Тарас Броневич Taras Bronevych

* 1946

  • “There was a time when it was not even possible to collect ears of corn on a collective farm field. And since they lived near the road, then (there were no cars yet), they were transported in carts. Snow fell. …whether it was wheat or rye - I don't know, I don't know that. So the deceased was driven around the fields all day like a thief. And then - here we have a street, it was called Kirova St., it is now called Lesya Ukrainka Avenue. There was a prison there. And she was in prison there for 10 days. Since we no longer had it, but we knew that mother... the elder sister milked that poor goat. I remember, or it has already stuck in my head, that there was a glass bottle, then there were no plastic bottles. And that bottle of milk was plugged with that cob [of corn]. The neighbor had a little stock there, so she gave us some bread and we went to my mother's prison here. And she [Taras Bronevych’s mother] was in prison. Yes, she was in prison for 10 days. But obviously - let's even praise them - some decent person was there and they let her go with him. But when I was already older, I wanted to paint this picture, how it looked like when they were leaving the prison. And I was drawing it and understood that it would look a little strange, so I will tell you how I drew this picture for myself. That it was not a person walking, but as if it were an animal with its children. Some, well, I won't say a rude word... Naked, barefoot, hungry..."

  • “Many underground shelters have been restored, many have been built almost anew (it’s just they said that it was here), new ones have been built. And it inspires. How are these guys at 20, 21, 22 years old, how they were living there all winter...just imagine. This is an actual dug pit, which has an entrance, it would have been good to somehow disguise it, which has some simplest ventilation. They had to sleep and eat there. Well, and do all that what people have to do... A human is a human. And they had to sit there. It was possible to get out of this shelter when it was snowing (or there was no snow) - because when it was snowing, our “red epaulets” followed the tracks. And they threw a grenade there or something... There were many people who, it seems to me that it is the human factor. There is a person with a firm character, and there is such a person who is beaten and he... seems to break. Maybe it's a human factor, and at some point in time I thought to myself, well, what are you going to do, if he is like that. But I think to myself that you are already in some such group and you know that not only you will suffer, but that the group or the members of your group will suffer. So, here you have to set yourself up for firmness. Either you answer alone, or everyone. And if it’s everyone, it's not good."

  • “My mother had a brother who was in the UPA and during some period [in 1947] – there was such a disease, what was it called, typhoid - the boys from the hiding places were sent home, because no one knew what to treat, how to treat and apparently there was no food. He did not go home to his parents, but went to my mother.... Because he was not so well-known in that village. And he actually didn’t want his parents to have some unpleasant situations. <…> Well, it so happened that ... what was it like, when they were making raids, those “red epaulets”...They made a raid and someone said that it was a raid. There was no need, maybe, to run away, he needed to give up. But he did not give up, again for the reason that he did not want to put his sister in an unpleasant situation. And so he was actually cut in half with volley of automatic gunfire. They threw him onto the cart and took him to this small village. The village is small, it is 150 yards, and they gathered the whole village and wanted to know who was related to him, who was his family, let's put it that way. In fact, no one in the village confessed, but my late mother told me that it was a country road, he was brought on these - there were no rubber wheels then, but on such wooden wheels, he was brought to the village, gathered everybody in the village, and my late mother was standing about five meters from the cart, or maybe six. And she was looking at it, blood was dripping into this dust, because this was a country road. By the way, a person has five liters of blood. It's a lot. Well, maybe not all of it leaks, but some part was leaking and she was looking at it all the time. She didn't speak at all for two weeks after that. Well, as long as she was still young, probably the body overcame it and somehow she... But this day, I think that it remained with her for the rest of her life...” <…>

  • “It was a violent paradise. Collective farm paradise, that's how I’ll name it...In inverted commas “collective farm paradise”. First of all, it was necessary, the household had already been taken to the collective farm. There were: cattle, some equipment, buildings, they took some of it, they left some of it, and so on, and so on. At that time, the household had only one goat and two chickens... It was needed to go to work. For a long time the deceased had some troubles, because she did not want to give the land away. And those who did not give the land, they then, that government forcibly imposed such taxes that it was already impossible to pay them. So it didn’t matter whether you wanted or not, you had to join a collective farm... Because the collective farm was organized. It was years. This collective farm was not organized in a year. Some people joined, others didn’t - they tried in some way to avoid it. Then it got to the point where it was forced. There was no other way, because it was necessary to live somehow. They left only the garden, the land that people had. Each village is specific. There were wealthier ones, there were middle-class ones, and there were those who didn't have anything, had only one vegetable garden. Well, it's always somehow the case that those who didn't want to work - didn't have enough to live on, and the situation is the same today.”

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    Kolomyia, 22.10.2022

    duration: 02:42:13
    media recorded in project Voices of Ukraine
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“I have been afraid all my life. I was, I am, and I probably will be, because I was born in such years...”

Taras Bronevych at work, Kolomyia, 2022.
Taras Bronevych at work, Kolomyia, 2022.
photo: Post Bellum Ukraine

Taras Dmytrovych Bronevych was born on August 8, 1946 in the village Fatovets of Kolomyia district. His father, Dmytro Vasyliovych, was convicted and sent to Siberia for helping the UPA when the boy was 1 year old. The Soviet terror left its mark on Taras Dmytrovych’s childhood and future life, imprinted in the form of anxiety and intolerance of any violence. From an early age, he loved nature, and especially the forest. As a young man, he participated in the restoration of forest plantations, and dreamed of connecting his life with such work. He received his general education at the Turka eight-year school (1954-1962) and Pyadyky secondary school (1962-1965). In 1969-1971 he studied at the Kolomyia technical school of mechanical wood processing, received a diploma of technician-technologist. In 1972, he entered the Lviv Forestry Institute, which he graduated by correspondence in 1977 with the qualification of a forestry engineer. He began his work in the forest in 1965 as a wood-marker of the lower warehouse of the Vorokhta woodworking plant, a worker at a lumber mill. He moved from one company to another, looking for a job to his liking. After graduating from the vocational school in 1971, he got a job as a carpenter in the furniture shop of the Kolomyia Forestry Plant. In December 1971 he joined the Shepariv Forestry as a lumberjack. In 1972-1973, he worked as a hunter in the same forestry. Since May 1977, he has been an engineer of the Kolomyia inter-collective forest farm. Over time, he headed the forestry division of the inter-collective forestry farm (with the rights of a forester). With his participation, hundreds of hectares of young forests were created, maintenance felling and sanitary felling were carried out. Got married in 1969. Wife – Bronevych Mariia Ivanivna. Took an active part in the Revolution of Dignity on the Maidan in 2013-2014. Since 2013, he has headed the Kolomyia city-district organization of the All-Ukrainian Society of Political Prisoners and Repressed. He is the head of the church choir of St. Michael’s Church in the city of Kolomyia, where he lives now, in 2022.