Богдан Климчак

* 1937  

  • “Our teacher was crying when she told us the news about his [Stalin's - ed.] death. And those two-thirds of people cried also when they heard it, and only Ukrainians remained silent. They almost beat me up. But somehow I managed to avoid it. I was the youngest in our class... What did they want from me? I cannot find a valid reason. Maybe they felt my inborn anti-Soviet attitude, my openness. I was not hiding anything. I told them straight away everything I thought about them. That’s why the two-thirds of those people attacked me and almost beat me up”.

  • “I entered a technical college and moved to Magadan. Of course, prior to that I had to receive a special permission from the authorities. (Q.: “Did you have to come and check in?”) “It was mandatory. I had to come and check in monthly. Conflicts with the special authorities arose right away. Because, as I said, I am very open with everyone. I have a passionate hatred towards the occupants, towards the Russians, towards the communist system. And I told them this every time. I told this to the authorities too. As soon as I had a chance I told them that they are bandits, criminals and so on. And that was it. They let me graduate from the technical college and the next day after my graduation I was arrested. I had people who were witnessing against me. Special authorities were not witnessing, they probably just said over the phone that I was the brother of “an enemy of the people”. And other students of the technical college, there were approximately eight of them, they all said in Russian, ‘In the year of so and so he said this and that against the Soviet government, and so on and so forth…’ I was sentenced to five years of imprisonment for this”.

  • "In Ternopil region problems with the Soviets if one did not want to join a kolkhoz [a collective farm-ed.] arose right away. Out family refused to join kolkhoz until 1949, even though soldiers came and beat my mom with a butt. I remember that once they took our cow to a kolkhoz by force, demanding that we join that kolkhoz as well. My mon did not do it anyway. And then, after my brother was arrested, they formulated it as not just a refusal to join a kolkhoz, but also they characterized us as members of the family of the "enemy of people". It was all understood. It was a common formulation. So we had problems with the Soviets concerning joining the kolkhoz".

  • "I had a record-breaking number of days that I had to spend in the prison. For the first time I was imprisoned for seventy days, for the second time – for five hundred twenty days. So all together it is five hundred ninety days that I was held in punitive isolation ward. So during those twelve years I spent five hundred ninety days in punitive isolation ward, fife hundred twenty days plus fifty or seventy days. I did not have a single visit because of my hostile attitude, even though all the rest were allowed to have visits. I did not receive a single package. I was almost always deprived of the right to buy something with the limited amount of money that I had. I could not receive postal bands either. I received only a few of those during the whole period of twelve years. People from Lviv were helping me, Anna Popovych helped me and also a famous activist Dariya Husyak. She worked as a communications agent for Roman Shukhevych. She is an outstanding person. And she helped me, when the Soviets would let her.”

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    м. Львів, 18.02.2010

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    duration: 01:49:10
    media recorded in project Living History
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“They asked me about clemency - I refused. Therefore, I was the last to be released in 1990, in November, when the whole world was demanding to set me free”

Климчак.jpg (historic)
Богдан Климчак
photo: Західно-Український Центр Історичних Досліджень

Bohdan Klymchak was born on July 22nd, 1937, in the village of Sebechiv, Lviv province (now Sokal district, Lviv region). He studied at the elementary school in his native village (in the first and the second grades). On May 20th, 1946, he was deported together with his family to Ternopil region (Bohdan Klymchak’s native village as well as other villages that belonged to Zabuzkyi (now Sokal) region became the territory of Poland, while people who lived in this territory were deported in cattle-wagons and were forced to settle in a neighboring region). The family settled in the village of Hrymayliv, Husyatyn district, Ternopil region. In the autumn of 1946 Bohdan went to the second grade for the second time since he did not have any official document that would certify the fact that he went to the second grade in Sebechiv. In 1949 Bohdan together with his mom and two sisters as a family of a OUN member (older brother Myron was sentenced to 25 years of concentration camps for cooperation with the OUN) were kept for a month in a transit prison in Kopychyntsi, Ternopil region. From the transit prison the family was deported to a special settlement in Khabarovsk region (“posyolok Udarnyi”, a district named after Lazo). In 1950 with the permission of the special authorities the family moved to the station “64 km” in the same region, where the boy continued his education at a local school until the 5th grade. In 1952 they moved to the station “Durmin” (“61 km”) where Bohdan finished 7 grades. In 1953-1957 he studied at Magadan mining technical college. In 1957 Bohdan’s brother was released and his family was set free. But Bohdan did not come back home. The day after his graduation he was arrested and sentenced according to the article 58-10 of the Criminal Codex of the Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic (“anti-Soviet propaganda”) to 5 years of concentration camps. He served his sentence in Magadan region, on the Tayshetsky road in Irkutsk region, in Mordoviya. He was released on June 15th, 1962. From 1962 to 1978 he was free, but under constant surveillance of the KGB. He made an attempt to run away through the territory of Iran to the West, aiming to ask for a political asylum. He crossed Soviet-Iranian border in the region of Takyr (Turkmenistan), but after 9 days, on October 1st, 1978, as a result of an agreement between Iran and the USSR he was forced to come back to the Soviet Union. On June 18th, 1979, he was sentenced by Lviv regional court according to the article 62, part 1 of the Criminal Codex of the Ukrainian SSR and the article 62, part 1 of the Criminal Codex of the Turkmen SSR (“anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda”, “treason”) to 15 years of strict-regime camps and 5 years of exile. He served his sentence in Perm camps ВС-389/36 and 35. During 12 years of imprisonment he spent 590 days in punitive isolation ward, 10 months in a camp prison. In 1981-1984 he was sentenced to 3 years in a special prison in Chystopol (Tatarstan). In 1987 he refused to sign any kind of document that could have been a condition for his release. He was released on November 11th, 1990. After the release he lived for some time in Kyiv, Ternopil, then he settled in Lviv. He is one of the last political prisoners of the Ukrainian SSR. He was not rehabilitated. He is a writer. Now, he lives in Lviv.