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A Ukrainian Canadian in London: Vladimir J. (Kaye) Kysilewsky and the Ukrainian Bureau, 1931-40.


This paper examines a crucial and formative decade in the life of Vladimir J. (Kaye) Kysilewsky (1896-1976), a Ukrainian-Canadian newspaper editor, lobbyist, university professor, and historian, who is most familiar to Canadian researchers as the federal civil servant responsible for liaison with ethnic groups and the ethnic press during the early years of the Cold War. It argues that the attitudes and methods (Kaye) Kysilewsky brought to his job as a liaison officer were shaped by his experience as director of the Ukrainian Bureau in London. There, during the 1930s, he met and was counselled by a number of British parliamentarians, academics, and journalists, as he attempted to bring to public attention the murderous famine in Soviet Ukraine (which was denied by the Stalinist regime) and as he tried to contend with the Bureau's obstreperous Ukrainian emigre rivals, in particular the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN).


Cet article porte sur une decade cruciale et formative dans la vie de Vladimir J. (Kaye) Kysilewsky (1896-1976) qui fut redacteur en chef de journal, lobbyiste, professeur d'universite et historien, et que les chercheurs canadiens connaissent surtout en tant que fonctionnaire federal responsable de la liaison avec les groupes et la presse ethniques au cours des premieres annees de la guerre froide. L'article montre comment l'attitude et les methodes que (Kaye) Kysilewsky a employees dans son travail d'officier de liaison ont ete modelees par son experience de directeur du Bureau ukrainien a Londres. La-bas, dans les annees 1930, il a rencontre un certain nombre de parlementaires britanniques, d'universitaires et de journalistes et a ete conseilles par eux, alors qu'il s'efforgait d'attirer l'attention du public sur la famine meurtriere qui sevissait dans l'Ukraine sovietique (et qui etait niee par le regime stalinien) et qu'il essayait de composer avec des rivaux du Bureau, emigres ukrainiens turbulents, dont particulierement l'Organisation des Ukrainiens nationalistes (OUN).


Vladimir Julian Kysilewsky (V. J. Kaye) was not a typical Ukrainian-Canadian immigrant. A descendant of a distinguished Western Ukrainian family, he was highly educated, fluent in several European languages including English, and keenly interested in history and international relations. During the Second World War he played a pivotal role in mediating the formation of the Ukrainian Canadian Committee and persuading his countrymen to back the Allies. Kysilewsky was also one of the first Ukrainian-Canadian civil servants and academics. He worked for the Departments of National War Services (1941-45), Secretary of State (1945-50), and Citizenship and Immigration (1950-62), lectured at the University of Ottawa (1948-58), co-founded and served as the first president of the Canadian Association of Slavists (1954), and researched and wrote the first scholarly history of Ukrainian immigration and settlement in Canada (Kaye 1964).

In recent years Kysilewsky's work as a liaison officer responsible for ethnic groups and the ethnic press has caught the attention of scholars writing about postwar immigration to Canada. A left-leaning feminist historian has described Kysilewsky as a "committed Cold Warrior" and an "active leader within the nationalist, anti-Communist Ukrainian-Canadian community" who worked with antiCommunist ethnic editors and leaders to manipulate and undermine the ethnic left in Canada (Iacovetta 2006, 12, 51-82). In sharp contrast, a political geographer sympathetic to the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) has referred to Kysilewsky as a "tool of the [Canadian] state" who did all in his power to stymie politically active, anti-Soviet nationalists within the Ukrainian-Canadian community (Luciuk 2000, 242-54, 271-72). While each of these apparently contradictory assessments contains some truth--Kysilewsky was hostile to pro-Soviet apologists and very suspicious of extremists within the Ukrainian nationalist camp--neither contextualizes or probes the genesis of Kysilewsky's views.

This paper attempts to provide insight into Kysilewsky's postwar civil service career by examining the evolution of his attitude toward Soviet Communism and Ukrainian Nationalism during the 1930s when he served as director of the Ukrainian Bureau, a lobbying and information agency established in London by a wealthy Ukrainian American. It is based on Kysilewsky's voluminous unpublished Ukrainian-language London diaries (LD 1931-1939) and his personal correspondence during these years, and it also draws on recent studies of Ukrainian lobbying activity in interwar London published by Polish (Zi?ba 2010) and Ukrainian (Syrota 2000, 2003, 2004-05) historians. While this paper provides some background information on the London Bureau, the focus is on Kysilewsky and the formation of his attitude toward Communists and Nationalists. It will be argued that the Soviet regime's ability to manipulate and influence the Western media and public opinion, particularly during the Ukrainian famine of 1932-33, and the authoritarianism, violent tactics, and inflated rhetoric of Nationalist extremists alienated Kysilewsky and made him critical of both groups.


Vladimir Kysilewsky was born in 1896 in Kolomyia, a small and picturesque town on the southeastern slopes of the Carpathian Mountains, in Austrian Eastern Galicia (now in Ukraine). His father, Julian Kysilewsky, was a lawyer employed by the Austrian civil service; his mother, Olena Simenovych-Kysilewska, was a teacher, a journalist, a founding member of the Western Ukrainian women's movement, and, during the interwar years, a prominent leader of the moderate Ukrainian National Democratic Alliance (UNDO) and the first Ukrainian woman elected to the Polish Senate (1928-35). Both parents were the offspring of Ukrainian (Ruthenian) Greek Catholic (or Uniate) clerical families, which had traditionally supplied Western Ukrainians with their political and intellectual elite. Like many members of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic clergy prior to 1900, Kysilewsky's clerical ancestors were descendants of the old impoverished Ukrainian (Ruthenian) nobility, who had never been enserfed and who cherished traditions of status, learning, and leadership. Having served the Church for generations, they constituted a semi-hereditary caste whose way of life resembled that of the lower gentry. Although politically conservative, many Ukrainian Greek Catholic priests and their families combined respect for established authority and a high regard for law and order with a genuine desire to ameliorate the social, economic, and cultural lifestyle of their less privileged countrymen through education and legal and parliamentary methods of struggle (Rudnytsky 1987, 100).

In 1914 Vladimir Kysilewsky graduated from the German classical gymnasium in the city of Chernivtsi, in nearby Bukovyna, where, unlike most educated Ukrainians, he had an opportunity to study English for three years. During the First World War he served with the Ukrainian Sich Riflemen, a volunteer Ukrainian division in the Austrian army, and then joined the Ukrainian Galician Army (Ukrains'ka Halyts'ka Armiia, henceforth referred to as UHA), which fought against the Poles and the Red Army during the struggle for Ukrainian independence in 1918-20. In 1919 his knowledge of English allowed Kysilewsky to serve as the UHA liaison officer at the British military mission in Odesa. After the war, Kysilewsky studied history at the University of Vienna where, in 1924, he was awarded a doctorate for a thesis on the seventeenth century Ukrainian nobility. He also spent time in Paris improving his knowledge of French.

His family background and his research interests drew the young Kysilewsky into conservative Ukrainian emigre circles in Central Europe. Although he became a sympathizer of the Hetmanite movement, led by General Paul Skoropadsky, who had ruled Ukraine with the backing of the German military in 1918, it was not the General who attracted Kysilewsky to the movement. Rather, Kysilewsky, like many Ukrainian conservative intellectuals, was attracted to the Hetmanite movement by its leading ideologist, the brilliant Polish-Ukrainian, Roman Catholic historian and political thinker Viacheslav Lypynsky (born Waclaw Lipinski). Lypynsky believed that the Ukrainian national movement suffered from a surplus of "progressive and destructive forces" and a deficit of "restraining and constructive forces," and he called for the reintegration of the educated, politically experienced, economically powerful, but assimilated (Polonized or Russified) upper classes into a Ukrainian nation united by a territorial patriotism that transcended class, faith, and ethnicity (Rudnytsky 1987,437-62). When Lypynsky broke with the Hetman in 1930 and died a few months later, Kysilewsky lost interest in the Hetmanite movement. Indeed, he would have good reason to become very critical of the Hetman and his entourage during his years in London.

Kysilewsky immigrated to Canada in 1925. He worked briefly as an agrarian labourer and attended summer courses at the Universities of Manitoba and Toronto, and he served briefly on the Winnipeg-based national executive of the Ukrainian Sporting Sitch Association of Canada, a mass organization established by Skoropadsky's Canadian followers. In 1928-30 he edited Ukrains'ki visti (The Ukrainian News), an Edmonton weekly, and became a naturalized Canadian. Following a trip to Europe in 1930 Kysilewsky moved to Chicago to join his uncle, Dr. Volodymyr Simenovych (Wladimir Simenowycz), a physician who had immigrated to the United States before the Great War and whose unsentimental, common-sense approach to Ukrainian issues would leave a mark on his nephew. For several months Kysilewsky helped to edit a local Ukrainian newspaper, studied journalism at St. Paul University, and learned to operate a linotype machine. Then, in April 1931, his career took a new turn when Kysilewsky, who was fluent in six European languages and personally acquainted with many prominent Ukrainian politicians and community activists on both sides of the Atlantic, was appointed director of the newly established Ukrainian Bureau in London (LD 28 April 1931).


