Academic journal article Canadian Slavonic Papers

Inveterate Voyager: J.B. Rudnyckyj on Ukrainian Culture, Books, and Libraries in the West during the "Long Cold War"

Academic journal article Canadian Slavonic Papers

Inveterate Voyager: J.B. Rudnyckyj on Ukrainian Culture, Books, and Libraries in the West during the "Long Cold War"

Article excerpt

Jaroslav B. Rudnyckyj (1910-1995) was a leading Ukrainian émigré scholar during the period of the long Cold War, which began with the defeat of Nazi Germany in 1945 and ended in 1991 with the collapse of me Soviet Union. A philologist and linguist by training, he made significant contributions to Ukrainian scholarship in many areas including Ukrainian dialectology, lexicography, etymology, onomastics, folklore studies, and library science and bibliography. Although he is mainly known in scholarship for his important but unfinished two-volume Etymological Dictionary of the Ukrainian Language, his Ukrainian-German dictionary, and his extensive study of the term and name "Ukraine,"1 he also penned several travel books, as well as surveys of Ukrainian libraries and library collections that deserve attention. The works on his academic travels and on bibliography and library science are the subjects of the present paper.2

J.B.Rudnyckyj was in many ways a typical Ukrainian émigré scholar of the so-called DP (Displaced Persons) emigration that fled to the West before the advance of the Soviet Army during the final phase of the Second World War. He was born and spent his early childhood in the town of Przemysl (Peremyshl in Ukrainian) in Habsburg Galicia and received his university education in Slavistics at the University of Lwów (Lviv in Ukrainian) in what was then an Eastern, largely Ukrainian inhabited, province of inter-war Poland. His doctoral thesis supervisor was the Polish scholar, Witold Taszycki, a specialist in the study of Slavic names ("onomastics"), and Rudnyckyj inherited this interest from his supervisor whom he greatly admired. After receiving his doctorate in Lviv in 1937, with the blessing of his Polish supervisor, Rudnyckyj went to Berlin to work on an ambitious Ukrainian-German dictionary at the Ukrainian Scientific Institute in that city. (The conservative Ukrainian "Hetmán" had established the Ukrainian Scientific Institute in Berlin, but Rudnyckyj 's association with it was purely academic.) At the outbreak of war in 1939, Rudnyckyj (still a Polish citizen) was briefly arrested by the Gestapo, but managed to be released and in 1940 completed his "Habilitation" (which was required for university teaching) at the Ukrainian Free University in Prague (Ukrains'kyi vil'nyi universytet u Prozi). He remained in Prague for the rest of the war, married Maryna Antonovych, a girl from a very distinguished Ukrainian émigré family, and was resident there when his big UkrainianGerman dictionary was published. At war's end in 1945, with the Soviet Army approaching the city, he moved to the American zone of occupation in Western Germany. In Germany, Rudnyckyj taught Slavistics, including Church Slavonic, at various institutions including the Ukrainian Free University, which had been transferred to Munich, and at the University of Heidelberg. At this time, rumours of a new war between the West and me Soviet Union were ripe and Rudnyckyj, like most of the Eastern European Displaced Persons living in Germany, very much wanted to move further west. About mis same time, Canadian immigration policy became more open. In 1949, having been offered temporary work by the Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre in Winnipeg (Oseredok ukrains'koi kul'tury i osvity) which had been established a few years previously by the Ukrainian National Federation of Canada (UNF), he emigrated to the North American Dominion and settled in Winnipeg. (The Ukrainian Canadian school teacher and UNF activist, Oleksander Gregorovich, had been instrumental in mis.) Later mat same year, Rudnyckyj founded the Department of Slavic Studies at the University of Manitoba.

In Canada, Rudnyckyj settled down quickly and soon became one of Winnipeg's most prominent Ukrainians. At this time, Rudnyckyj was very active in me émigré Ukrainian Free Academy of Sciences in Canada (Ukrains'ka vil'na akademiia nauk ? Kanadi or UVAN for short), which he had helped to transfer to Canada from Munich and was headquartered in Winnipeg. …

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