We are slaves; they give us what they want. They give us let’s say, what, flour, they give us a little sugar, see, and we have work from 8am until 8pm, 12 hours sometimes. This is slavery. When my uncle came to Zarebky, oh, he, in the beginning, he said, to the face of a representative of the Soviet Union, he said it’s a lovely life in the collective farms. But then said, to some Ukrainian “hospodari,” farmers: listen, it’s a misery. And somebody – some way, some how – he was denounced, that he said that collective farms, it’s a catastrophe, and he was imprisoned. So my father was imprisoned.

Interviewer: What year was that?

In 1940, on the 3rd of March, 1940. So he was imprisoned first in Skalat, it’s about 10km from Zarebky. Then, in 20 days, still in March, on the 25th of March or whatever, they encircled the prison, they took all prisoners from that small prison, transferred them to the big prison, to Ternopil. And when my father was travelling to Kolodivka, about 4km from Skalat towards Ternopil, towards Panásivka, Khodáchkiv, the way – conducting towards Ternopil prison – my aunt, my father’s sister was at the church at the very time when my father was passing by the church, she was coming from the church, and my father recognized her and said, her name was “Franka,” “Franka!” And she started to cry ‘Gregory,’ because she knew he was in prison. She started to run, and she said to the NKVD, “I’d like to meet him,” and they said, “No way, no way, no way, no way,” and they continued. And my father, when he was travelling that road – that road was built by my father – because he was working in road improvement, from Skalat to Ternopil. And he said, “Now I prepared this road for myself. Now they are bringing me to prison from Skalat, on the same road I was preparing with 250 workers,” you see.


CBC Radio–Canada, “La communauté ukrainienne présente en Abitibi depuis plus de 60 ans,” January 8, 2014

Kish, Walter. “A Legend of the North” on The View from Here, infoUkes

Yaschyshyn, David. “Ontario town recognizes bicentennial of Shevchenko” in The Ukrainian Weekly, December 18, 2015

NorthernNews, “Ukrainian community celebrates Easter this weekend,” April 13, 2012

Ville de Val-d’Or, Photo: “Une partie de la communauté ukrainienne de Val-d’Or, devant l’église, en 1955 - au milieu: le Père Chayka.

Fonds Lev Chayka, SHVD” 

Waves of immigration to Val D’Or

  1. Kapuskasing Internee Cemetary, page 13 of “Recalling Canada’s First National Internment Operations: Annual Report of the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund, 2012.” 

Abley, Mark. “Ukrainians still resent internment,” The Montreal Gazette, 4 August 1999

Announcement of the 65th Priestly Jubilee Divine Liturgy for Monsignor Lev Chayka, Sunday October 29, 2017, 2pm at St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church

Obituary for sister Maria Chayka-Lachowich

“50-річчя здвигнення української церкви в Руан-Норанді, ” infoukes

“Відродження музею,” Ukrainian Museum in Abitibi, infoukes

75-річчя української церкви Св. Володимира Великого у Кіркленд Лейк, infoukes


The interviews can be accessed at the UCRDC. Please contact us at: office@ucrdc.org