The Ukrainian Bureau in London was established by Jacob Makohin, a Galician-born Ukrainian who had immigrated to North America in 1903 and relocated to Detroit after one year in Winnipeg. There he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, served overseas during the Great War, and married Susan (Fallon) Shiels, a wealthy and socially and politically well-connected Boston widow. (1) In the fall of 1930, while Makohin and his wife were vacationing in the spa town of Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad), Czechoslovakia, the Polish government responded to the latest round of radical Ukrainian nationalist sabotage and terror by carrying out a brutal and indiscriminate 'pacification' policy in about a quarter of the sixty counties (powiaty) of the former Eastern Galicia. Determined to bring the floggings, arrests, and destruction of Ukrainian property that ensued to public attention, the Makohins decided to pour some of the substantial financial resources at their disposal into lobbying and publicity for the Ukrainian cause.

The decision to establish an independent Ukrainian Bureau that would disseminate information and lobby in a rational and professional manner was long overdue. After the war, the Entente powers had acquiesced in the division of Ukrainian lands by the Soviet Union, Poland, Romania, and Czechoslovakia. As a result, more than twenty-three of thirty million Ukrainians lived in the Soviet Union during the interwar years. Temporary economic concessions to peasant smallholders and a policy of political and cultural 'Ukrainization' during the 1920s were followed by forced collectivization, the requisitioning of grain by armed party and police brigades, famine, and a wholesale purge of the Soviet Ukrainian cultural and political elite during the 1930s (Snyder 2010, 21-58). In Poland, where as many as five to six million Ukrainians resided by the 1930s, they had been promised equality before the law, the right to use the Ukrainian language in public life, and Ukrainian language schools in accordance with the Minorities Treaty signed by Polish statesmen in Paris after the war. The new Polish government had also indicated that autonomy would be granted to predominantly Ukrainian Eastern Galicia. Ultimately, most of these promises were not honoured because the new Polish state opted to assimilate and marginalize Ukrainians and other minorities. The expansion of Ukrainian cultural and educational institutions was hindered, access to higher education and public careers was restricted, electoral constituencies were gerrymandered, and when the great estates were partitioned, most land in Ukrainian territories was distributed among Polish colonists. While the Ukrainian establishment, represented by the Ukrainian National Democratic Alliance (UNDO), placed its trust in parliamentary politics and socioeconomic progress through the cooperative movement, disillusioned nationalist war veterans established the Ukrainian Military Organization (UVO) and turned to assassinations, sabotage, and armed expropriations in the hope of destabilizing the Polish state and winning international publicity for the cause of Ukrainian independence. The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), established in 1929 by representatives of the UVO and radical student and emigre groups, inherited these tactics (Yekelchyk 2007, 121-28). (2) The OUN envisioned a one-party state, claimed to be the only legitimate voice of the Ukrainian people, attempted to mobilize the Ukrainian diaspora, circulated provocative petitions addressed to the League of Nations, and published tendentious and poorly translated pamphlets in support of its demands (Zigba 2010, 388-98, 405-07).

When the Ukrainian Bureau opened its doors at 40 Grosvenor Place in the posh Knightsbridge- Belgravia district on 25 March 1931, London was still the most important global capital and the epicenter of power and enlightened opinion. (3) The absence of close political ties between London, on the one hand, and Warsaw, Bucharest and Moscow, on the other, and the British elite's paternalistic concern with national minority issues in the new Eastern European states, also made the city attractive to the Bureau's founders. As conceived by Makohin and put into practice by Kysilewsky, the Bureau was to be an independent institution serving the interests of all Ukrainians, rather than those of a particular party, group, or individual. Its primary goal was to rationalize and professionalize lobbying and propaganda activity on the international stage by establishing political priorities that would be recognized by all groups committed to the cause of Ukrainian independence. Its chief tasks included monitoring developments in the Ukrainian lands under Polish, Soviet, Romanian, and Czechoslovakian rule; lobbying British and English-speaking politicians and opinion-makers about violations of political, civil, and minority rights in these states; informing Western Ukrainian leaders about British and Western attitudes to developments in East Central Europe; and serving as a liaison between Western Ukrainian leaders and sympathetic British politicians, journalists, and academics.

To establish contacts with powerful and influential people and to help Kysilewsky adjust to life in London, Makohin hired Colonel Cecil L'Estrange Malone to work as a special consultant to the Ukrainian Bureau. A patrician "better endowed with lineage than land," Malone had a colourful and controversial past (Cannadine 1990, 543). During the Great War he had been a pioneer naval aviator, received the OBE, and was elected to the House of Commons as a Coalition Liberal. Then, after visiting Soviet Russia in 1919, Malone joined the British Socialist Party, became a founding member of the Communist Party of Great Britain and the first Communist in Parliament, and spent six months in prison for making a seditious speech in 1920. By 1930 his 'Bolshevik' past was long forgotten, and Malone was completing a term as the Labour MP for Northampton. He had also developed a special interest in Poland's minority problem through his contacts with the German Left, and was aware of the Ukrainian issue long before he met Makohin, having studied several Ukrainian petitions to the League of Nations and interviewed prominent Ukrainian community leaders during an April 1930 tour of Eastern Galicia. In December 1930, in response to the 'pacification' of Eastern Galicia, Malone had prepared and submitted a petition signed by more than sixty British parliamentarians, all but two of them Labourites, urging the League of Nations to investigate the violation of Ukrainian minority rights in Poland (Zieba 2010, 427-38).

Malone understood that successful lobbying involved more than the circulation of petitions and the publication and distribution of bulletins and propaganda pamphlets. To bring the Ukrainian issue to public attention Malone introduced Kysilewsky to influential people and helped him to establish personal relations with politicians, journalists, academics, and Foreign Office staff (LD 20 May 1931). In September 1931, three months after Kysilewsky arrived in London, Malone and the renowned historian R. W. Seton-Watson recommended him for membership in the Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA) (LD 14 September 1931). An independent research institute located at Chatham House and established in 1920 for the purpose of preventing another global conflict by studying and informing the public about international relations, the RIIA was governed by a council of thirty members drawn from Britain's political and academic establishments. It sponsored lectures by British and foreign politicians, journalists, and policy makers; organized study groups; encouraged research; and sponsored several periodicals, including the quarterly International Affairs, which published selected RIIA lectures. Lectures, receptions, and banquets at Chatham House provided Kysilewsky with an excellent opportunity to meet and socialize with the right people, British and foreign. To establish even closer ties with scholars who had played a significant role in the making of interwar Eastern Europe, Kysilewsky also enrolled at the University of London's School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES), where he worked on a doctoral dissertation under Seton-Watson's supervision. (4)

With Malone's network of political connections at its disposal, the Ukrainian Bureau relied on a number of British political activists, parliamentarians, academics, and journalists for assistance. (5) Many of the activists and politicians at the core of this group were idealists and pacifists who belonged to the Union of Democratic Control (UDC), a pressure group that campaigned for democratic control over foreign policy; the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF); and the League of Nations Union (LNU), which promoted the League and its agenda of maintaining peace and checking aggression through the application of moral and economic sanctions (Cortright 2008, 53, 59-60, 70). They believed the First World War had been caused by secret diplomacy in which all of the Great Powers had been implicated, and they rejected the Versailles Treaty as an unjust act of vengeance against Germany that would culminate in another European war. Convinced that the greatest threat to peace in Europe came from unjust borders drawn up in Paris, which left millions of Germans (not to mention Ukrainians and Hungarians) in states ruled and dominated by other nationalities, they took an interest in the protection of national minority rights and contemplated the revision of East Central European frontiers. The Bureau's first allies, brought on board by Malone, included Mary Sheepshanks, a social reformer and feminist active in the WILPF; Dorothy Woodman, a prominent WILPF and UDC activist and journalist; and Blanche Dugdale, the niece of former Prime Minister Arthur Balfour and a cousin of Lord Robert Cecil, who served as director of intelligence for the LNU and was a dedicated champion of the Zionist cause (Zieba 2010, 436,441,564-66). Parliamentarians who worked with the Bureau included several members of the House of Lords (Noel Edward Noel-Buxton, Willoughby Hyett Dickinson, Robert Cecil) and the House of Commons (Rhys J. Davies, James Barr, Rennie Smith, Josiah C. Wedgewood, Geoffrey Mander). Most were affiliated with the Labour Party, although Mander was a Liberal and Lord Cecil a Conservative. Noel-Buxton, the Bureau's closest and most frequent ally in the upper chamber, was the grandson of a leading nineteenth-century British abolitionist and prison reformer; he had served as minister of agriculture in Ramsay MacDonald's Labour administration, and presided over the charitable Save the Children Fund.

