Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Ukrainian American Club meets tonight

    The Ukrainian American Club of Southwest Florida, headed by Daria Tomashosky of North Port, will hold its first postvacation membership meeting at 6 p.m., at St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Religious and Cultural Center, known as the “Oseredok.” Following the customary reports of officers and committee chairs, members will be presented several important issues for discussion and approval, including participation in the North Port Library “Prime Time Reading Program,” a pantry/homeless project, planning for the traditional and very popular Christmas dinner, and others.

    At the end of the meeting there will be an interesting presentation of our member Natalie Sluzar of North Port about her very recent visit to Ukraine.

    The club’s Executive Committee met on Sept. 16 at the Oseredok to hear officers’ reports, including the last meeting’s minutes and financial report, and to plan for tonight’s meeting and for the next
several monthly meetings. Chaired by president Daria, members discussed the status of the club’s website, the Prime Time Reading Program (presented by president Daria), pantry/homeless project (presented by Halya Lisnyczyj), “didusi” (grandfathers assistance, presented by Lieda Boyko), tapestry project (presented by Klara Szpiczka), and the Scholarship Committee report by chair professor Victor Lisnyczyj. Also discussed were the Christmas dinner to be held in December, Scholarship Awards luncheon to be held in March 2015, and a list of speakers for the upcoming meetings. Some of these items will be presented for discussion at tonight’s meeting. Some initiatives will require members’ approval.

    Meetings and activities of the Ukrainian American Club, other
than Executive Board meetings, are open to the public, including nonmembers and potential members. All business and meetings are conducted in English. Membership in the club is open to all.

    Jewish High Holy Days

    My wife Katrusia and I wish all our Jewish friends and neighbors here in Southwest Florida and in the greater New York City area happy and healthy Holy Days.

    Rosh Hashana, the beginning of the new Jewish year 5775, to be observed beginning at sundown tonight, is the first day of the High Holy Days or Days of Awe, the most holy time of the Jewish calendar year. This sacred time will end on Yom Kippur, or the Day of Atonement, at sundown on Oct. 4.

    In my native village Yakubova Volya (Jacob’s freedom) in Ukraine, there were only three Jewish families out of approximately 250 households prior
to World War II. All others were Ukrainians, all nominally of Greek-Catholic faith. I remember that my family and most of our neighbors did everything possible not to engage in any noisy labor, such as chopping wood, during the Holy Days, in respect of our Jewish neighbors.

    Sadly, as a result of several “liberations” by invading Nazi Germany and Communist Russia, there are no Jewish families in the village nor are there any of approximately 180 families, including my own family and my aunts and uncles, who got killed or deported to Siberia by the “liberators.”

    Atanas Kobryn covers the Ukrainian community for the North Port Sun. He can be emailed at

Our Neighbors — The Ukrainians

by Atanas Kobryn

Friday, September 19, 2014

UNWLA branch members meet, make plans

     The North Port Milena Rudnycka Branch 56 of the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America — UNWLA, commonly referred to as “Soyuz Ukrayinok” (Union of Ukrainian Ladies) — headed by Ann-Marie Susla of Englewood held its first post-vacation meeting last week. In addition to the customary reports of officers and committee chairs the meeting was devoted to planning the traditional and very popular fall picnic, tentatively scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 19.

    Another topic was the upcoming National UNWLA Board meeting, which will take place Sept. 19-21 at the Ukrainian National Association Estate “Soyuzivka” in Kerhonkson, N.Y. This will be the first meeting of the National UNWLA Board elected at the UNWLA National Convention in May. It will be chaired by UNWLA President Marianna Zajac.

    There will be three members from Florida attending that meeting: Lidia Bilous, branch 56 member, Social Welfare National Chair; Orysia Zinycz, branch 56 member, Co-Liaison for Branches at Large; and Olya Czerkas, branch 124 (St. Petersburg) member, Co-Liaison for Branches at Large.

