Mother UkraineWhat do you know about the Ukraine?
Better admit right away that you don't know a thing about it, yet, you ought to know plenty. Yes, you ought to. Why? Let us tell you. Ukraine is the MOTHER COUNTRY of all people From Ukraine came the Greeks, those very Greeks of immortal glory, who were the founders of our great civilization and our great culture. I mean your culture, my culture, and everyones culture, your civilization, my civilization, and the civilation of the whole White Race. Hence came the Romans and the Celts, and most probably the Germans. The learned men, who tried to locate the original seat of the whole Indo-European Race, arrive at the conclusion that the precise spot from which white people have issued forth and spread all over Europe, Asia, and the rest of the world, must be located somewhere in the north-western corner of Ukraine. So, dear friend, we don't care who you are or how long you, your fathers or forefathers lived in America, or from what country they originally hailed: look upon this Ukrainian House as something of your own. Listen to the gentle Ukrainian songs, try our savoury dishes, admire the embroidery, tapestry and the rest and know that what you see, hear, or taste is a far-away echo from your own ancient Motherland, ancient, yet continuously young, young, sweet, vigorous, and restful. Now, do you want to know something about this CRADLE of CRADLES! Or are you so hardened, dull, unimaginative that you simply do not care! I bet you, that you don't even know where this Ukraine is situated. Well, if you are not interested stop reading right here, but warn you that none of those nice Ukrainian girls you have seen will never care for you, or, if you happen to be a girl yourself remember that we still have a good many valiant Cossacks: their way with girls is just sweeping, irresistible and Oh! so sweet. So, after all, you better learn something about the Ukraine: just the main facts.
Where then is this Ukraine you are talking about? The ethnographic boundaries of Ukraine territory are the following: the western boundary begins at the Sulina section of the Danube Delta, the city of Ismail, passes through Akkerman in Bessarabia, then along the lower course of the Dniester, past Orgiejeff and Bielzy, to Nowosielitza. In the Bukowina, the Ukrainian boundary passes via Storozynetz, Wikow, Moldawitza, Kirlibaba to the source of the Tsheremosh, after which it enters northeastern Hungary. Here it follows the course of the Visso and Theiss rivers, as well as the Gutinge Mountains, and then, by way of the towns of Ujlak, Beregszasz, Munkacs, Unghvar, Bartfeld, and Lublau, it reaches the Poprad River in Galicia. The boundary line in Galicia between Poles and Ukrainians is indicated by the towns of Grybow, Gorlice, Dukla, Sanok, and by the River San as far as Jaroslaw and Sieniawa. In Russian Poland, the western boundary runs east of the towns of Zamosc, Krasnostaw, Lukow, Siedlce, Drohiczyn, finally terminating in the province (government) of Grodno, at the scource of the Narew, in the forest of Bialowiez. The northern boundary of the Ukraine, in the governments of Grodno and Minsk, passes along the Jasiolda River and Lake Wygonoshtsh, to the Pripet, which it follows untill that river empties into the Dnieper. The continuation of this morhern boundary in the government of Tshernigoff is indicated by the course of the Dnieper as far as Lojeff, then by the cities of Rylsk, Sudsha, Obojan, Korotsha, Oskol, in the government of Voronesh, by the river Don at Ostrohoshk, and the town of Novochopersk. The eastern line runs, in the basin of the Don, along the river Choper to its mougth, then follows the Kalitwa and the Lower Donetz and the Don as far as Novocherkask, and then, following the Sal past Lake Manytsh and the city of Stavropol, it strikes the northern approaches to the Caucasus. At this point the boundary becomes rather uncertain, for a very active colonizing movement has been drawing Ukrainian peasants into this region for decades, and a thin line of Ukrainian settlements already extends to the Caspian Sea. At any rate the territory along the Black Sea, north of a line drawn through Piatyhorsk, Labinsk, Maikop, Tuapse, is Ukrainian. If we enter these boundaries on a political map of Europe, we shall note that two nations each enjoy possession of a part of Ukraine. These are Poland and Russia. But their portions are very unequal. The boundaries of the provinces and governments, respectively, of the two nations are entirely independent of the ethnographic facts. It is true that Ukraine is now under several Governments; it is true that it is for the time being divided. Nevertheless, if he Germans are Germans whether they live in Germany Austria, Bavaria or Prussia so the Ukrainians are Ukrainians, whether their Government is Polish or Russian. Wars, and greed and diplomacy create artificial frontieres. What of it? Frontieres come and go (especially in that part of the World) people remain and there is no way of destroying thousands of years of traditions, but why is it that we never heard about this Ukraine of Yours?