The Bureau's most prominent academic collaborators included the retired colonial administrator and jurist Sir Walter Napier, an expert on national minorities and stateless persons, and R. W. Seton-Watson, the Masaryk Professor of Central European History at the SSEES, whose writings and influence had contributed significantly to the emergence of an independent Czechoslovakia in 1918. Less frequently, Kysilewsky spoke with Sir Bernard Pares, C. A. Macartney, and W. J. Rose about Russian, Hungarian, and Polish affairs. He also had several meetings with Lewis Namier, who had spent his childhood and youth in Eastern Galicia and championed the interests of Ukrainian peasants when he worked as a Foreign Office expert on Eastern Europe (Hunczak 1977; Baker 1998). Unlike the political activists and politicians, the Bureau's academic consultants, particularly Seton-Watson, expressed few moral scruples about the injustice and harshness of the Versailles Treaty and the possible consequences of German grievances. Seton-Watson blamed Germany and the Central Powers for the outbreak of the First World War, and he saw German great-power ambitions as the primary threat to peace during the interwar years (Cline 1988, 53, 56). Pares and Namier were also alarmed by German militarism and regarded the Soviet Union as a vital counterweight and potential ally--the former with the enthusiasm of a life-long Russophile (LD 8 December 1934), the latter with the hopefulness of a Jewish Zionist who saw in the Soviet state a powerful challenge to Nazism (Ng 2005, 634-35).

Journalists and writers who used the Ukrainian Bureau's reference library of books, periodicals, documents, and clippings, and tackled Ukrainian issues in their publications included Malcolm Muggeridge and Gareth Jones, who would publish the first eyewitness accounts of the 1933 famine in Soviet Ukraine (LD 25 May 1931, 15 January 1932); Hugh Hessell Tiltman, a political correspondent whose books would include chapters on Ukrainian minorities in East Central Europe (Zieba 2010, 582; LD 4 August 1932); Lancelot Lawton, who had worked as a foreign correspondent for The Times and published several books on Soviet Russia (LD 16 January 1934); the Catholic journalist Hugo Yardley (LD 3 October 1935); and Charles Milnes Gaskell, who completed an impressive but unpublished manuscript on Ukraine shortly before the war (LD 17 June 1938; Prymak 1988, 146-7). On the eve of the Second World War the Bureau's most active British sympathizer was the pedigreed and well-connected James Erasmus Tracy Philipps, a former colonial administrator, intelligence agent, anthropologist, and political correspondent (LD 7 April 1938). (6)

In addition to issuing press releases and publishing an irregular Bulletin that was sent to major urban newspapers in Britain, the United States, Italy, Germany, Bulgaria, and Lithuania (Zieba 2010, 542-3), the Bureau helped to finance fact-finding tours and publications which presented issues from the Ukrainian perspective. The Bureau published Mary Sheepshanks' report on the 'pacification' of Eastern Galicia, with a preface by Malone, in the spring of 1931, and then proceeded to send Labour MP Rhys Davies on a fact-finding tour in April. In August Davies was sent on a second tour accompanied by James Barr. Reports of both tours were then written or edited by Malone (Zieba 2010, 513, 569-72). In 1933 Makohin helped to finance, and Kysilewsky helped to research and edit, Hessel-Tiltman's Peasant Europe (LD 16 February and 21 April 1934). Bureau staff, who at various times included Malone's Oxford-educated wife Leah (Kay) Malone, Lancelot Lawton, and Hugo Yardley, also wrote letters to major British dailies challenging information disseminated by Polish and Soviet spokespeople and news services. With input from Kysilewsky, Seton-Watson chose several Ukrainian speakers to participate in the RIIA's lecture series and approached Ukrainian scholars for contributions to the Slavonic and East European Review. Noel-Buxton and Napier published articles on the Ukrainian minority in Poland in the Contemporary Review and in International Affairs. On 15 June 1932 Noel-Buxton also addressed the upper house on the Ukrainian issue in Poland, insisting that it was a British concern because Ukrainians were the third largest ethnic group in Canada (Ukrainian Bureau 1932). Simultaneously, seventy-four prominent British parliamentarians, academics and public figures signed a petition to the League of Nations, drafted by Malone and Kysilewsky, calling on Poland to grant autonomy to Eastern Galicia (LAC, MG 30 D212, vol. 14, file 3). (7) Malone and Kysilewsky also prepared dossiers and memoranda on Ukrainian issues and drafted questions for British parliamentarians that were raised in the Lords and Commons. In 1934 Poland's refusal to cooperate with the international organizations that monitored the Minorities Treaty (LD 15 September, 15 November 1934) and developments in Soviet Ukraine (LD 13 November 1934) were addressed in the Commons. Four years later, in 1938, MPs who worked with the Bureau asked the government to comment on the campaign against Ukrainian schools in Romania, the dissolution of the Ukrainian Women's Union, the confiscation and destruction of Orthodox Church property in Poland, and the status of post-Munich Carpatho-Ukraine (LD 14, 23, 29 November, 1 December 1938). Kysilewsky, accompanied by Malone or Philipps, followed up these exchanges in Parliament with visits to the Foreign Office, where they spoke with Laurence Collier, head of the Northern Department, which was responsible for Eastern Europe; Gladwyn Jebb, secretary to Sir Alexander Cadogan, the Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs; and William Strang, Chief of the Central European Department (LD 11, 24 October, 25 November 1938). Immediately after the spring and autumn crises of 1938 and the British guarantee to Poland in spring 1939, Philipps, armed with briefs prepared by Kysilewsky and vetted by Seton-Watson, had lengthy conversations about the Ukrainian issue with Foreign Secretary Lord Halifax (LD 7, 12 April, 3, 15 October 1938 and 28, 31 March, 4 April 1939).

Seton-Watson also played a prominent role in one of the Bureau's more ambitious outreach initiatives. In the fall of 1934, after the Polish-German rapprochement and the Polish government's repudiation of the Minorities Treaty, Seton-Watson advised the Bureau to seize the opportunity by establishing an Anglo-Ukrainian Committee (AUC) (LD 19 and 23 October 1934). Formally launched in April 1935 at a reception at the Savoy Hotel, the AUC was composed of the Bureau's prominent British collaborators and a few new recruits. During the next year it sponsored several public lectures, published a pamphlet on the international importance of the Ukrainian question, reached out to Britain's Jewish community, and contemplated establishing a Chair of Ukrainian Studies at the SSEES. (8) Ultimately, disagreement on several contentious issues appears to have rendered the AUC ineffective, and by 1937 it had become dormant. One of the divisive issues was British policy toward Germany. While all AUC members deplored the terror, violence, and aggression unleashed by the Nazi regime, several, most notably the pacifists Lord Noel-Buxton, Lord Dickinson, and Professor G. P. Gooch, editor of the Contemporary Review, believed Nazism was the result of the unjust Versailles settlement, and maintained that only Anglo-German cooperation and mutual disarmament could undermine and defeat Hitler and his followers (LD 7 May 1935). (9) Their opponents, including Seton-Watson, who opposed all manifestations of appeasement, rejected this view. Another source of internal discord concerned the Soviet Union. Some members, including Mary Sheepshanks, Blanche Dugdale, and F. Ashe Lincoln were willing to endorse famine relief and Eastern Galician autonomy, but not Ukrainian independence. The right-wing journalist Lancelot Lawton accused them of being pro-Soviet (LD 20 and 22 March 1935) and urged the AUC to call for Ukrainian independence (LD 8 and 9 May 1935). To complicate matters, Lawton proposed an energetic press campaign in The National, a periodical published and edited by the fascist fellow-travellers Sir Warden Chilcott and Colonel Norman Thwaites, both of whom were held in contempt by Malone (LD 21 May 1935). (10) Lawton's adversaries, supported by Lewis Namier, who was not a member of the AUC, urged Ukrainians to line up with the Soviet Union, France, and the Little Entente against Nazi Germany (LD 18 and 20 July 1935). (11) Seton-Watson was less sanguine about the Soviet Union but he believed Ukrainian independence was only attainable within the context of foreign intervention and war, and that was a scenario that he was not prepared to endorse (LD 15 October 1934). (12)


Of the many issues that Kysilewsky confronted during his nine-year sojourn in London, two in particular--the 1932-33 famine in Soviet Ukraine and his relations with Ukrainian emigre extremists--stood out. The Soviet regime's ability to deny and conceal the famine and to manipulate and influence the media with the aid of Western apologists would colour his attitude to the pro-Soviet "ethnic left" and its mass organizations during the early Cold War years. The political intrigues, intolerance, violent tactics, and opportunistic and dubious political alliances of extremist groups like the OUN would have a similar effect on his attitude to militant anti-Soviet refugees and immigrants who followed in their footsteps.

