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"WHY DISPLACED PERSONS REFUSE TO RETURN TO THEIR NATIVE COUNTRIES OCCUPIED NOW BY SOVIET RUSSIA."

BY Rev. Horoshko
Sudbury, June 12, 1946

Mr. Chairman, Ladies & Gentlemen

It is a great honour and privilege for me to speak to you to-night. I feel it is may duty as a Canadian Citizen to discuss one of the most tragic, pressing and troublesome problems of the day, that is, "Why Displaced Persons, whose number now reaches two million, would not return to their native countries at the present occupied by Soviet Russia."

As the only Canadian Ukrainian Greek Catholic Chaplain with the Canadian Armed Forces overseas, I had the task of covering many countries. Since I could speak Ukrainian, Russian and Polish, I rendered my services very often to the military government in connection with the D.P.'s. Really, I had a splendid opportunity to gather valuable information about this subject. This evening, I intend to share this information with you, Ladies and Gentlemen.

THE PROBLEM OF DISPLACED PERSONS AND REFUGEES

Never before in the history of mankind have the people had to endure such sufferings, on such a large scale as that which has been the lot of the displaced persons since the conclusion of the second great war. At the conclusion of hostilities a year ago, no fewer than forty million people had been uprooted from their homes. The great majority of these have been transferred to various regions for permanent settlement. The remainder, comprising more than six million persons, for one reason or another, did not wish to be returned to their former homelands, controlled and dominated as they are by foreign powers.

Scattered as they were across the continent of Europe, some of them lived in displaced persons camps; others lived as best they could and where ever they could. Nearly five million of them have been forcibly sent back, and close to two million

have remained in the displaced persons centres scattered over central and western Europe – most of them in the American and British – occupied zones of Germany.

WHY THE DISPLACED PERSONS, AND WHO ARE THEY?

In the course of the war, and as a direct result of the policies of totalitarian states, millions of people were uprooted from the centuries – old homes of their forefathers. One group was sent into German controlled territories' as forced labour. A second group consists of persons who, on racial, political or religious grounds, were thrown into concentration camps and persecuted both by Nazi and by Communist Dictatorship. A third group consisting of men, women and children, who sought refuge outside their own devastated countries, experienced untold misery and horrible persecutions during the Nazi-Soviet occupation of their countries during the period from September - 1939, to June 22, 1941. The fourth group consists of prisoners of war. The fifth comprises all others who have been avicted from their homes by invading armies of forces of occupation. Clearly all these victims have chosen to remain on the west side of the iron curtain in the hope that some day they will find new homes where they may live as free human beings.

DISPLACED PERSONS AND THEIR NATIONALITIES

The D.P.'s are comprised of the following nationalities: Ukrainians, Poles, White Russians, Russians, Latvians, Estonians, Lithunians, Rumanians, Serbians, Georgians, etc.

UNRRA AND OTHER ORGANIZATION TEMPORARILY PROVIDE FOR DISPLACED PERSONS IN CAMPS

The D.P.'s who find themselves in displaced persons camps are fed, clothed and housed by UNRRA and are assisted by the Red Cross and other welfare organizations. This arrangement, however, is of necessity only temporary; therefore, it is imperative that a permanent solution to the problem be found. This can be done only be seeking a permanent domicile for these people in the democracies of the world, preferably in the English-speaking countries. It is in the hope of solving this problem that citizens of Canada have been making impassioned appeals to the Canadian Government to allow considerable number of these people to enter Canada as immigrants.

D.P.'S ATTITUDE TOWARD DEMOCRACY

Let me illustrate what the D.P.'s attitude is towards the Western democracies, especially toward the English-speaking world. In a letter written to me by a friend himself now in a D.P. camp, this statement is found – "I cannot return to my country because I would be sent at once to Siberia, as many of my friends have already suffered such a fate. I would like to find a place where I could live as a real human beings. I would like to be able to worship my God, as my father and grandfather did in the past. I want to be able to live my individual life, free from the constant fear of persecution and death. The D.P. look upon us as a highly civilized people who have won for themselves the grates measure of freedom. They know that we are the originate of the Four Freedoms, as expressed in the Atlantic Charter. They assume that we are defenders of the principles of democracy and that we will apply them to their particular use. They look to us to grant them a place of shelter where they could obtain free scope for their abilities and potentialities.

