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Showing posts from December, 2015

On Makhno's Wife Halyna Kuzmenko

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Nestor Makhno (1888-1934) was a Ukrainian anarcho-communist revolutionary and the commander of an independent anarchist army in Ukraine during the Russian Civil War of 1917-1922.

Nestor Makhno's last wife was a teacher from Huliaypole, Halyna Kuzmenko. They were married in 1919. Together they crossed the Romanian border, escaping the Bolsheviks. They divorced in the 1920s. During WWII, after the Germans occupied Paris, Halyna and her daughter went to Germany, where in 1945 they were arrested by the NKVD. Halyna received a sentence of 10 years in the work camps. She was imprisoned in Mordovia, in Dubrovlag. 
In my great aunt’s memoirs she writes about her time in a camp in Mordovia, and comments on her encounter with Halyna Kuzmenko:
"They brought arrested women from all over. Often among them would be interesting people: to our camp, we were told, came the wife of Nestor Makhno, who had been arrested in Berlin. She was an old, tiny, gray-haired woman who wore glasses with thi…

Ivan Franko: On His Visits to My Family's Library and His Phenomenal Memory

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My great grandmother had the honor of meeting Ivan Franko, who used to visit her aunt and uncle's library in the village of Tsishky, near Oleskyi Zamok. Her aunt and uncle were Toma Dutkevych, the parish priest and one of the founders of the agricultural organization Silskyi Hospodar, and his wife Julia Kuhn. This was in the early 1900s.
This is what is left of the Duktevych's house. It used to be several times larger.
Below is an excerpt from my great aunt's memoirs, in which she describes her mother's memories and impressions of Ivan Franko.
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"In Tsishky the Dutkevyches had a large library. Years before, when he had come to visit them, the renowned Ukrainian poet and social activist Ivan Franko often made use of this library. My mother, a 17-year-old girl at the time, eagerly listened to her elders' conversations and admired Ivan Franko's phenomenal memory. After spending even a short time in their library, Franko would then in conversation be able to…

Olena Kulchytska: Combining Galician Secession and Ukrainian Folk Art

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Olena Kulchytska was a Galician Modernist, legendary Lvivian, famous artist, and skilled teacher. She is my favorite Ukrainian artist; in particular, I like how she combines Secession and Ukrainian folk art. Furthermore, she lived about 5 minutes away from where I live in Lviv, and in the interwar period in Peremyshl she taught my grandmother drawing at the Ukrainian gymnasium for girls.
"Olena Kulchytska was born on September 15, 1877, in Berezhany, in Ternopil region to the family of a Galician lawyer Lev Kulchytsky and Maria Stebelska. The artist’s parents were descendants of old Ukrainian families which preserved, apart from family coats of arms, the spirit of Ukrainianness and honorable attitude to their land. Olena, her sister Olha, and brother Volodymyr spent their childhood in small district towns of Galicia – Lopatyn, Kamianets-Strumyliv (now Kamianka Buzka), Horodok – in a special atmosphere of customs and traditions which reigned in the milieu of Ukrainian intelligents…

Josyfa Kühn 2x

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In the eighteenth century in/near Lviv there lived a a nun and poet named Josyfa Kühn. The following century in Brody, Galicia, there lived a woman named Josyfa Kühn, the daughter of a German merchant (picture of her can be found in this article). The latter was my great-great grandmother. While the only connection between these two women is their name, I nevertheless feel a connection to the nun, who is famous for a series of poems she wrote about the outskirts of Lviv (written in German). Furthermore, she is known in Ukrainian pop culture due to the poem about her written by contemporary Ukrainian writer Yuriy Andrukhovych and the song using this text by the rock group Mertvyi Piven.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find an online version of the song, but here's the poem:

Йосифа Кун. Дух
Дозволь мені кружляти над тобою. Я знав Йосифу Кун, я знав ще кількох жінок. Песій Ринок вітав мене песім гавкотом, А черниці з вулиці Сакраменток Ховалися в нішах.
Ані разу не вигнав мене Ма…

My Ancestor Karol Lipiński: Violinist and Conductor in Lviv's First Theater

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Lviv has always felt like my native town; however, in recent times none of my ancestors were from here. But in the last few years I discovered that my direct ancestors on two sides of my family (Polish and Austrian) did live in Lviv, but over 200 years ago, in the early 1800s.

The Lipińskis My great-great-great-great-great grandfather was Feliks Lipiński. "Born in 1765 in Zakliczyn near Tarnow, his life had presumably followed a course similar to that of other talented peasant children. He may have been educated in music in one of the numerous monasteries and then probably took up a teaching career at aristocratic courts where he tutored his charges in playing several instruments."

"The end of the 18th century saw Feliks Lipinski in the estate of the Potocki family at Radzyn near Lublin. His first born was the son Karol Jozef who came into the world on 30 October 1790."


It was this son, Karol Jozef, a great uncle of mine, who would become famous across Europe.

In 17…

Obsolete Skills

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"7 Skills Your Grandparents Had That You Don't"

The skills listed are: cooking from scratch, sewing, canning, ironing, meeting people without the benefit of the Internet, haggling, writing beautiful letters. The full article can be found here.

'Beware Walls that Pee Back'

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A modern take on urine deflectors or "pee bumps" - a special paint that makes urine bounce back.


From the article: "When peeing in public in this German city, beware walls that pee back"




Update on Hungarian Roller Shutter in Lviv

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A third update on the Hungarian-made roller shutters on Kopernyka Street. After many years or even decades, this old pharmacy has reopened - but rather than selling medication, now it's a store that sells fancy soaps. A lot of the old wooden furniture is still in place, as well as an old mural on the ceiling. And fortunately, the original shutter is also in place - freshly painted over (though already graffitied) and now in use once again. The building was built in 1892, and the shutter could date from that time too, making it well over 100 years old.
I first posted pictures of these shutters a few years ago, found here,  and up update after it had been graffitied.



Last time I was in Mukachevo, I found a shutter made by the same Hungarian company, as seen here.