While his attitude to communists and the Soviet Union was negative long before he moved to London, the famine and purges which coincided with his years at the Bureau reinforced Kysilewsky's opposition and convinced him that the Stalinist regime in the Soviet Union was the primary enemy of the Ukrainian people. In 1932-33 Stalin's efforts to achieve rapid industrialization by herding peasant smallholders into collective farms, setting excessively high grain procurement targets to pay for imported machinery, and confiscating every scrap of food from Ukrainian peasants who resisted or could not meet their quotas culminated in a terrible famine that took the lives of more than three million Ukrainians and about 300,000 Russian, Polish, German, and Jewish rural inhabitants in Soviet Ukraine (Snyder 2010, 53). More than any other experience, the Ukrainian Bureau's efforts to bring the famine to public attention and to elicit an effective response left Kysilewsky feeling angry, helpless, and defeated.

The first reports of peasants crossing the Soviet-Romanian border to escape terror and hunger in Soviet Ukraine began to reach the West in the spring of 1932. Commander Oliver Locker-Lampson, an acquaintance of Jacob Makohin's, raised the issue in the House of Commons on 13 April 1932 (LD 18 April 1932), and the Ukrainian Bureau began to issue press releases based on information obtained from Ukrainian newspapers published in Poland. In November 1932 Makohin and Kysilewsky spoke about assistance for famine victims with Lord Noel-Buxton, whose Save the Children Fund International (SCFI) had raised and distributed 700,000 [pounds sterling] in Russia's Saratov region during the famine of 1921-22 (LD 23-24 November 1932; Carynnyk et al. 1988, 287). However, the full extent of the tragedy in Soviet Ukraine only became apparent in late March 1933, when Malcolm Muggeridge and Gareth Jones published eyewitness accounts in the Manchester Guardian and London Evening Standard, and Jones delivered a lecture on the topic at an RIIA meeting chaired by Malone (LD 30 March 1933).

Attempts to organize famine relief were launched in the summer of 1933. In July Ukrainian parliamentarians in Poland and Romania established a Ukraine Relief Committee (Ukrains'kyi hromads'kyi komitet riatunku Ukrainy) in Lviv. The Committee's public appeal struck Kysilewsky as bombastic and lacking in substance. Although he translated it into English, he did not think it would have much credibility in the English-speaking world (LD 14 August 1933). When the Committee's representatives took the matter to Geneva, they were told that the League's charter did not permit involvement in the internal affairs of any state or discussion of issues that concerned non-members like the Soviet Union, and they were referred to the International Red Cross (Carynnyk 1986a, 125). In London, the SCFI took an interest in famine relief in mid-August, two or three weeks before Malone approached Noel-Buxton with a proposal to establish a coordinated British humanitarian famine relief effort. Malone also contacted representatives of the Federation of Jewish Organizations (FJO) to discuss what was being done to help starving Jews in Ukraine. Then, in late September, after conferring with Dr. Volodymyr Zalozetsky and Iurii Serbyniuk, Ukrainian parliamentarians from Romania who were visiting London, Malone and Kysilewsky decided to call a meeting of British humanitarian groups in the hope of obtaining Soviet permission to send a delegate to famine stricken areas of the USSR (LD 13-26 September 1933). Chaired by Malone and held in his home on 29 September 1933, the meeting was attended by Noel-Buxton and L. B. Golden (SCFI), M. Schalit and A. M. Kaizer (FJO), Alice Nike and Ethel Christie (Society of Friends), and several private individuals including Noel-Buxton's secretary, T. P. Conwell-Evans, Zalozetzky, Serbyniuk, Makohin, and Kysilewsky (Carynnyk et al. 1988, 329-31; LD 29 September 1933). In December 1933 after several more meetings at which appeals for donations and strategies for delivering food to famine victims were discussed, the SCFI, FJO, and Society of Friends announced the formation of the United British Appeal (UBA). The new organization stated that it would work "for the immediate relief of the starving in Russia, irrespective of nationality or creed," by raising money for the purchase and distribution of food through Torgsin, the network of Soviet state-run stores that delivered goods to individual Soviet citizens upon receipt of payment in gold or foreign hard currency (ibid., 1988, 350-52).

The UBA's efforts to provide famine relief by purchasing food supplies from Torgsin struck Kysilewsky as a quixotic venture and led him to consider other strategies. While in Vienna during the 1933-4 Christmas break, he met with representatives of the Inter-confessional and International Relief Committee for the Famine Areas in the Soviet Union, including Cardinal Theodor Innitzer, the Committee's honorary chairman; Dr. Ewald Ammende, its secretary general; Rev. Dr. M. Hornykewytsch, its Ukrainian representative; and Rabbi Dr. David Feuchtwang, who represented Austrian Jews (LD 1 November, 15-22 December 1933, 3-10 January 1934). Kysilewsky found the Committee's strategy more congenial because Ammende downplayed fund-raising for famine relief and stressed propaganda to enlighten and arouse European and North American public opinion and exert pressure on the Soviet government until it admitted relief missions into the country or alleviated conditions on its own. In particular, Ammende urged the British to make the Soviet Union's admission into the League of Nations contingent on the cessation of grain exports and on assurances that famine conditions would be alleviated (Carynnyk et al. 1988,443-6; LD 21 June 1934). Although Ammende's political strategy appealed to several British religious leaders, was championed by the Duchess of Atholl, and stimulated some discussion of the famine in the Lords and in the Commons in the summer and fall of 1934, ultimately it was no more successful than the humanitarian program of the UBA.

Both strategies failed because the Stalinist regime obstructed efforts to focus public opinion on the tragedy or provide relief for the starving victims. Stalin and his cronies consistently denied that there was famine in Ukraine, the North Caucasus, and the Lower Volga; they refused entry to fact-finding delegations from the West, and they rejected all offers of foreign aid. The famine was not reported in the Soviet media, which insisted that famine reports were the work of fascists, anti-Soviet emigres, and foreign capitalists eager to hoodwink their own workers and justify an impending invasion and partition of the Soviet Union. When the first famine relief committees were established in the West, the Soviet press and pro-Soviet newspapers throughout the world, including several published in Winnipeg (Kolasky 1990, 193-95, 221-24) reacted with indignation and published countless resolutions allegedly adopted by collective farm workers denying there was famine in the land. Foreign correspondents were denied access to Ukraine and the North Caucasus during the spring and summer of 1933 when the famine was at its worst. When they were finally given access, self-serving Western journalists like Walter Duranty of the New York Times, who had already dismissed Gareth Jones as a purveyor of a "big scare story," endorsed the official Soviet line by trivializing and denying famine reports (Carynnyk 1986b). Between 26 August and 11 September 1933, Soviet officials gave Edouard Herriot, a former French prime minister and the current chair of the foreign affairs committee of the French Chamber of Deputies, a guided and stage-managed tour of Ukraine and Russia. On the Ukrainian leg of the tour, which included Odesa, Kyiv, Zaporizhia (Dniprostroi), and Kharkiv, he was shown a bakery, a well-equipped model collective farm, tractor and aluminum factories, an orphanage, historical sites, and museums. British consular officials reported that everywhere "rigorous steps were taken to keep all undesirable elements far removed from the streets and the railway stations through which M. Herriot passed, and ... extra rations of food, taken from the army reserve, and even clothes were issued to the townspeople." After he left the Soviet Union, Herriot told journalists that reports of famine in Ukraine "were gross libels" and "part of Hitler's propaganda for the establishment of an independent Ukraine" (Carynnyk et al. 1988, 297-302, 357). Within days of his departure, the British press, including the Manchester Guardian, was full of letters denying famine in Soviet Ukraine. At that point, Kysilewsky could only lament that the Lviv committee had sent absolutely no information and he had no data with which to refute the attacks (LD 18 September 1933). A month later, there was still no new information from the Lviv committee, which was now simply relaying information culled from foreign newspapers. "More propaganda than real help," Kisilewsky noted in his diary (LD 16 October 1933).

