Archival Ucrainica in Poland

Archival Materials from the NTSh Library. Mention has already been made of some of the manuscripts and archival materials that were evacuated from Lviv during the war and ended up in the Manuscript Division of the Biblioteka Narodowa, such as parts of the Baworowski and Czołowski collections, among others. The Ukrainian collection, which Ukrainian President Kuchma suggested exchanging with Poland for the remainder of the Ossolineum manuscripts, comprises some 28 boxes of sensitive twentieth-century Ukrainian documentation from the former Library of the Shevchenko Scientific Society (Naukove Tovarystvo im. Shevchenka NTSh). Hidden in the basement of the Krasinski Palace (undoubtedly because they were Ukrainian rather than Polish), they were first identified by the Ukrainian specialist in Warsaw, Eugeniusz Misilo (levhen Misylo), after their chance discovery during building renovations in the late 1980s; some of them were on the point of being destroyed as loose papers scattered in the park outside the Krasiński Palace that houses the Manuscript Division.1 There is evidence that 35 to 40 crates from the NTSh Library were evacuated from Lviv with one of the Nazi shipments to Cracow in March or early April j 944 2 However, an outgoing inventory of the NTSh materials has not been found, nor has a full correlation with previous NTSh catalogs or inventories been established.3 Possibly, they were intermingled in Cracow with Ukrainian, and especially UNR, materials from other sources that the Nazis had been gathering there. Subsequently evacuated to Silesia in June 1944, they were found there in 1945 with the same shipment mentioned above that included books from the Baworowski Library and the Ossolineum, among others. The Manuscript Division first admitted their existence in the late 1980s, and since then they have become the focus of considerable attention.4 A call for restitution by the Ukrainian historian laroslav Dashkevych first appeared in print in 1991.5

Described subsequently in a survey by Lviv archivist Halyna Svarnyk, the rather fragmentary materials include scattered records of the Ukrainian National Republic (UNR), including a few Foreign Ministry files (1918-1919), military files of the Ukrainian Galician Army (1918-1920) and the Ukrainian Sich Riflemen (Ukra'fns´ki Sichovi Stril'tsi; 1914-1918); some scattered documentary files from the Western Ukrainian National Republic (ZUNR); and records of the Prosvita Society from Lviv and the Ukrainian National-Democratic Association (1922-1938), among others.6 Personal papers includes those of Dmytro Dontsov (1907-1939), who had edited the journals Literaturno-naukyi vistnyk and Vistnyk in Lviv; Olena Kysilevs'ka, the editor of the journal Zhinocha dolia and a senator in the Polish parliament (1928-1939); Andrei Zhuk, the editor of a Ukrainian cooperative journal (1907-1939); and Ivan and lurii Lypa (1902-1938), writers who were also active in the UNR army, among others.7Undoubtedly, Ukrainians in Lviv were anxious to get these sensitive materials out of Lviv before the return of the Red Army. It is possible that some of the materials included here (which would also have been of interest to the Nazis) were not accessioned by the NTSh before the NTSh Library was abolished by Soviet authorities in 1940.

Given the fragmentary nature of the materials, some apparently have been lost or destroyed in the course of migration. Others may have disappeared in the course of their subsequent unfavorable secret storage conditions in the basement of the Krasinski Palace, where they were sequestered for 40 years. During a state visit to Ukraine in 1993, Polish President Lech Walesa presented six books of original protocols of the Prosvita Society (1868-1923) to Ukraine, and they are now held in the Historical Archive in Lviv (TsDlAL). Negotiations for the restitution of other parts of the collection are under way as part of the larger Polish-Ukrainian restitution efforts. Most of the materials have already been microfilmed, copies of which are available in Lviv.8

Przemyśl Capitula Manuscripts. Another important Ukrainian collection in the Biblioteka Narodowa was acquired under completely different circumstances and cannot be considered a direct result of wartime displacements. Considered by many a unique part of the Ukrainian archival heritage, although long held outside of what now constitutes Ukrainian lands, is the library of the Przemyśl (Ukr. Peremyshl) Ukrainian Greek Catholic Capitula. Frequently persecuted in Poland for its Ukrainian focus, the Greek Catholic Church has had a difficult history, but, thanks to support in the Vatican, the diocese remained alive, lending aid to the underground Church in western Ukraine during the decades it was outlawed by the Soviet regime as representative of Ukrainian "bourgeois nationalism." Although briefly part of the Ukrainian SSR in 1939-1941, Przemyśl, the seat of the diocese, now remains in Poland.

When intolerance was at its height, most of the valuable collection of early manuscripts from Przemyśl was transferred to Warsaw, where they were given the protection of the National Library, although open access was not always permitted.9 During the 1970s, while the Greek Catholic Church was still outlawed by Soviet authorities and suspect to the Poles, many of the manuscript treasures in Warsaw were described by a Basilian scholar from Rome.10 Some fragmentary parts of the library remain in Przemyśl and some manuscripts are held among the diocesan records in the state archive in Rzeszów. A number of early printed books and a few manuscripts from the library are held in the library of the Catholic University in Lublin. Although most of the diocese, and its episcopal center of Przemyśl, are now part of Poland, part of the diocese is in Ukraine itself. Some eighteenth-century visitation protocols and other fragmentary files from the diocesan records are held in the Museum of Ukrainian Art in Lviv.11 For the most part, parish registers from the archive involving vital statistics for areas now in Ukraine were already transferred to ZAHS archives in Lviv with postwar archival revindications. Now that the Greek Catholic (Ukrainian Catholic, Uniate) Church has been officially reestablished in Ukraine, Ukrainians are seeking the revindication of this library, which they consider a vital part of their cultural heritage.


