Fonds PR3260 - Mykhailo Chomiak fonds

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Mykhailo Chomiak fonds

General material designation

  • Textual record
  • Graphic material

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Fonds

Reference code

PAA PR3260

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area

Date(s)

  • 1881-1983 (Creation)
    Creator
    Chomiak, Mykhailo

Physical description area

Physical description

7.0 m of textual records. – ca. 400 photographs

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Archival description area

Name of creator

(1905-1984)

Biographical history

Mykhailo (Michael) Chomiak was born in 1905 in the village of Stroniatyn in the province of Galicia in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, part of western Ukraine that would be annexed by Poland in the inter-war period. He graduated from Lviv University in 1931 with a Master's degree in law and political science. An avid journalist throughout his life, Chomiak first became associated with the Ukrainian daily newspaper, Dilo, in 1928 and from 1934 to 1939 served on its editorial staff. During the Nazi occupation of Poland in the Second World War, he was the editor of Krakivs’ki visti, published first in Krakow (1940-1944) and then in Vienna (1944-1945).

After the Soviet occupation, Chomiak fled to the German-occupied portion of former Poland, which had been reconstituted as the General Government, and settled in Krakow where he eventually found work with the Ukrainian newspaper Krakivs’ki visti.

Krakow became a centre of non-Soviet Ukrainian culture and a delegation led by geographer Volodymyr Kubiiovych approached Nazi governor general Hans Frank for permission to create a Ukrainian publishing house. Permission was granted and the Ukrainian Publishing House was formed as a limited company headed by Kubiiovych and financially supported by donations from the Ukrainian community.

The first director of the Ukrainian Publishing House was Ievhen Iulii Pelens’kyi, who received permission from the German press chief in Krakow, Emil Gassner, to appropriate the Jewish printing press of Nowy Dziennik, which had been shut down by the Nazis. After supplies and equipment were obtained, the first issue of Krakivs’ki visti was published under the editorship of Borys Levyts’kyi on 7 January 1940.

Levyts’ski was soon forced from the editor position by the Nazis and Chomiak took over early in 1940 and would remain in this position for the length of the paper’s run. Krakivs’ki visti would be published out of Krakow, under heavy Nazi censorship, until the approach of Soviet forces in October, 1944. The paper then transferred its operations to Vienna and continued to publish until March, 1945.

After the cessation of conflict, Chomiak was placed in Blonhofen Displaced Persons Camp until emigrating to Canada with his wife Alexandra, and daughters Oksana, Marusia, Halyna, and Christina in October, 1948. Two more children, Natalia and Bohdon, were born in Edmonton, AB.

After a brief period as a manual labourer, Chomiak found employment with Sherritt Gordon Mines in Fort Saskatchewan, remaining with the company until retirement. His primary interest, however, remained the Ukrainian community locally and internationally, and he played an active role in its affairs both formally and informally.

Chomiak was a member of several organizations and held numerous executive positions. From its inception in the 1950s, he was involved with the Ivan Franko School of Ukrainian Studies in Edmonton as a parent and as a teacher. He continued his journalistic work and research in Canada, editing several monographs, publishing scholarly articles, and writing for the Ukrainian press. After official retirement, Chomiak worked for a term (1978-1979) on the Ukrainian Encyclopedia project in Sarcelles, France, and in 1981 accepted the editorship of the Ukrainian Catholic weekly, Ukrainski visti, in Edmonton.

Mykhailo Chomiak died in Edmonton in April, 1984.

Custodial history

The records were maintained by Mykhailo Chomiak until his death in 1984, at which point they came into the possession of his widow, Alexandra Chomiak.

There are two sous-fonds within this fonds that were created by Lev Hankevych and Ivan Nimchuk, respectively. These records were maintained by their creators and came into the possession of Chomiak after the deaths of Hankevych in 1962 and Nimchuk in 1956.

Scope and content

The fonds consists of the personal and business records of Mykhailo Chomiak from Europe and Canada. The European records include vital statistics records including marriage documents and residency and movement documents issued during the German occupation; correspondence; and photographs of friends, family, religious artifacts, and sites around Ukraine.

    These records also consist of professional documents including work permits issued during the German occupation; general business files, daily information bulletins, correspondence, and editorial records related to the editorial management of Krakivs’ki visti; records from the Blonhofen Displaced Persons Camp; photographs of Dilo staff, the executive of the Ukrainian temperance organization Vidrodzhennia, Ukrainian religious and cultural events, Ukrainian forced labour camps in Germany, sites around Galicia during the Second World War, and German-sponsored events during the occupation.

The Canadian records include Chomiak autobiographies and publishing bibliographies; employment documents; correspondence; records from Ukrainian community organizations such as the Ukrainian Youth Association, Kursy ukrainoznavstva, the Shevchenko Scientific Society, the Ukrainian National Hall and Ukrainian Catholic Unity, the Ukrainian Canadian Committee, Ukrainian credit unions, Ukrainian National Council in Canada among others; records related to the Ivan Franko School of Ukrainian Studies; records related to the Ukrainian Catholic Church; and writings for Ukrainian-language newspapers.

The fonds also contains the records of Lev Hankevych and Ivan Nimchuk.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

The records were donated by Alexandra Chomiak in 1985.

Arrangement

The fonds was originally arranged but not described in 1988 by archivists at the Provincial Archives of Alberta. That arrangement structure has been upheld and is as follows:

Series 1: Europe (Sub-Series 1: Personal; Sub-Series 2: Professional Work and Community Involvement)

Series 2: Canada (Sub-Series 1: Personal; Sub-Series 2: Community Involvement)

Sous-Fonds 1: Lev Hankevych

Sous-Fonds 2: Ivan Nimchuk

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None.

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File list is available.

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Further accruals are not expected.

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Provincial Archives of Alberta

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