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Professor of History at the University of Toronto

Date and Place of Birth: Englewood, New Jersey, USA

Date of Interview: 21 January 2018

Place of Interview: Toronto, Ontario

Interviewer: Sophia Isajiw

Length of Interview: 02:08:39 (raw)


Interviewer: What do you find is your opinion of where the Ukrainian Canadian community is at today?

PRM: Well, you know – see, you’re dealing with someone who has always had a very high opinion of the Canadian diaspora. Now I might not like certain aspects of it, and in terms of one of the issues that I’m concerned with and promote, have met resistance and very often, unpleasant resistance. Right? So, that’s one side of the equation, and that’s reality. However, I have always had a very high opinion of the Ukrainian diaspora both in the United States and in Canada because basically they’re successful. They have been successful in both countries, and actually their level of success and their level of commitment to their culture, and to their people, to their ancestors, to the country from where their ancestors come, and which they would like to see prosper, in comparison to other groups – and here I’m not just talking about in comparison to Carpatho-Rusyns because that’s no comparison, that’s easy to beat that. But I was Director of the Multicultural History Society [of Ontario] for many years and we studied all of these peoples – 130 I think – so I have some perspective on diasporas. And the Ukrainian one continually amazes me, and hasn’t slowed down, and just gets more sophisticated. So, Ukrainians in Canada, I know more about them in Canada than I do in the United States, but I mean, you know, they’re going to be around for a while.

And also, you know what I have to say in this context, I remember the last time I was in Alberta – you know I don’t like going to Alberta, it’s the end of the world. And I always get to go there when it’s lousy weather. So, it’s freezing, it’s cold, it’s rainy, it’s slushy, whatever. The next to last time that I was there, pardon; I went out there, and when I go out there almost always, I don’t know why, I spend time with John Paul Himka, we’re friends a long time ago, so whatever, ok. The time before I was out there because he was doing a conference on Eastern Christianity for which I was asked to give the opening talk. Ok, so I go out there. And then, the reason I say him, because then I always like to stay a day or so later, the conference is over, Sunday comes, I go to church with him, I go visit, so I interact with the “Ukrainian community” out there. And I have to say, coming from the northeast United States, then coming from Toronto, being always around the world of post-WW2 Ukrainian DP’s and their children, who look down on those hicks out in the West, right, from a plateau of superiority in terms of their knowledge of Ukrainian and Ukrainian things, but have all kinds of complexes and hang ups – they don’t know where they belong, whether they’re in this culture or that culture, whether they hated Soviet Ukraine and then they loved independent Ukraine, and then it didn’t fulfill their dreams and so they hate it too – I mean, it’s full of all of these complexes. I go out there, and these people, their lives, descendants of Ukrainians came who knows how many generations before, they go to their churches, they do their thing, they have no complexes about anything – I find them completely healthy, normal people [laughs].


• Magocsi, Dr. Paul Robert was interviewed by Ariadna Ochrymovych on April 9, 2012 for the Sharing the Story: Holodomor Witnesses oral history project. UCRDC File #466 (Video).

• Kushko, Nadiya, Dr. Magocsi’s partner, whose grandmother was a Holodomor survivor from Volodiivtsi, Vinnytsia region, was interviewed by Ariadna Ochrymovych on April 9, 2012 for the Sharing the Story: Holodomor Witnesses oral history project. UCRDC File #465 (Video). 

Magocsi, Paul Robert CV, including links to published books, on the University of Toronto’s Department of History web pages

Magocsi, Paul Robert, Bio page on Munk School of Global Affairs web pages

The Paul Robert Magocsi Carpatho-Ruthenica Library online

Carpatho-Rusyn Research Center, “No Friends But the Mountains: An Interview with Academic Paul Robert Magocsi”

excerpt from the Interview with PAUL ROBERT MAGOCSI

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