Mykola Hnatiw fonds
Call Number: Mss 271 (A.08-11)

Title: Mykola Hnatiw fonds.

Dates: 1953-1991.

Extent: 0.07 m of textual records.

Biographical sketch: Mykola Hnatiw was born in Ukraine in the village of Vykoty, Sambir Region on September 6, 1912 into a poor peasant family. The family consisted of his father, Mykola, mother, Kateryna (Onyshkevych), a brother, Ivan, and two sisters, Hanna and Marynia. He completed his schooling in Sambir and later worked in the cooperative movement in the village of Komarno and the town of Syanik. In 1942, he married Iryna (Ilnycka), daughter of Evhenia Ilnycka and Mychailo Ilnyckyj. World War II pushed Mykola Hnatiw to a decision of leaving his homeland. Along with his pregnant wife, he headed towards the Slovak border. His first daughter, Chrystya, was born in Slovakia. The family that was left behind was arrested and exiled to Siberia in 1944 until an amnesty was granted in the 1960s. From Slovakia, Mykola headed for the Camps for Displaced Persons in the US Army barracks of Mittenwald, Germany. In Germany, he became involved in the community's political and athletic activities.

In 1949, the family immigrated to Canada, settling in Winnipeg where both he and his wife, like many other immigrants, took menial and physically difficult jobs. Their second daughter, Marta, was born in Canada. Mykola Hnatiw became involved in several political and Ukrainian organizations. Eventually, his passion for literature and journalism led him to work at the Ukrainian Voice newspaper, first as a proof-reader and later as Assistant Editor. He corresponded with many notable emigre community leaders and cultural activists in Ukraine. His dream of visiting his village was realized in 1991, shortly before Ukraine's Independence. Mykola Hnatiw passed away on March 22, 1997. He willed his extensive library to his children with a request that a large portion of his books be sent to Sambir.  This request was carried out in 2000 by his family and the library is currently in the Boykivs'kyj Museum in Sambir. Mykola Hnatiw lives on in the memories of his children and his extensive family in Canada and Ukraine. In addition to a love of Ukrainian literature, art, and music that he passed on to his children, Mykola Hnatiw's commitment to the community lives on in his children and grandchildren, Andriy and Ihor, the sons of his daughter, Marta, and her husband, Ivan Michalchyshyn.

Custodial history: The fonds was donated to University of Manitoba Archives & Special Collections by the daughters of Mykola Hnatiw, Chrystia Hnatiw, and Marta Michalychyshyn in 2008.

Scope and content: The fonds consists of numerous correspondence between Mykola Hnatiw and various colleagues, associates and acquaintances, including renowned sculptor, Leo Mol, former Ukrainian dissident, Danylo Shumuk, Ukrainian Canadian author and activist, John Kolasky (Ivan Koliaska), the daughter of the revered Ukrainian poet and writer Ivan Franko, Anna Kliuchko, Ukrainian American writer and publicist with the Ukrainian Free Academy of Sciences in the U.S.A., Hryhorii Kostiuk, and author and historian, Jurij Lawrynenko (New York). Also contained within the fonds is some biographical information on Mr. Hnatiw, including certificates and newspaper clippings.

Restrictions: There are no restrictions on this material.

Accruals: Further accruals are not expected.

Finding aid: An on-line finding aid is available at the link below:

MSS 271 (A.08-11).