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Ukrainians in the Canadian Armed Forces during WWII

Over 35,000 Canadians of Ukrainian descent served in the Canadian military during WWII. These servicemen and women constituted the second-largest group of non-British, non-French serving in the Canadian armed forces. The servicemen and women were not only an integral part of the Canadian military during wartime, but also made a significant contribution to the development of Canadian postwar policy on displaced persons and refugees.

In its archives, the UCRDC has a collection of oral history testimonies of these servicemen, which were conducted in 1989-1991 and have been digitized. The format of the interviews follows a standard questionnaire and the interviews were conducted by UCRDC volunteers.

There are five key themes that come out of most of the interviews:

1. Reasons for joining the armed forces;

2. The efforts to maintain ‘Ukrainianess’ while overseas by the servicemen and women as exhibited through their participation in the Ukrainian Canadian Servicemens’ Club;

3. Discrimination [or absence of] against Ukrainians in the armed forces;

4. The veterans’ relationship with the Central Ukrainian Relief Bureau, Ukrainian displaced persons, repatriation and attitudes towards the Soviet Union;

5. And, finally, their views on the consequences for or impacts on Canadian society of Ukrainian participation in the Canadian armed forces.

UkrainianS IN CANADA