NOTES

1This is described in his unpublished account, "Kolekcja naukowego Towarzystwa im. T. Szewczenki ze Lwowa w zbiorach Biblioteki Narodowej w Warszawie." Polish authorities had apparently tried to suppress the details of the discovery. See Misylo's article "Ukraїns´ki tsinnosti u varshavs´komu skhovyshchi," in Slidamy pam´iatі (1996), pp. 109-12. Slidamy pam'iati is a new Ukrainian series published in Poland. A supplemental memoir follows (by Stanistaw Kryciński who was working with the restoration crew) that describes finding some of the papers scattered in the park outside the building-"Svidchennia Stanislava Krytsins´koho pro obstavyny vyiavlennia arkhivu Naukovoho tovarystva im. Shevchenka v budynku Natsional´noї biblioteky u Varshavi," pp. 112-13.    back...

2Inventories or even box lists of the contents of the NTSh materials evacuated have not been found. The shipment may have included some politically sensitive Ukrainian materials in Lviv that had not been accessioned by the NTSh before the war. It is not possible to correlate these materials with an all-too-primitive wartime inventory of the NTSh collections in Lviv-"Rukopysy, shcho shche bulo v Bibliotetsi pry provirtsi v dniakh 1.X.1944 r.," which shows some of the holdings crossed out; many of the numbered positions, however, are simply listed as "collection of manuscripts" or other such unidentifiable indication-TsDIAL, 309/2/25. The NTSh materials are also not listed in any of the Nazi orders or shipping lists regarding these evacuations that 1 have seen in Lviv and Cracow.   back...

3I have not found inventories identifying all of these materials in the NTSh library in 1944, nor has Halyna Svarnyk, who has been describing them. Possibly some of the UNR materials in the collection may have been among the scattered UNR military records that had been brought to Lviv in 1925/26 and housed with the Sheptys´kyi archive. As is evident from a wartime report, the Nazis knew about those records of the UNR General Staff and two Ukrainian divisions and had been anxious to take them to the West in their final evacuations from Lviv-ERR report (March 1942-March 1943), TsDAVO, 3206/5/26, fols. 4-5. Since that shipment also included books from several different libraries in Poland, as well as the Polish Library in Paris (then in Cracow), it is possible that some of the included Ukrainian archival materials could have come from other sources.   back...

4Colleagues in the Manuscript Division first showed me the 1948 report with a rough inventory of these materials in the late 1980s. I prepared a cursory list of the contents at the time, and, suspecting they were from the NTSh, I encouraged Ukrainian colleagues to prepare a full description in anticipation of preservation microfilming and their hoped-for restitution to Ukraine.   back...

5See laroslav Dashkevych, "Dolia і nedolia nasho'i Biblioteky," Visnyk NTSh (Lviv) March 1991 (1): 2.   back...

6Halyna Svarnyk, "Arkhiv Naukovoho tovarystva im. Shevchenka v Natsional'nii bibliotetsi u Varshavi," in Z istoriї NTSh, pp. 232-41. See also the shorter article by Svarnyk, "Arkhiv Naukovoho tovarystva im. Shevchenka zi L´vova v Natsional'nii bibliotetsi u Varshavi," in Slidamy pam´iati (1996), pp. 114-23, followed by "Spysok materialiv z arkhivu Naukovoho tovarystva im. Shevchenka u L'vovi, iaki teper zberihaiut'sia u Viddili rukopysiv Natsional'noї biblioteky u Varshavi," pp. 124-27; and "L´vivs´ki zbirky u Varshavi (Arkhiv Naukovoho tovarystva im. Shevchenka v Natsional'nii bibliotetsi u Varshavi)," Halyts´ka brama 12(36) December 1997: 12.    back...

7See Halyna Svarnyk, "Arkhiv Dmytra Dontsova," Pam'iatky Ukraїny 1994 (3-6 126]): 122-28.    back...

8Microfilms are available for purchase from the Biblioteka Narodowa, Oddział Mikrofilmów and are available in Lviv in TsDIAL.    back...

9See the 1946 report on the library made by a specialist from the Biblioteka Narodowa-"Sprawozdanie z wyjazdu do Przemyśla w dn. 23.X.-1.XI.46 r." (4 February 1946), in Slidamy pam´iati (1996), pp. 134-35; the original document is from the Archive of the Biblioteka Narodowa in Warsaw, 2663/46.    back...

10"Rukopysy Peremyshl´skoї hreko-katolyts´koї kapituly v Narodnii bibliotetsi u Varshavi," Bohosloviia 37(1-4) 1973: 193-213; and 38(1^) 1974: 237-43. An expanded description of the Przemyśl collection is now in progress in Poland.    back...

11Ivan Franko, "Prychynok do istoriї halyts´ko-rus´koho pys´menstva XVIII v.," Zapysky NTSh 107 (1912): 110-15; and Melaniia Bordun, "Z zhyttia ukraїns´koho dukhovenstva l´vivs´koї eparkhiї v druhii pol. XVIII v. (na osnovi vizytatsii M. Shadurs´koho 1759-1763)," Zapysky NTSh 134-135 (1924): 137-60.    back...

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