UKRAINIAN DISPLACED PERSONS

I would like to discuss particularly the case of Ukrainian displaced persons because they represent more completely and vividly the whole problem. According to statistics there is over 300,000 Ukrainian D.P.'s. 85% if them are farmers and labourers. The other 15% is composed of qualified intellectuals, engineers, composers, architects, judges, musicians, lawyers, teachers, professors of Universities, artists, manufacturers, journalists, business men, and priests.

WHY D.P.'S REFUSE TO GO BACK?

The Western powers are now becoming more and more strongly convicted that displaced persons have valid reasons for refusing to return to Soviet-controlled territories. There are no less than five important reasons for this:

First – because they are democratic-minded people in the western sense of word, and as they wish to live their lives as free men, they hate dictatorship in all its form.

Second – because they are deeply religious people, and there is no freedom of worship in the Communist-controlled territories. This has been amply demonstrated by the disbandment of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, by the imprisonment and murder of many Ukrainian clergy, and by the persecution of the Ukrainian Greek Orthodox Church and the imposition by force of Russian Orthodox Church, upon Ukrainian people.

Third – because of the constant fear of N.K.V.D. (the notorious Russian Secret Police).

Fourth – because under Communist dictatorship, individual and national freedom is impossible either in the economic or the political sense.

Fifth, because those who were forcibly sent back were not returned to their former homes, but were sent East as far as Siberia. They were "repatriated" not the Ukraine but to Russia. Ukrainian lands on which Ukrainians have lived for more than a thousand years are now being populated by Russian and Mongolian peoples. Evidence of this is the fact that the new settlers in the Carpatho-Ukraine are notable for their slanted Mongolian eyes. In fact a policy of dispersion, and not one of resembling, has been adopted by the Soviet Government in the Ukraine. The number of Ukrainians in the Ukraine has dropped by two-thirds.

A. WHY DO NOT THE FARMERS AMONG THE D.P.'S GO BACK TO RUSSIA?

In answer let me quote on behalf of all these farmers a passage from the evidence given by a Ukrainian farmer to the Military Commission.

"I was born 25 kilometers from Kiev. I lost my 15-acre farm to the Collective Farming Agency of the Soviet Union. In exchange I became and ordinary worker in the Collective Farming Agency. As a slave of the Soviet State, I had to work sometimes as much as 18 hours a day. I was removed form my house and placed in the common barracks. I received only sufficient food to keep alive and barely enough clothes to cover my exhausted body. The rigid Soviet bureaucracy treated us very roughly. They used to tell us every day how much we had to work and sacrifice in order to attain the ideal Socialistic state of Karl Marx. In 1942 the Germans captured me and placed me as slav labourer on a German farm. Now I am a D.P. in an UNNRA camp. Here I am receiving the best food I have ever had. Besides, this, we enjoy self-government and complete freedom in the camp I will never return to Russia. I would rather die than return as a slave to the Soviet system.