    There are 18 UNWLA Branches at Large. Branches not affiliated with UNWLA Regional Councils, include branches 56 and 124 with more than 400 members.

    International Day of Peace

    This Sunday, Sept. 21, in addition to being the official first day of autumn, will be observed as the International Day of Peace. This Sunday at noon in every time zone, a moment of silence will be observed. There are many areas of the world where “peace” is an unknown commodity, including a large part of my native Ukraine.

    Since the Russian President Putin decided to ignore the international law and his country’s formal commitment to
honor and preserve the integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine and blatantly violated the territory of Ukraine by annexing one part — Autonomous Republic of Crimea — and sending his agents and military units into other section of Ukraine, there are shootings and killings of both military personnel and civilians with no hope for real peace. After it was finally agreed to suspend the fighting, and Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko ordered the Ukrainian Armed Forces to observe the moratorium, Putin’s agents, some masquerading as “separatists,” and Russian military units, continue to violate the agreed upon moratorium by continuously bombarding the Ukrainian positions and civilian objects.

    What is ‘Liberation ?’

    Seventy-five years ago, Sept. 17, 1939, in accordance with the agreement between Hitler’s Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Russia (masquerading as Soviet Union), Stalin’s Red Army attacked Poland from the East while Hitler’s Wehrmacht was moving from the West. As it is typical for the Russian propaganda which consists of lies
and no real truth, the official version of Stalin’s propaganda machine was “the liberation of brotherly Ukrainians and Byelorussians from capitalist yoke.”

    This “liberation” ended in 1941 by another “liberation,” this time by the Nazi Germany, which then was followed by yet another “liberation” in 1944 by the Russian Army. As a result of these “liberations,” thousands of peaceful and innocent Ukrainians were executed (Russian KGB did it clandestinely; the Nazi Gestapo — publicly), hundreds of thousands deported, and several millions perished as a result of military operations.

    Atanas Kobryn covers the Ukrainian community for the North Port Sun. He can be emailed at

Our Neighbors — The Ukrainians

 by Atanas Kobryn

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Ukrainian Veterans are busy

    The North Port’s Cpl. Roman G. Lazor Post 40 of the Ukrainian American Veterans — UAV, headed by Commander Eugene A. Tomashosky of North Port, held its first postvacation membership meeting last Friday, Sept. 5, at St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Religious and Cultural Center, the “Oseredok.
    The traditional opening ceremony and prayer, and reading of last meeting’s minutes by Commander Tomashosky, were followed by post officers’ reports: Vice Commander & Finance Officer Col. Roman Rondiak, USA Ret., Quartermaster Dr. George Baranowskyj, and Public Relations Officer — yours truly. Past Post Commander and UAV National Commander Ihor W. Hron spoke at length about the status of the fundraising and plans for construction of the national UAV monument dedicated to all Ukrainian American veterans of all wars and all branches of our Armed Forces. The monument, which will be located on the grounds of St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Cemetery in Bound Brook, N.J., will be formally dedicated in the fall of 2015.

    NC Hron also spoke about the upcoming 67th UAV National Convention which will take place Oct. 2-5, 2014, at the Holiday Inn in Independence, Ohio, about the convention journal, and the future conventions. The 68th UAV National Convention in 2015 will take place in New Jersey and will be hosted by all three UAV New Jersey posts.

    Yours truly, as chair of the post nominating committee, presented the preliminary report. The list of potential candidates to replace the current slate of officers will be finalized at the Oct. 10 membership meeting. The election will be held at the Nov. 7 membership meeting.

    Commander Tomashosky spoke about the traditional post’s
installation luncheon meeting, which will take place at Heron Creek Golf & Country Club in North Port at noon, Thursday, Nov. 13. The tickets, which must be purchased in advance, are $25 per person and can be obtained from Post 40 members, including yours truly. There will be no tickets sold at the door. The buffet luncheon will follow the formal ceremony of installation of newly elected and/or re-elected officers. The traditional Commander’s Award will be presented to an individual whose community activities are deemed to be extraordinary.