The Stalinist regime's ability to discredit eyewitness reports and brush aside the death of millions was a bitter pill to swallow. The response of the British Foreign Office, which knew all about the famine, was also disheartening. Foreign Office personnel, including Laurence Collier, were not inclined to challenge Moscow because the Soviet Union was a market for British industrial exports and a source of cheap grain, and because it was perceived as a potential ally against the growing menace posed by Nazi Germany, where Hitler had already crushed all opposition parties and the trade union movement, launched the persecution of German Jews, withdrawn from disarmament talks, and taken Germany out of the League of Nations. When representatives of various committees and relief agencies, including the UBA, inquired if the British government would ask Moscow to permit relief missions into Ukraine, the Foreign Office replied that as long as the Soviet government denied there was famine and did not ask for assistance, the British government could do nothing because any initiative on its part would be viewed as interference in the Soviet Union's internal affairs (Carynnyk et al. 1988,321,343). Appeals to the British government to exert political pressure on the Soviet Union were rejected even more strenuously on the grounds that such pressure could disrupt the "normal relations" that existed between London and Moscow. As far as the Foreign Office was concerned, efforts "to relieve individual suffering" through Soviet state agencies like Torgsin, however inadequate, were acceptable; attempts to publicize the famine and exert political pressure on the Soviet regime could not be endorsed "because the Soviet Government would resent it and our relations with them would be prejudiced" (ibid., 397-8).

There can be little doubt that the success of Soviet propaganda and the regime's ability to neutralize and silence its domestic and foreign critics, including Kysilewsky's friend Gareth Jones, who died under mysterious circumstances near the Soviet-Manchurian frontier in 1935 (LD 16 August 1935), left an indelible mark on the Ukrainian Bureau's director and strengthened his resolve to challenge Soviet apologists and propagandists during the Cold War Years.

Kysilewsky's relations with Ukrainian nationalists were a much more complicated matter. Throughout the 1930s the Bureau enjoyed the support of moderate, liberal, and democratic groups like the Ukrainian National Democratic Alliance (UNDO) in Poland, the Ukrainian National Party in Romania, the emigre Ukrainian Radical Democratic Party in Paris, and the Ukrainian Self-Reliance League (USRL) in Canada. Members of these organizations provided the Bureau with information about Ukrainian life in their countries while Kysilewsky reciprocated by arranging meetings with the Bureau's British friends, providing letters of introduction, organizing receptions, and even taking Western Ukrainian and Ukrainian-Canadian parliamentarians, churchmen, and community activists who visited London on guided tours of the city. (13) His relations with authoritarian and radical emigre groups, on the other hand, were much more acrimonious. The sordid political intrigues and alliances, belligerent rhetoric, violent tactics, and increasingly pro-German sympathies of Skoropadsky's followers and the OUN struck Makohin and Kysilewsky as counterproductive. They only alienated potential allies and helped to sustain the stereotype of Ukrainians as a people deeply divided, politically immature, and unprepared for statehood that was quite prevalent in British Foreign Office circles.

When the Ukrainian Bureau opened its doors in London, Hetman Skoropadsky already had a representative in the city. Vladimir Korostovets (Wladimir de Korostowetz), a veteran of the Imperial Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a postwar convert to the Hetman's cause, was driven by hostility to Bolshevism, rather than by a commitment to Ukrainian independence. Initially, Korostovets relied on the Whitehall Gazette and St. James Review to generate publicity and raise funds for the Hetman. A glossy, conservative, right-wing monthly that blamed Jews for the triumph of communism in Russia and its growing influence in the United Kingdom, it was published and edited by Arthur Maundy Gregory until he was exposed as an influence peddler and extortionist, jailed and pensioned off to France by powerful British clients (Cannadine 1990, 316, 323; Zieba 2010, 304-09). The resourceful Korostovets, who was always in need of money to support a wife in Berlin, a mistress in Paris, and a penchant for fast cars and women of easy virtue, managed to secure other sources of funding (LD 14 October 1935). (14) Aided by British sympathizers, including Sir Michael O'Dwyer, who had been Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjab at the time of the 1919 Amritsar Massacre, Korostovets established a new periodical, the Investigator, in November 1932. A Ukraine freed from Communist control and ruled by the Hetman, editorials in the new tabloid suggested, would be advantageous to British interests and a guarantee of peace in Eastern Europe. Articles sympathetic to Nazi Germany, mirroring views expressed by Korostovets in letters to the mainstream press, were also published (LD 24 May 1935). In a memorandum to the Foreign Office, Malone observed that the Investigator was "more pro-German, anti-Jew, and anti-Soviet than pro-Ukraine"(Carynnyk et al. 1988, 373). Although Korostovets managed to raise 12,000 [pounds sterling] for the Hetmanite cause by promising wealthy Britons economic privileges and lucrative investment opportunities in a Ukrainian state ruled by the Hetman, the Investigator collapsed in early 1934, a victim of Korostovets's extravagant spending and the high costs of publication. Hetmanite fund-raising methods would come to public attention in October 1935 when the Investigator's British manager sued the Hetman and Korostovets for wrongful dismissal (Syrota 2000). In the meantime, to deflect attention from the periodical's failure and to undermine the credibility of the Ukrainian Bureau, which he perceived as a rival, Korostovets continued to circulate rumours that the Bureau was financed by Soviet agents (LD 13 November 1933, 29 January and 14 December 1935).

Hetmanite activity worried the Ukrainian Bureau's British friends. When Malone visited the Foreign Office, Laurence Collier dismissed rumours that the Ukrainian Bureau was financed by the Soviets; he thought the Hetmanite movement was a German intrigue and believed it had no popular support. Collier also told Malone that Ukrainian emigres hated one another with such passion that they routinely denounced their rivals as "Bolshevik agents" (Zelenko 1974, 897-8). On more than one occasion, Seton-Watson warned Kysilewsky that Korostovets was clouding British perceptions of the Ukrainian issue by identifying it with Skoropadsky's agenda. He also believed that Korostovets was alienating potential British support from the Anglo-Ukrainian Committee and discrediting the Ukrainian cause by associating with disreputable characters like Maundy Gregory and by taking money from wealthy Britons under false pretenses (LD 24 November 1933, 7 June 1934). Shortly after the Hetmanites' unsavoury fundraising practices came to light in the fall of 1935, Seton-Watson even considered asking the Home Office to investigate and deport Korostovets (LD 26 and 28 October 1935).

Kysilewsky's attitude toward the OUN was more ambivalent. Like the Bureau's moderate Western Ukrainian and Ukrainian-Canadian allies, Kysilewsky found OUN tactics--particularly sabotage, armed expropriations and assassinations--morally reprehensible and politically counterproductive. That their tactics were ineffective was clear by January 1932 when the League of Nations finally responded to hundreds of Ukrainian petitions protesting Poland's 1930 pacification' campaign. After admonishing the Polish authorities for failing to compensate innocent victims, the League concluded that the Polish government's actions were not an attempt to destroy Ukrainian institutions and culture, as the Nationalists had maintained, but a response to sabotage by Ukrainian terrorists. Makohin and Kysilewsky interpreted the verdict as a defeat for the Ukrainian cause and blamed it on the OUN. To neutralize OUN demagoguery, the Ukrainian Bureau published a pamphlet by the central Ukrainian emigre democrat Vasyl Koroliv-Staryi, mocking the notion that terror could be used for propaganda purposes (Petryshyn 1932). The OUN responded by spreading rumours that Makohin financed the Bureau's work from the sale of arms and opium (Zieba 2010, 616, 636-38).

Meetings with Ukrainian moderates in the homeland reinforced Kysilewsky's growing conviction that OUN tactics and pretensions to speak for all Ukrainians had to be resisted. In January 1933, while in Lviv, Kysilewsky heard UNDO leader Vasyl Mudry refer to the OUN as "Irish gunmen" who were intimidating and terrorizing the Ukrainian public. Mudry revealed that he was obliged to carry a revolver because the radical Nationalists had threatened to assassinate him in retaliation for editorials criticizing the recent rash of armed expropriations that had culminated in gun fights, the murder of a Polish postal worker, and the execution of two young OUN activists. During the same visit, Ukrainian Greek Catholic Archbishop Andrei Sheptytsky told Kysilewsky that he was very troubled by the OUN's efforts to exploit the idealism of young Ukrainians (LD 13 January 1933). A year later, when the OUN assassinated Bronislaw Pieracki, the Polish minister of internal affairs, and then gunned down Ivan Babii, a highly regarded director of a prestigious Ukrainian gymnasium, after he obstructed terrorist efforts to recruit his students, Sheptytsky characterized OUN leaders as neo-pagans, who made an idol of the nation by elevating it above God, and as madmen who were leading Ukrainian youth into "the dead end of crime" (Krawchuk 1997, 134-47).

