Neu Ulm: Prometheus, 1947. [Mykhalevich, Mykhailo]. Original pictorial wrappers. Fair condition. Item #155
Octavo (15 x 21 cm). 93 pages. Text in Ukrainian. Wrappers and spine chipped; red rubber stamp “Germany” to first leaf; internally very good.
This memoir by Semen Pidhainyi describes life in the Soviet camp on the Solovetski Island, where he was sentenced to hard labour from 1933 to 1941. Prior to his imprisonment, Pidhainyi, a graduate of the Kyiv Institute of People's Education, studied under the historian Oleksander Ohloblyn (1899-1992), was a researcher at the Museum of Slobidska Ukraine in Kharkiv, and a teacher of Ukrainian history at the Kharkiv Institute of People's Culture and of Art. As a member of the Ukrainian Revolutionary Democratic Party, he was arrested for his involvement in anti-Soviet activities, and sent to the Islands in early 1933, towards the end of the forced famine in Ukraine. In the memoires, he relates the tragic fates of certain intellectuals of various nationalities imprisoned with him. His work stands out in its high literary quality, with each narrative reading like a novella, with with fully developed psychological and intimate portraits of the camp's victims. He fled from the Soviet Union in 1943, and immigrated first to a displaced persons camp in Germany, and then to Canada in 1949. In Canada he organized and headed the Ukrainian Association of Victims of Russian Communist Terror. His memoir has come out in at least three fairly contemporary editions in Ukraine, and a related work was translated into English as Islands of Death (Toronto, 1953).