Well, partly or course it is your own fault. Partly - you are to be excused. Like France, which has been called Gaul; like England, whose name was Britain; like America formerly Columbia, New France, New England and so on, so the Ukraine, (although it was always called so at home was known as Scythia, then as Russia, sometimes Ruthenia, Little Russia, Little Poland, Sous and so on. Yet, all the time, it was exactly the very same country, peopled by the same race of men and women. Agriculture was the staple industry on the land, Freedom, its greatest and most cherished passion. This is why, from times immemorial, Ukraine was the home of the Cossacks. You may not know who the Cossacks are or what they stand for in the popular mind, but to a Ukrainian, a Cossack is a Free Man, the Freest Man in the World, a man, who, without necessarily being rich, is independent economically, and politically, lives under a peculiar system of brotherhood embracing the whole of the race. This tradition is so glorious that the Ukrainian, disappointed, maintains that "there is no other Ukraine in the World".To be a Cossack means also to be valiant and brave. Well, maybe you know that our Cossacks were never afraid of death, and were known as the best of soldiers. What about your history? Have you got one? Yes, we have. While you people, who moved Easward and Westward left the Ukraine, and in the strangle lands you found, modified your language and customs we stayed where we were and stuck to the old tradition. Sure enough, news of your wonderful doings reached us back home and reached upon us. We were proud of you, or rather, we were sometimes proud of you and were glad to adopt us our own, whatever great discoveries you has made. Greeks were praising us for our receptiveness to their wonderful ways, and, many centuries later, Frenchmen and Dutchmen and others were surprised to find that while stark ignorance reigned everywhere else, in Ukraine even peasant girls could all of them read and write and were interested in things pertaining to culture. However, our great business was to be a bulwark of the white race. Against the never ceasing onrush of the savage hords, who aimed at destroying whatever the white man had achieved. So thru centuries, we fought, defending ourselves and you, although, by nature we were inclined to be peaceful, merry and contented.From the original Ukraine grew up the Empire of Russia. Our sons, our colonists, our settlers were those who built it up. That is why to this day, Russians call Kyiv (which is the principal city of the Ukraine) "The Mother of Russian Cities of the Russian Metropolis. When we were with Poland, Poland was one of the leading nations of Europe.When we left it and rejoined Muscovy, Russian Empire was reestablished in greater glory than before, while Poland began to totter to its doomed home and away from the international mix ups we continued to cultivate freedom and peaceful life, on our many cozy, verdant and beflowered farms.
However, the world at large was not ready yet for freedom. It did not know what freedom meant, it took it to be some sort of horrible sin and held it in abomination. So, we had constantly to withstand invasions, devastations, short lived oppressions and all kinds of nuisance. Our brave Cossacks would gather than in the immense Steppe, where nobody could reach them, and from here they would issue forth like a tornado to the woe of the oppressor. Such in the main was our life, our history if you prefer the word turbulent, eventful a close tissue of horror, glory, tears and fitful joy.
Even now in this 20th century of ours, we are waiting for an opportunity to come to blow with the enemy, whose ideas do not suit our own aid, we hate to say so, there is a lot of misunderstanding between our people and our neighbors.
Well now, why bring these questions up? We are in America. You are right, this has nothing to do with America There is probably one million of Ukrainians over here. Peaceably, they live side by side with other races. Another half a million of them live in Western Canada. Like back home, they flock to farms. Personal independence is their greatest happiness, their most cherished dream Down on the Farm there is no boss except the sink Almighty Himself. This is at least what our people foundly believe and hope.