The Bureau's British friends also made it clear that OUN tactics brought little credit to the Ukrainian cause. Particularly disturbing from their point of view was the OUN's refusal to seek remedies for concrete grievances and the Nationalist's efforts to prevent all negotiations with Warsaw. After the August 1931 assassination of Tadeusz Holowko, a prominent Polish parliamentarian and a proponent of dialogue and compromise with Ukrainians, Malone told Kysilewsky that the murder had made a terrible impression on British public opinion and he indicated that he was thinking of leaving the Bureau. Noel-Buxton's secretary, T.P. Conwell-Evans, who thought 'pacification' operations had been needlessly harsh and that Poland had reduced its Ukrainian territories to the status of a colony, feared "that band of hot-blooded youths" would transform Eastern Galicia into another "Ireland" (Zieba 2010, 582,673). Seton-Watson, who was usually eager to meet Ukrainian politicians, told Kysilewsky that under no circumstances would he speak with terrorists (LD 2 May 1933). In October 1933, several days after a member of the OUN assassinated Soviet consular official Aleksei Mailov in Lviv, Laurence Collier told Malone that such acts of vengeance could only hinder British efforts to raise the famine issue with Soviet representatives (LD 26 October 1933). And in 1935, Malone advised Kysilewsky that OUN leader Colonel Yevhen Konovalets, who was searching for new allies after Nazi Germany concluded a non-aggression pact with Poland, should postpone a planned British visit because the ongoing and widely publicized trial of OUN members accused in the Pieracki assassination had made a very bad impression in the British Foreign Office and government circles (LD 4 October 1935).

Because Makohin hoped to curb OUN extremism, the Ukrainian Bureau was prepared to work with but not under the direction of the Nationalists. As a result, Kysilewsky frequently met with a number of prominent OUN leaders. He was most comfortable in the company of Dmytro Andrievsky, the OUN's moderate representative in Brussels, who urged a complete break with terrorism (Zieba 2010, 639) and least at ease in the company of the OUN militants in Berlin, especially Riko Jary and Sydir Czuczman (LD 14 January 1933). When Makar Kushnir, director of the OUN press bureau and foreign-language service in Geneva, was apprehended peeping through the Ukrainian Bureau's keyhole in July 1933, Kisilewsky invited the embarrassed Nationalist inside, criticized OUN terrorist actions in Eastern Galicia, and pointed out that the British refused to deal with Ukrainian terrorists (LD 18 July 1933).

Between 1934 and 1938, when the thaw in German-Polish relations forced OUN strategists to temporarily rethink their pro-German orientation, Kysilewsky and the Ukrainian Bureau pursued a modus vivendi with the radical Nationalists. During this interlude, two young English-speaking, North American-educated OUN members were dispatched to London. Eugene Lachowitch, an American-educated immigrant, had been prepared for his mission by Konovalets, and came to London in late 1933, escorted by Wilhelm von Habsburg-Lotharingen (Vasyl Vyshyvany), the Ukrainophile Austrian archduke who had commanded Ukrainian troops during the First World War and was personally acquainted with OUN leaders (LD 22 November 1933).15 Stephen Davidovich, Canadian-born and American-educated, was assigned to London in 1937 after spending several months with Konovalets. Kysilewsky tried to moderate the views of both young men. He introduced them to Bureau staff, gave them access to the Bureau's reference library, shared information about recent developments in Ukrainian lands, introduced them to British journalists, encouraged them to write articles, helped arrange meetings with Foreign Office staff, and introduced them to Makohin, who discussed tactics and criticized OUN actions "very sharply, but very politely" (LD 13 March and 29 April 1935). Kysilewsky paid particular attention to the better-educated and more moderate Davidovich, inviting him for Sunday dinner at his British fiancee's home, attending the opera, and going out to dinner with Davidovich and Dmytro Andrievsky (LD 24 August 1938). (16) He also introduced the young Nationalist to the small circle of Ukrainian-Canadian artists and musicians who lived in London at the time, and noted in his diary that Davidovich brought Gabrielle Roy, a French-Canadian drama student and aspiring writer from St. Boniface, Manitoba, to one of their social gatherings (LD 2 October 1938). (17) There is reason to believe that Kysilewsky managed to modify the views of both men. Lachowitch, who arrived vowing to destroy UNDO because it was "poisoning" the Ukrainian public, left London a more tolerant man who appreciated and respected the views of the OUN's critics (Liakhovych 1974, 883-906). Davidovich praised Kysilewsky in his letters to Konovalets and argued that in Britain it would be a mistake to identify the Ukrainian cause with Berlin and Rome (UCECA, Konovalets fonds, 31 March and 25 April 1938). (18) Even after the OUN established a separate Ukrainian National Information Service in London in early 1939, Davidovich continued to cooperate with Kysilewsky and confined himself to producing articles, commentaries, and opinion pieces on Ukrainian history, culture, and current affairs that were palatable to British readers (LD 7 and 14 February 1939).

In 1938 relations between the Ukrainian Bureau and the OUN took a turn for the worse. Makohin and Kysilewsky were alarmed when the OUN endorsed the German annexation of Austria, supported the progressive dismemberment of Czechoslovakia, and openly pinned its hopes for Ukrainian independence on the Berlin-Rome-Tokyo Axis. OUN activity in Carpatho-Ukraine (Carpatho-Ruthenia), which was granted autonomy after the Munich accord, created an ever-widening chasm between the Ukrainian Bureau and the radical Nationalists. During the ensuing months, the Ukrainian Bureau took issue with OUN efforts to take control of Carpatho-Ukraine's government and volunteer militia, the belligerent editorials published in the Nationalist press, and Nationalist radio broadcasts from Vienna that extolled German foreign policy and railed incessantly against Czechoslovakia (LD 23 and 31 October 1938, 25 February 1939). Like Seton-Watson, Makohin and Kysilewsky understood that Carpatho-Ukraine had no future as an independent state and that it could only survive as an autonomous province of Czechoslovakia, a state they had always respected for its adherence to democratic principles and relatively enlightened national minorities policy (LD 7 October, 18 and 22 December 1938).

When the inevitable happened and Carpatho-Ukraine was annexed by Hungary with Hitler's blessings on the same day that the Germans marched into Prague, Makohin cursed and disavowed the OUN (LAC, MG31 D69, vol. 10, file 9,16 March 1939). The Ukrainian Bureau's determination to neutralize OUN influence grew in the summer of 1939 as the Nationalists issued death threats and tried to intimidate Ukrainian friends of the Bureau, including Father Stephan Reshetylo, a Basilian priest who had criticized OUN policies on Carpatho-Ukraine. Rumours that the Germans were training a Ukrainian volunteer detachment composed primarily of OUN enthusiasts added to the Bureau's resolve. (19) The military unit, Makohin and Kysilewsky feared, would be used to destabilize the Polish state and then promptly disbanded after having compromised the cause of Ukrainian independence in the eyes of Britain and the Western democracies. "Without any reservations, without any diplomatic subtleties," Makohin repeatedly wrote Kysilewsky, "we must strike at the 'nationalist' leadership and the followers of Skoropadsky, or they will lead us into another catastrophe"(LAC, MG31 D69, vol. 10, file 9, 29 July 1939).

By the spring of 1939, Kisilewsky was advising the Bureau's Ukrainian-Canadian allies to be wary of the Nationalists who were intent on monopolizing the Ukrainian cause overseas and in North America. He urged the USRL to establish a Ukrainian information bureau in Ottawa and cultivate desperately needed contacts with Anglo-Canadian politicians, government officials, and media representatives (LAC, MG31 D69, vol. 18, file 34, 10 November 1938). (20) He also cautioned League officials not to become involved in Nationalist campaigns calling for the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia and Poland, but to confine themselves to appeals for Ukrainian autonomy in both states (LAC, MG 30 D212, vol. 3, file 59, 19 and 20 April 1939). Above all, he warned the Bureau's Canadian supporters that the OUN and the supporters of Hetman Skoropadsky, who had been mobilizing Ukrainian Canadians since the 1920s (Martynowych 2011), had compromised themselves by endorsing various aspects of Nazi Germany's foreign and domestic policy in their press. In Canada, neither Ukrainian National Federation (UNF) nor United Hetman Organization (UHO) representatives had the moral right to submit demands to the Canadian government concerning the Ukrainian issue because the headquarters of their parent organizations were located in Nazi Germany. The USRL, unaffiliated with any of the pro-German emigre organizations, would have to assume that responsibility (LAC, MG31 D69, vol. 18, file 34,10 May 1939). When the war silenced the Ukrainian press in Poland and in European emigre centres, Kisilewsky wrote that henceforth the Ukrainian-Canadian press would have to address "the world" instead of confining itself to Ukrainian-Canadian farmers. Irresponsible actions and statements like the UNF's proposal "to create a 25,000 man Ukrainian Army in Canada" were a transparent "bluff" that was already undermining Ukrainian-Canadian credibility at the Foreign Office. Although Kysilewsky believed that Ukrainian Nationalists who rejected authoritarianism and a pro-Axis orientation might yet make a positive contribution, they would have "to strike themselves in the chest and admit they sinned" (LAC, MG31 D69, vol. 18, file 34, 25 October 1939).

