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Date and Place of Birth: January 9, 1921 in Kyrylivka, Ukraine

Place of Interview: Toronto, Ontario

Interviewer: Zoriana Kilyk

Length of Interview: 01:09:49 (raw)


Interviewer: You said you played an important, I think, role in the project "Eternal Flame." Can you talk about that? What was it? How did it start? What did you do there?

SH: When Ukraine became independent, only because it was something new, something soft, helpless, we had to do everything, so I found a friend and we decided to baptize independent Ukraine, because everything newborn should be baptized and the same with Ukrainian independence. I found myself a friend, Petro Skyba, we went to Ukraine, and we crossed Ukraine from the Belorussian border to Odesa, from the Polish border to the border of the Rostov oblast, Luhansk-Rostov border, we walked there for three and a half months. From that time on, I had returned…I visited Ukraine over 20 times.  We were there in 1991, when the youth from the United States and Canada were there, walking from village to village, singing Ukrainian songs. There was almost no government then, there was actually no government at all. Nobody knew what to do. When we were walking through the village singing a song, the secretary of the village hall or something walked out and said: "gentlemen, here on Sunday people rest. You can't be making this much noise. You can't be yelling." We were singing patriotic songs. So, after my return, there was a referendum so I went right back to Ukraine. Borys Wrzesnewskyj brought the printing press, the machines, I brought my own machine with me and we went there to print referendum posters because there was supposed to be a referendum, so that it would be successful. After the referendum, we started travelling to Ukraine to create the Canadian Friends of Ukraine Foundation and started opening libraries. We opened 18 libraries. We collected Ukrainian books here [in Canada] and packed them up to Ukraine and in some of the Canadian libraries in Ukraine there were up to 18 or 20,000 books. The best libraries were in Odesa and Donetsk. They worked very actively, faithfully. Later when we had no energy left, not that there was no energy, but there were no finances, and actually no energy either because the people were getting older, we decided to do something, and the anniversary of the Holodomor was approaching, so how should we remember the Holodomor? We decided, Ivan Kuzyk and I, to buy an RV and I wanted to walk from Halifax to Vancouver to commemorate the Holodomor.

Interviewer: At this time you were how old?

SH: This was ... I walked across Ukraine when I was 73. This was already 1980 ... when Yushchenko was here before the Orange Revolution ...

Interviewer: So this was 2003, 2004?

SH: Later...

Interviewer: You were already retired?

SH: I was already retired when I walked across Ukraine. We had already bought [the RV], paid for, gave a $500 deposit, and we were ready to leave in two or three days, and you know it's like God was leading me. He has been leading me my entire life. When I was writing books, oftentimes I would read what I wrote, and it seemed like I did not write it. It was like someone was dictating it to me, and I had to write it down. The same happened then. Pavlo Grod called me that Australia was sending over a candle, that they made the candle in Australia, and this candle was supposed to be in Canada at such-and-such a time, and somebody was supposed to take that candle across Canada, and then it was supposed to travel to other countries. We had already purchased the vehicle, and right at that time, the next day there was a meeting at City Hall and this eternal candle, they gave it to me, and I took this candle first to Winnipeg, then it was Easter so I had to return home for a day or two, then back to Saskatchewan, to Edmonton, then to Vancouver, not Vancouver but a little town right under it, then to the United States, to the city in Washington State on the other side of Vancouver, the capital of Washington state...Anyway, we passed on the candle to the American continent and the Ukrainian ambassador took it and then I returned home. And when Yushchenko was here, in front of the Parliament of Canada, I gave the candle to a young girl, I don't remember now who it was, and I told her that the candle was in good hands and that they should never forget to carry this candle around the entire world. Then Yushchenko, I don't like talking about it, but he hugged me. It was quite an emotional experience. 


• Stefan Horlatsch interview on Holodomor for UCRDC, File #436, Sharing the Story project, audio clip

Stefan Horlatsch interview on Holodomor for UCRDC, File #222, Sharing the Story project

Benjoe, Kerry. "Survivor describes famine horrors." Regina-Leader-Post. Web.

Canadian Friends of Ukraine brochure.

excerpt from the Interview with STEFAN HORLATSCH

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