    The next membership meeting will take place at 3 p.m., Friday, Oct. 10, at the “Oseredok.” This change from the first Friday of the month is necessary because some of our members will be attending the UAV
National Convention Oct. 2-5.

    Son’s and grandson’s visit

    My wife Katrusia and I would like to thank our youngest son, Lt. Col. Ihor Kobryn, for visiting us with his son and our youngest grandson Severino Bohdan, 4 1/2, who my wife had not seen since his christening in Staten Island’s Holy Trinity Ukrainian Catholic Church four years ago. Unfortunately, their visit lasted only two days, due to Ihor’s military commitments, but it was sufficient for our grandson to get to know his “Dido” and “Busya” in person, and to enjoy our swimming pool.

    Atanas Kobryn covers the Ukrainian community for the North Port Sun. He can be emailed at

Our Neighbors — The Ukrainians
by Atanas Kobryn

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Clubs and organizations get busy

     The somewhat unusual American holiday Labor Day, which is a day of leisure and not actual labor (except for essential services like police, firefighters, hospital staff, and the sanitation workers picking up garbage, to name a few) is also the unofficial end of summer, i.e., the vacation season. Consequently, the local Ukrainian American community’s clubs and organizations get busy.

    The first is North Port’s Cpl. Roman G. Lazor Post 40 of the Ukrainian American Veterans, whose commander is Eugene A. Tomashosky of North Port. It will have its monthly membership meeting at 3 p.m. Friday at St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Religious and Cultural Center (known
as the “Oseredok”), 4100

S. Biscayne Drive, North Port. The agenda of the meeting will include, in addition to the customary reports of officers, a report of the nominating committee and information about the upcoming 67th National Convention, which will take place Oct. 2-5 at the Holiday Inn in Independence, Ohio. The Cleveland UAV Post 24 will be the host of this year’s convention.

    Our Post 40 will play a very important role at this convention because UAV National Commander Ihor W. Hron of Osprey is a Post 40 member and past post commander. Two other Post 40 members are national UAV officers

— National Adjutant Col. Roman Rondiak, USA (Ret.), who is post vice commander and finance officer, and national chaplain and service officer Marian Bojsiuk, who is post chaplain. Yours truly, as past national commander, is also a member of the UAV National Executive Board, but, sadly, I will have to miss this year’s convention due to my wife Katrusia’s illness.
                                                          • • •
    The local Branch 56 of the Ukrainian National
Women’s League of America, better known as “Soyuz Ukrayinok” (union of Ukrainian ladies), headed by Ann-Marie Susla of Englewood, will hold its first post-vacation meeting at 10 a.m. Sept. 9. The meeting’s location will be communicated to members in due time via email and/or phone.

    The agenda of the meeting will include, in addition to the customary reports of officers and committee chairs, plans and preparation for the traditional and very popular fall picnic, tentatively scheduled for Nov. 19.
                                                        • • •
    The Ukrainian American community, including our community in North Port and vicinity, is all excited about the upcoming visit
of Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko to our country and a meeting with President Obama on Sept.

18. We all hope that our members of Congress will invite him to address the joint session of Congress. President Poroshenko is the first president of Ukraine who speaks perfect English.

    We hope also that even before President Poroshenko’s arrival, the United States government and other countries that verbally support Ukraine and condemn Russia’s Putin’s war against Ukraine, will live up to
their obligation accepted in the 1994 memorandum signed in Budapest. This “Budapest Memorandum” protected Ukrainian sovereignty, provided Ukraine handed over to Russia what nuclear weapons it had in the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse, which was substantial. Ukraine voluntarily gave up its nuclear arsenal in reliance on the guarantees of the signatories of this memorandum.

    Atanas Kobryn covers the Ukrainian community for the North Port Sun. He can be emailed at atanask@aol. com. 


Our Neighbors — The Ukrainians
by Atanas Kobryn