In May 1940, after having prepared several Ukrainian-language radio broadcasts for the British Ministry of Information, Kysilewsky left London and returned to Canada. By the spring of 1940 there was little reason to remain in Britain. The Bureau's Western Ukrainian supporters (UNDO) had been dispersed after the Red Army occupied Poland's Ukrainian and Belarusan territories in September 1939. Early in the New Year, Makohin, who had been residing in Alassio, Italy, since 1937, instructed Kysilewsky to close the London Bureau by the end of March. The Bureau's enigmatic American benefactor, whose intense hostility toward Nazi Germany did not preclude an attraction to Fascist Italy, was incensed by the indifference of British policy makers to the Ukrainian issue, and frustrated by his inability to obtain a British visa (LAC, MG 31 D 69, vol. 10, file 6, 8 January 1940). (21) Although the Ukrainian question briefly caught the attention of Foreign Office strategists during the Russo-Finnish War, it waned at the conclusion of that conflict in March 1940, and was relegated to the back burner when German armies blitzed through Norway, Denmark and the Low Countries in April and May, and then occupied northern France in June. At this point Kysilewsky returned to Canada to help mediate disagreements within the Ukrainian-Canadian community. In Canada, he would work with the USRL for the formation of a Ukrainian Canadian Committee in which liberals and democrats would participate on an equal footing with and exert a moderating influence on more extreme Nationalist (UNF) and Hetmanite (UHO) elements. Ukrainian-Canadian organizations, Kysilewsky believed, had to distance themselves from overseas Ukrainian extremists and work in unison on behalf of the Allied war effort. Only then would they have the credibility and opportunity to raise the Ukrainian issue effectively in London and other Western capitals.


Kysilewsky's efforts to bring the famine in Soviet Ukraine and the violation of Ukrainian minority rights in Poland to public attention, taught him two valuable lessons: first, that the Soviet regime's brutality, its insidious propaganda, and its ability to influence and manipulate the news media at home and abroad made the Soviet Union and the Communist parties that were beholden to it, dangerous enemies of the Ukrainian people and of Western societies in general; second, that the intrigues, belligerent rhetoric, violent tactics, and dubious political alliances of anti-communist Ukrainian emigres, who followed Hetman Paul Skoropadsky or the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, were morally reprehensible, abhorrent to potential allies in the West, and absolutely counterproductive insofar as the cause of Ukrainian independence was concerned.

During the Cold War years, when Kysilewsky became the Citizenship Branch's chief ethnic liaison officer, Canadian pro-Soviet ethnic mass organizations and their press functioned primarily as instruments of Soviet propaganda, promoting an irrational veneration of the Soviet Union and its Communist leaders, and churning out apologias for the crimes of Stalinism. Pro-Soviet Ukrainian-Canadian mass organizations, for example, hosted receptions for visiting Soviet delegations at which their leaders eulogized "the great genius," Joseph Stalin. Their newspapers abounded with articles (many of them reprinted from Soviet sources) asserting that Soviet Ukraine was "a Ukrainian national state, a socialist worker-peasant country ... without oppressors or oppressed, without exploiters or exploited." They also celebrated Soviet Ukraine's expanding "sovereignty," "flourishing" language and culture, and contented collective farm workers. They prophesied that the Soviet Union would soon "achieve the highest standard of living in the world", glorified Soviet achievements in science and technology, and inferred that critics who minimized the Soviet Union's "great achievements" were themselves or had been influenced by war criminals and Nazi collaborators (Kolasky 1990, 258, 302-03, 311-20, 369-70). Since reasoning and arguing with the true-believers who led the "ethnic left" did not seem to be a feasible option, Kysilewsky worked to neutralize and undermine the influence of pro-Soviet organizations.

At the same time, just as he had done in London during the 1930s, Kysilewsky attempted to moderate the views and defuse the influence of newcomers who clung to extremist nationalist positions. An influential minority of the Ukrainian refugees who immigrated to Canada after the war belonged to the radical Banderite wing of the OUN that had emerged in Europe after 1940 and took their marching orders from leaders headquartered in Munich. By 1949 they had established a nation-wide network of "revolutionary nationalist" cells, and for the next decade liberating the homeland from the Soviet regime remained an obsession that took precedence over adapting to life in Canada. Anticipating a new war in Europe and the resumption of the struggle for Ukrainian independence, they planned the creation of military cadres that could be sent to the homeland to participate in a war of liberation, and they promoted the ritualistic celebration of OUN leaders and heroes to attract youthful recruits. Their militant tactics, which included the infiltration and takeover of existing Ukrainian-Canadian institutions, produced tensions and infighting within the mainstream nationalist community, and culminated in violent confrontations with pro-Soviet adversaries on several occasions (Luciuk 2000, 219-44). Kysilewsky responded by meeting personally with influential leaders, especially newspaper editors, and counseling them to promote a greater appreciation of liberal and democratic values, the rule of law, and political pluralism. Whether he succeeded is debatable and a thorough evaluation of his efforts must be left to his future biographer. In the meantime, it seems quite clear that totalitarian organizations and ideologies, on the left and on the right, that glorified "revolutionary" parties and their infallible leaders, and made idols out of the "workers' and peasants' state" or "the nation," were equally objectionable in Kysilewsky's opinion.


(1.) The best and only published account of the lives of Jacob Makohin and Susan (Fallon) Shiels prior to 1930 may be found in the first volume of Andrzej Zieba's magisterial study of Ukrainian lobbying efforts during the interwar years (Ziqba 2010, 181-207) which draws on the archives of the Ukrainian Bureau housed at the Polish Institute and Sikorski Museum in London. Makohin (1880-1956) graduated from a teachers' college in Eastern Galicia. To embellish his social status after marrying Susan, he claimed to be a descendant of Hetman Kirill Razumovsky (1728-1803), the last ruler of the Ukrainian Hetman State, a ruse that few people took seriously. Susan (Fallon) Shiels (1891-1976), who may have been the daughter of Irish immigrants, often referred to Frances Payne (Bingham) Bolton (1885-1977), the noted philanthropist, healthcare pioneer, congresswoman, and grand-niece of billionaire Oliver Hazard Payne (1839-1917), who co-founded Standard Oil with the Rockefellers, as her "sister" (LD 29 September 1933), although that was not the case. Zieba suggests the Makohins benefitted not only socially and politically from Susan's friendship with Frances Bolton and her husband, Congressman Chester Bolton, but that the Boltons also helped to finance the work of the Ukrainian Bureau (Zieba 2010, 201).

(2.) The UVO and OUN are known to have attempted at least sixty assassinations during the interwar years. Most of these targeted Polish officials or Ukrainians who opposed OUN tactics (Motyl 1985,45-55).

(3.) The Ukrainian Bureau moved to 27 Grosvenor Place on 21 March 1934 (LD 21 March 1934).

(4.) In his spare time, Kysilewsky spent almost four years (October 1932-May 1936) researching and writing a dissertation entitled "The Ukrainian National Revival in Austria, 1772-1848." Although he was optimistic about the prospects of a successful defense (LD 3 December 1935), a committee composed of Professors R. W. Seton-Watson, W.J. Rose, and Lewis Namier (LD 19 May 1936) rejected the dissertation. As Seton-Watson informed a curious Watson Kirkconnell several years later, the dissertation "was an excellent piece of work so far as it went," but Kysilewsky was "considerably handicapped by limitations of research in London, and political reasons had made it difficult for him to fill in the gaps in his studies in Lwow and elsewhere...." (Syrota 2004-05, 166-7). Although the examiners sent the dissertation "back for revision," Kysilewsky abandoned the project altogether even after the Manitoba-born W. J. Rose, who would become SSEES director in 1939, encouraged him to rewrite and resubmit it in order to be eligible for an anticipated appointment at the SSEES (LD 22 March 1938).

(5.) Biographies of many of those mentioned below can be found in Matthew and Harrison (2004), and in the regularly updated ODNB online edition

(6.) For a very interesting if somewhat speculative account of Philipps's career prior to and during the Second World War, see "Characterizations of Tracy Philipps" (Kristmanson 2003,1-48).

(7.) The signatories included six peers, twenty-six serving and six former MPs, and a number of prominent academics including Dr. Hilda Clark, Dr. G.P. Gooch, Prof. Harold Laski, Mr. C. S. Macartney, Prof. Gilbert Murray and Prof. R. W. Seton-Watson.