B. WHY A LABOURER?

Again let me quote the information given by 75 shoemakers to me personally. "In 1942, the Germans captured us in Karkov and immediately transferred us to Western Germany to work in one of their shoe factories. At the present we are working in a small shoe factory repairing boots and shoes for UNNRA. We would like to state that under the Canadian military control we have received better food, shelter and clothing than we ever enjoyed under the Soviet system. For 25 years under the Soviet Regime we were deprived of the right to practice our own form of religious worship. They wanted us to believe in the new Gods of the Soviet Union, namely, Lenin and Stalin. They taught us a new religion, Marxism. They demanded our trust, our love and devotion to the Soviet Regime. Our labour unions were sponsored by the Soviet government and controlled by the Communist party. We were under the constant vigilance of N.K.V.D. We were never allowed to even question the orders of the Labour Union of the Communist Party. In order to be a member of the Communist Party, one had to be zealous in denouncing all "reactionary elements" among the working classes. They lectured to us twice a week on Marxist doctrines. We received no extra pay for overtime work. They introduced "Stachanowshchina" -- supposed to be a free contribution of energy in producing in the factory a grater output than anyone else. This was really a harness upon working men to increase their contribution to the building of a glorious Soviet State under the leadership of Joseph Stalin. From time to time we heard from Soviet propagandists of Great Britain, U.S.A. and Canada, as capitalistic countries, in which depression, starvation walkouts and strikes were a daily feature of life. They informed us that the capitalistic system was built upon the blood and sweat of the poor working classes." It was our duty, "they said, "to destroy this Capitalistic system and to free the down trodden working masses from their slavery and oppression." In this place we were to offer them a new freedom handed down to us by Lenin and Stalin. By means of their propaganda, they placed in our minds a picture of capitalistic countries, filled with starvation, oppression and misery. In our condition we knew nothing else and we accepted this doctrine as the truth. But we were happily disillusioned and now that we know the truth we will never return to Russia. The leader of these shoemakers added this further statement. "Three weeks ago we received a visit from Five Russian Liaison Officers, whom we received as members of N.K.V.D. They called us traitors, deserters, Fascists and other similar names because we refused to return to Russia. They even tried to frighten us by telling us that British authorities would arrest us and place us in concentration camps in Great Britain where we would slowly die of hunger and starvation.

C. WHY A PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY DOESN'T WANT TO RETURN TO RUSSIA

Again let me quote several passages from evidence given by a professor of Sociology in one of the universities in the Soviet Ukraine.

"As a devoted Marxist played an important party in establishing a Soviet regime in the Ukraine, I was firmly convinced that the Marxian Socialistic Utopia was the only solution for improving the lot, the condition, of the working classes, the world over, and so I was entrusted with the task of teaching in the university the dialectic materialistic philosophy of Marx.

As the years went on, I became disillusioned quickly and learned that the Soviet Regime did not put into practice the principle of Marx. I soon realized that the phrases: brotherhood, equality where more sounds and nothing more. The Soviet system was nothing more than a new form of the old Czarist imperialistic dreams. We were indeed building new factories, were carrying on an industrial revolution, but at the same time millions of our people were dying of hunger and starvation. Other millions were herded into concentration camps because they were opposed to the Soviet Regime. Slowly doubts began to creep into my mind. As I looked around me, I came to conclusion that the Soviet Regime was not justified in building its system upon the blood, sweat and starvation of millions of people. It was easy to see that there were to distinct classes of people in the Soviet Union. One was composed of the leaders and the privileged members of the Communist party. The other was the slave of their wills, the victims of their beliefs and doctrines, But as the loyal party member, I had to keep these thoughts buried in my heart waiting for the opportunity of some day of telling the truth to the world. In 1942, I was taken prisoner by the Germans and was forced to work in one of their mines. At the present time, I am in a D.P. camp. I would like to return to Russia but only when that country enjoys real freedom, for I would rather die here, than go back to Russia under the present Regime. Since I am now quite old, I would like to live the rest of my life in a free country. My sincere prayer goes up to God that He may bless my native land and give to it and to all races under the Soviet Regime, the real blessings of a true democracy."

The United Nations Organization in the Declaration states and I quote. "The United Nations re-affirm faith in the fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of man and woman of the nations large and small."

The question of D.P.'s is a responsibility of all the members of the United Nations especially those who were not devastated by the war.

Canada, as a member of the United Nation Organization, has to share the responsibility. Canadians of Ukrainian descent are vitally interested in a proper solution of the problem since they have thousands upon thousands of their relatives among D.P.'s.

The United Nations Organization appointed a special Committee to study D.P.'s problem and has adopted, despite the Russian's protest, a human policy, not to repatriate D.P.'s forcibly.

Since the United Nations Committee looking for space where to place D.P.'s. I think Canada will respond to the call of the United Nations.

You may have noticed that from time to time to time to time some of the followers of Mr. Timbuck' policy in Canada, have called Ukrainian D.P.'s fascists, Nazi's and collaborators and so on.

Their accusations are far away from the truth as a slogan that Mr. Bavin is trying to restore fascism in Western Europe.

We may witness in the coming years a new immigration which I think will be valuable to Canada.

 

LAC, Horoshko Fonds
MG31-F15, Vol. 1, File 11

 

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