The dark shadow of today’s war in Ukraine is cast upon the small piece of Ukrainian history now on display at the Enderby and District Museum and Archives.
“We wanted to show our support of Ukraine with a display highlighting the local history of Ukrainians from Grindrod,” museum administrator Jackie Pearase said. “Then Kathy Zozula showed up with her book. Her story resonates with the past and present.”
Zozula wrote the book, These Two are Always Together and Together and Together, about her parents Maksym and Antonina Zozula.
She spent more than a decade writing down her parents’ stories that tell of surviving the Holodomor before journeying from Stalin’s Soviet Ukraine to Nazi Germany then on to Canada.
“I can’t help but remember the countless hours I spent with my parents, going through our old family album, asking and getting answers to all my questions about people I never knew, about things that happened before I was born,” Zozula said. “I wonder if those who were born here, who grew up here, know how fortunate they are to be surrounded by friends and family in familiar places.”
Her family story is shared in photographs and the “treasures” she collected over the years that remind her of her heritage and past.
Her nesting dolls and Ukrainian decorated dishes are joined items loaned by Faith (Hawrys) Hudson and Sandra Volpatti.
Both of Hudson’s grandparents – Fred and Katie (Chemych) March and Michael and Anna (Borys) Hawrys – came to Canada from Ukraine in the early 1900s.
Volpatti’s maternal grandparents, Maria and John Shumay, came to Enderby by train from Saskatchewan and raised 12 children in Ashton Creek.
Both Hudson and Volpatti were raised as Canadians so the stories told in Ukrainian by their grandparents were lost to them.
But all three women have similar memories around how their family names were Anglicized when they came to Canada and how their grandparents sought a better life here.
“Grandma March said, ‘Canada is a good country because all my babies lived.’ Twelve of them,” says Hudson.
The museum display brought the women together to share their common past while giving them the opportunity to share thoughts on the current conflict in Ukraine.
“I met a wonderful group of local people, some who shared a Ukrainian heritage, others who didn’t. But what we all shared was empathy for the people of Ukraine and the terrible ordeals they are going through. I know that these same people have shed tears for other refugees. Ultimately, compassion and empathy are what bind us – or the lack of divides us,” said Zozula.
The museum display includes pysansky, embroidery, clothing, dishes, photographs and more. Zozula’s book is also on display for people to peruse.
Admission to the Enderby museum is by donation.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story was updated Monday, May 9, to correct the name of the book. We apologize for the error.