(8.) Before the AUC was launched, Malone and Kysilewsky, who believed Jews would "play a very big role in the future Ukrainian state," and consequently thought it prudent to "speak to them in advance," addressed several Jewish groups (LD 26 February 1935). The AUC elected as its secretary F. Ashe Lincoln (1907-97), an Oxford-educated lawyer who was active in the Jewish community, while Blanche Dugdale and Col. Josiah Wedgwood, although not Jewish, were prominent supporters of the Zionist cause. At the AUC launch in April, many representatives of the Jewish press were present (LD 16 April 1935). In July the AUC organized a special reception at which Dr. Arnold Margolin, a Kyiv-born and -educated Washington attorney who had served as Secretary of Nationality and Jewish Affairs in the Ukrainian Central Rada in 1917, met with prominent British Jews, reassuring them that Nazism and anti-Semitism would not take root in Ukraine if Britain supported democratic elements in that country (LD 4 July 1935).

(9.) During the mid-1930s Noel-Buxton and Dickinson delivered speeches in the House of Lords on several occasions, deploring the anti-German attitudes and policies of the Commons and the government (Griffiths 1983, 146-55, 200). Noel-Buxton's views on Nazi Germany are also mentioned in a recent study of Lord Londonderry (Kershaw 2004, 300, 309-13).

(10.) The extent to which Lawton was connected with right-wing extremist groups, including the rabidly anti-Semitic Right Club, Sir Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists, and other pro-Nazi extremist groups would not become fully apparent until after the outbreak of war in 1939 and culminate in his internment (Griffiths 1998, 219-24,236-7,267-8). The Bureau had severed its relations with Lawton by the summer of 1939. Hugo Yardley, who was marginally involved with the Bureau until October 1939, when he was assigned to the Red Cross, had joined the new British People's Party, a far-right, anti-war organization patterned after Doriot's Parti Populaire Frani;ais and led by former Labour MP John Beckett (LD 10 July and 2 October 1939; Griffiths 1998, 328-9, 352-3).

(11.) After meeting with Malone and Namier on 18 July 1935, Kysilewsky recorded in his diary that Namier had been a critic of the Poles and a defender of the Ukrainian minority at the time of the Paris Peace Conference, "... [b]ut he does not recognize the separateness (osibnist) of the Ukrainian nation and argues that Ukrainians in Galicia, and in Poland in general, should not oppose the Russians, be they White or Bolshevik, but unite (zluchytysia spilno) with them." Namier stated he was prepared to work on behalf of minorities in Poland, "... but if the Ukrainians continue 'their extremely foolish politics of war on all fronts,' he won't raise a finger. In his opinion, Ukrainians should make sound political decisions and understand that they will never win if they fight on all fronts and against all of their neighbours. They must decide to stand on the side of Russia or on the side of Germany. He advises standing on the side of Russia" (LD 18 and 20 July 1935).

(12.) In early 1939, as Hitler prepared to dismember Czechoslovakia, Seton-Watson adopted a more positive attitude toward the Soviet Union, arguing that "the only real challenge" to the European order came from Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, and maintaining that "Russia and Britain ... each has a definite interest in maintaining the territorial integrity of the other" (Seton-Watson 1939, 167).

(13.) Ironically, the only two high-profile Ukrainian Canadians to visit London at the Bureau's invitation were a disappointment. Michael Luchkovich, the first Ukrainian-Canadian Member of Parliament (Vegreville, 1926-35), struck Makohin and his wife as an immature, self-satisfied, and arrogant young man of little learning who was poorly versed in international relations and did not know how to behave in polite society (Zieba 2010, 598-603). Peter J. Lazarowich, a lawyer and prominent USRL activist, who was invited to speak at the RIIA in July 1933, read his lecture on "Ukraine through the eyes of a Ukrainian Canadian" very quickly and had to be saved from embarrassment during the question period by Leah Malone and Seton-Watson. "I almost jumped out of my skin," Kysilewsky wrote in his diary, "... [t]he speaker was not prepared as he should have been" (LD 6 July 1933).

(14.) According to Kysilewsky, Korostovets's mistress was the Russian ballerina Tatiana Krasavina (AUCAW, Bishop Basil Ladyka file, 7 December 1935).

(15.) Wilhelm von Habsburg-Lothringen (1895-1948), cousin of the Archduke Otto, pretender to the Austrian throne, and of King Alfonso XIII of Spain, had ambitions of becoming a Ukrainian monarch. During the Great War his comrades in arms included OUN leaders Yevhen Konovalets and Andrii Melnyk, and in 1933 he was trying to return to Ukrainian politics. One year later, after Wilhelm's involvement in a sordid financial scandal became front-page news in Europe, Konovalets pronounced Wilhelm a "political corpse" who must never again play any role in Ukrainian politics (LD 17 and 21 December 1934, 26 January, 18 February, 28 July 1935; Snyder 2008,167-68,172-88).

(16.) Kysilewsky met his fiancee, Grace Neave, a civil servant employed by the Department of Labour, in 1934 (LD 20 May 1934, 24 August 1938,15 December 1939); they were married in London on 16 May 1940.

(17.) Gabrielle Roy (1909-83), whose first novel Bonheur d'occasion (1945) [Eng. trans. The Tin Flute, 1946] was awarded the French Prix Femina and the Canadian Governor General's Award, became one of Canada's most celebrated novelists. According to Stephen Pawluk and George Luckyj, who were in London in 1938-39, "Davidovich found the time to engage in an amorous affair with the young Gabrielle Roy" (Prymak 1988, 155). Roy writes about her brief but significant relationship with Stephen in her memoirs without mentioning his surname (Roy 1987,275-400).

(18.) After Konovalets was assassinated in Rotterdam by NKVD agent Pavel Sudoplatov on 23 May 1938, Davidovich visited the city several times, posing as a journalist, and met with the OUN leader's closest associates and with his widow (LD 29 May, 23 and 27 June 1938).

(19.) This was the secret National Military Detachment, made up of six hundred veterans of the defeated Carpatho-Ukrainian militia and OUN members who had made their way to Germany after Hungary annexed the region in March 1939. Located in Wiener-Neustadt, Austria, the detachment "was to act as an auxiliary to the Wehrmacht in its approaching attack on Poland and to provide an armed nucleus for an uprising which the OUN hoped would lead to independence for the Ukrainians in that country." Though the unit marched toward Galicia in September 1939, it was disbanded when the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany's ally at the time, decided to annex Eastern Galicia (Armstrong 1990, 28).

(20.) On 29 November 1939, the USRL designated Kysilewsky as its representative in Great Britain (LD 12 December 1939).

(21.) Makohin's pro-Italian sympathies were nurtured by Dr. Enrico Insabato, an authority on the Middle East and Islam, and a veteran Italian intelligence agent, who had been cultivating Ukrainian contacts since the early 1920s (Zieba 2010,91-92). A senior counselor in the Foreign Ministry in Rome, Insabato met Makohin in the fall of 1930 and visited him in Geneva and London after Poland and Germany signed a non-aggression pact in 1934. Insabato assured Makohin that Italy and Britain could reach an agreement on Eastern Europe that would prevent Poland and Germany from dividing the "Ukrainian Manchuria" in the future (LD 15 December 1934,17 June 1935). Makohin, in turn, hoped the anti-Soviet Italians would establish and train a Ukrainian Legion, and he believed that Italy was ready to support Ukrainian anti-Soviet aspirations, although Malone and Kysilewsky were skeptical (LD 31 July, 22 and 27 August, 31 October 1935). Kristmanson's suggestion that allegations published in 1942 in The Hour, a New York news sheet produced by the communist fellow-traveller and Soviet apologist Albert E. Kahn, characterizing Tracy Philipps, Makohin, and Kysilewsky as fascist agents, were "for the most part true, if exaggerated" betrays a lack of judgement. Although he exonerates Philipps, Kristmanson, who knows nothing about Makohin and Kisilewsky, accepts the The Hour's misinformation concerning the two Ukrainians at face value and even offers a photograph of Makohin "and his American wife Lee" (sic) with Italian General Rossi, taken by Kysilewsky in lune 1938, as supporting evidence (2003, 25-27). He does not mention that an Anglo-Italian agreement had been concluded two months earlier, on 16 April 1938. Nor is he aware of the fact that Kysilewsky's decision not to relocate to Italy was resented by the Makohins and that their parting was quite acrimonious (LAC, MG 31 D 69, vol. 10, file 10, 14 and 15 March and 3 May 1940). The Makohins returned to the United States in 1941 (Jacob Makohin's letter, Time Magazine, 8 December 1941) bereft of all illusions concerning Fascist Italy.


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OREST T. MARTYNOWYCH studied history at the University of Manitoba (BA [Hons.], MA) and the University of Toronto. He is the author of Ukrainians in Canada: The Formative Period, 1891-1924 (Edmonton: Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies Press, 1991); The Showman and the Ukrainian Cause: Folk Dance, Film, and the Life of Vasile Avramenko (Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2014), and Ukrainians in Canada: The Interwar Years (Edmonton: Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies Press, 2015).
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