So, get acquainted with the Ukraine. You will not be sorry. Look at those hand-made embroideries and picture yourself in a snowbedecked hut on a long winter night. A fierce wind may be blowing and a terrific blizzard making it impossible to find your way home, but here inside in this low-ceilinged room, a peaceful family is gathered around a friendly fire. Their pretty heads bent over a piece of cloth, their fingers deftly passing the needle one way and another. While at work they may be thinking of themselves soon to be wedded in a small wooden church, or of their beloved, on a perilous expedition. Whatever the particular situation is it is in the spirit of tender love and faithful devotion that these embroideries and their many varied designs are conceived. Some of the designs have been copied for generations, for thousands of years. Others are created and re-created. This is the popular art. This is the people, the whole people in its many millions, one big great artist. It is in these embroideries, in ornamented Easter Eggs and in many and many wonderful songs that the best feelings of the race have found their beautiful expression. In them, both the original genius of the White Race may be traced and the various depositions of great cultures of the World. Such as classical Greek, the Roman, the Byzantine, the mediaeval Italian and even Spanish. Look at the collection of statues and statuettes by Alexander Archipenko, at the Ukrainian Pavilion. Don't you thing that they represent something entirely new, something which anticipates the future in the art of a sculpture! A leading French art critic nicknamed, Archipenko "the miracle of our age". Get to see this art, you will soon adopt the Frenchman's slogan as expressing your own opinion and deep conviction. We cannot show you all the works of these masterpieces, neither can we talk to you about our literature are as beautiful, as are our other expressions of art. What about the music! You have heard about Tchaikowsky. Well, he was a Ukrainian. In a way, the hole of the marvelous Russian music has grown up under the impulses from the Ukraine. Maybe you have heard about Igor Stravinsky. He is trying to achieve in music, what Archipenko is achieving in sculpture. We will tell you in whispers, that even the great Polish pianist Paderewski was born and has grown up in the Ukraine, and who could tell how much of the original Ukrainian inspiration still presides at his wonderful performances which enslave the World? We only mention names we reasonably expect you to have heard. How many names you have never heard about! How many things in our daily use, things we could not do without, things we take for granted have been contributed by great minds, great souls, great hearts we haven't a slightest notion of! Many of the greatest composers of the World including Beethoven and Liszt have been deeply indebted to the pure lovely strains of the Ukraine for their great musical creations. There is something in the air of the Ukraine, in its climate, its moonlit nights, its whole atmosphere, which prompts people to create, to worship things of beauty, for their own Beauty's sake.
Ukrainian Folk CultureUkrainian Folk Lore is a subject of special by ethnologists
They see in it almost a revelation of the cultural influences of old Arian tribes, as well as of the ancient Scythian and pre-historic Slavonic races. The richness of Ukrainian folklore is unsurpassed by any of the Slavonic nationalities and by few, it any, other races in the world. Yet one may wonder why such a treasure has been hidden from the public and why even the terms "Ukraine" and"Ukrainians" have only recently become known to Americans. Alexander Koshetz's success with his Ukrainian National Chorus has contributed much to popularize the name of the Ukraine.For the enlightenment of those unfamiliar with the terms, it may be said that in southestern Europe there is a nation of fifty million Ukrainians. These people possess a high culture and a language of their own. They have had a glorious past. For more than thousand years Ukrainians fought nomadic Asiatic tribes, such as the Avares, the Huns, and Tartars, and thus acted as Europe's barrier against Asiatic barbarism. But Ukraine exhausted its strength in this warfare and became the prey of nearby European nations. For many centuries the large and rich Ukrainian nation has had to endure so many buffets of fate, that it must be considered, along with the Jews, one of the most persecuted of the civilized races. No wonder that the greatest poet of Ukraine, Taras Shevchenko, has characterized his fatherland fittingly as '"Our Land, but not belonging to us".At the termination of the World War, Ukraine enjoyed a brief period of freedom, but the vicissitudes of history once more caused this nation to fall under the yoke of former oppressors, and today, Ukraine, despite the fact that it forms a compact territory on fifty million people, is divided among four European countries. The Ukrainian Folk Ballet and its Creator.
For Centuries Ukraine's oppressors, prohibited the use of Ukrainian Language in schools, in books, and in the press. By this and other ruthless means they sought to denationalize and assimilate the Ukrainians. All their attempts, however, have proved futile The Ukrainian love for freedom, their culture, and their national consciousness, have been kept alive in their poetry, their folk songs, and their folk dances. Some of these dances have been so highly developed that ruling races have appropriated them and proclaimed them to the world as their own; as for instance, the dance erroneously known as the Russian Cossack, which, in reality, is the original Ukrainian Cossack Dance. Therefore, when we speak of Ukrainian Ballet, it must be remembered that this ballet comprises a series of Ukrainian national dances symbolizing Ukraine's art, culture, and great historical past. These dances possess natural freedom, exhilaration, vigor, and elegance. They are like the winds of Ukrainian steppes that move the grasses on a vast territory. You see all these characteristics in the Ukrainian Folk Ballet created by the balletmaster. It takes time and a thorough knowledge of the subject to create something new. If Vasile Avramenko did not embody in himself all the characteristic traits of his race, he could not have created a ballet that represents the true spirit of the Ukrainian race. The able artist that he is, he is also an untiring worker and organizer. Born 38 years ago of Ukrainian peasant parents near Kyiv, he was orphaned in childhood and was compelled to migrate with his elder brothers to Vladivostok in the Far East. Here, as mere boy, he entered the service of the Russian Navy, and became acquainted with Asiatic people. Shortly before the World War, he became a teacher, and during the War entered a military school. During the Russian revolution, Avramenko fought under the Ukrainian colors for his country's independence. Later, when a Ukrainian National Dramatic School was organized in Kyiv, Avramenko became one of its pupils and studied dramatic art under the direction of K. Verkhovinetz. During the stay of the Ukrainian National Theatre in Kamenetz-Podolsk, Avramenko played with it under the leadership of the famous Ukrainian artist, M. Sadovsky. After the collapse of the Ukrainian Independent State, Avramenko became a prisoner in the Polish camp of Kalish in 1921 and there started the first school of Ukrainian dance. He organized a group that soon became an object of admiration of the chance visitors to the camp, including the American Mission from London. The group went for a tour to other camps and to a few cities and towns in Poland. Soon, however, the authorities forbade such a movement and put all the members of the group, with the exception of Avramenko, back into the prison camp. After a short period of solo-performances in Krakow, we find Avramenko active as an organizer of Ukrainian dancing school in Lemberg and 72 other Ukrainian communities in Poland. For this work he was arrested by the Polish authorities and was compelled to migrate to Czechoslovakia where again he became active among Ukrainian colonists in Josefov, Podebrany, and other cities, as a dance teacher. Due to the effect of his countrymen in Canada, as well as prominent native Canadians he came to Canada in 1925 and there his activities as a balletmaster expanded to such an extent that he soon became not only an idol of the Ukrainian population, but also created a furore in Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon and other Cities, as evidenced by criticisms in the Canadian press. In the United States, Vasile Avramenko enjoys the same esteem he enjoys in othe countries and the movement he organized here justifies fully his fame as a creator of the Ukrainian Folk Ballet.
Ukrainian Chorus of Chicago UKRAINIAN CHORUS OF CHICAGO, composed of forty mixed voices, was organized five years ago under the leadership of George Benetzky. During this brief period of time each public appearance of the chorus was marked by brilliant success, and it came to be regarded by the music critics as having taken a high place among all of the organizations musically active in the Middle West. In event of major importance such as the Chicagoland Music Festival, sponsored by the Chicago Daily Tribune, it had participated. taking one second and two first prizes in the mixed choral contests for five states at the 1930-1931 and 1932 fetes respectively. In its musical tours, in Chicagoland, the UKRAINIAN CHORUS OF CHICAGO was called a "hit" and praised very highly. In the great Carnival of Nations Finales of 1931 and 1932 respectively, the Chicago Daily News featured the chorus especially. Upon invitation of the Civic Music Association, the chorus appeared with conspicuous success at the Civic Auditorium in La Porte, Indiana and at the High School Auditorium in Sheboygan, Wis. In addition to its concert appearances, the UKRAINIAN CHORUS OF CHICAGO, presented numerous most delightful programs over the Nation: al Broadcasting networks. The genius of the choral director, George Benetzky, the virtuosity of his choral group, the wealth of song contributed by the Ukrainian peasant, are items of comment by music critics.
The officers of the UKRAINIAN CHORUS OF CHICAGO are:
Mr. ELIAS JASCZYSCZYN, pres.Mrs. JOHN MAZUREK, Vice Pres.Miss MARIE WINARSKI, Rec. Sec'y. Mr. PAUL MOTALO, Fin. Sec'y,
Mrs. SOPHIE KULPAK, Treas.
COMPTROLLERS:Mr. Stephen Vorkun,Mr. Basil Zimbalist,Mr. Simon Domanschuk.
Some articles from "Ukrainian Week", August 14th to 20th, 1933
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Mother UkraineWhat do you know about the Ukraine?