Vasyl Lesyshyn Василь Лесишин

* 1947

  • I was a stubborn person, a stubborn child. Stubborn, but, so to speak, insistent. I'm not sure how to say it in Ukrainian... Insistant probably, “настойчивый” in Russian. I know a little Russian since then. So when I was thinking of doing something, I tried to do it. And if I promised someone something, I tried to keep my word.

  • I remember we gathered in the winter, something like that. I was probably about seven years old. In winter we took sleds, skis, skates and decided to go to the taiga. I don't know who organized it, there were some older guys, I don't remember well. There were some older boys. “Let's go boys to the taiga,” to collect pine cones, etc. And so we go to the forest, and there are woods around us. We went into the woods and got lost a bit. And then we hear the roar of the plane. And the elder says, he gives the command: “Lie down, they will bomb us!” That's an interesting moment. It seems funny, but then, but it was... a childish episode showing our inner turmoil.

  • It was a village, the settlement was called Shysh, Znamyanskyi district, Ust-Shysh settlement. Znamyanskyi district, Omsk region. That village was located... It was located and still is, on the river Shysh. The river Shysh is a tributary of the Irtysh River. The Irtysh is a navigable river, it is wide, steamships float on it, then steamships (in Russian), now - steamships (in Ukrainian). And there was a woodworking plant, as far as I remember, I don't have clear memories about it because I started having clear memories when I was four, five, six, seven years. On the Shysh river people rafted the forest, the technology was as follows: up the river, our people who were taken out of the Baltics, from Ukraine, and the Crimean Tatars, and even the Russians, yes, they were cutting the taiga, those trees, and in the summer they rafted along that river to the village of Ust-Shysh. And then people, the workers, workers, they had these big... They were called “bahor” (a boat hook), I remember. Similar to the halligan tool, about 2-3 meters long. And they pulled that forest out of the river, and rafted it, and stacked it in big piles, a triangular stack. Then they, they would let the wood dry up, and then they sent it to the woodworking plant. And I remember one interesting episode. My mother was working on the rafting, that is, the girl, well, of what age... My mother was young, around 21-22 years old, and she worked on the forest rafting. And this moment was very interesting: a year later, across the Shysh river they built a suspension bridge because there was no store near the barracks, and the store was somewhere 3-4 kilometers on the other side of the river. And so they sent me for bread, I was probably six years old, probably 6. They sent me to buy some bread in the store. Well, I went with the boys to the store across the river. I remember it was autumn, it seems. We bought dark bread there. And we go back, and I look down, I see the workers, on the rafting site, they were pulling out a tree, and I shout to my mother: “Mom! I bought a loaf of bread!” Mom says, “Okay, okay, go home.” I remember this episode very well. Well, and I also remember, we were... There were many other children, we all played together. They were children of different nations, different nationalities, but the children didn't feel it, they were all like one family.

  • That's how life went on, in normal motion, in movement. Until the Second World War began... The Second World War. The war reached our villages and cities of Western and the whole of Ukraine. And before the end of the war, in [19]46-47, the fight against the establishment of the Soviet communist system began in our territories, in our villages, and in our cities. Why? Because people wanted to be free, people wanted to work and live honestly, fairly. They already knew what the Soviet system was, because they already felt it in [19] 30, in [19] 41, [19] 42 ... Rather, in [19] 39, in [19] 40, they felt the system and knew what it could lead to. And we know that after it came to these territories in [19] 39 and in [19] 40, how many of our people were murdered and killed. And people didn't forget it. Therefore, the people continued the struggle in the [19] 46, 47, 48, and even until [19] 52 in our villages. They continued the struggle that began in the 1920s after our state failed to become independent the 1920s. And that struggle has continued to this day. And so it was passed down from generation to generation, from older people to younger ones. And so the struggle was happening in the... In [19] 44, 45, 46 and so on. And here in our village, in the neighboring villages, as well as across all Western Ukraine, across Ukraine in general... there was a struggle for the establishment, for restoration of the Ukrainian state. Although it was difficult, it became a symbol and continuation of the struggle for later times, in the '60s, the '70s, and to this day. Both my grandfather and father were patriotic people, and they knew what it would lead to, and they took an active part in the struggle against the establishment of a collective farm in the village. In the struggle against the Soviet government in our village of Zavadiv. In Zavadiv, Holobutiv, Nezhukhiv. All nearby villages from the town of Stryi. Stryjshchyna (Stryi region) was patriotic in general. It was part of the Drohobych region, and it's part of the Lviv region now. There were many patriots there, including Stepan Bandera. He was not far from Stryj and studied at school No. 1 in Stryj. I'm trying to put it in a nutshell because too much talking is also bad.

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    Lviv, 30.07.2021

    duration: 59:25
    media recorded in project Lost Childhood
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Born on the second day after the raid

Vasyl Lesyshin (on the photo - the first person on the left side) with friends from Latvia, special settlement Ust-Shysh, winter of 1952 or 1953.
Vasyl Lesyshin (on the photo - the first person on the left side) with friends from Latvia, special settlement Ust-Shysh, winter of 1952 or 1953.
photo: Pamětník

Vasyl Lesyshyn was born on October 23, 1947, in Zavadiv village, Stryi district, Lviv region. The day before, his father Vasyl (born 1920) and grandmother Kateryna (born 1901) were arrested. In 1946, his grandfather Mykola Lesyshyn was arrested. At the age of eight months, on May 22, 1948, he and his mother were arrested and sent through the prison to a special settlement in Ust-Shysh, Znamenskyi District, Omsk Oblast, where his father and grandmother were already staying. There, in 1955, he went to school. A year earlier, his grandfather was released from a camp in Karaganda, and he joined his family in Ust-Shysh. The grandfather told his grandson about the Kengir uprising, the reasons for deportation and imprisonment. On August 25, 1956, the family was released from a special settlement, and in September they returned to Zavadiv, where Vasyl was able to continue his studies. After graduating from eighth grade, he continued his studies in Stryi, where he began playing volleyball. In 1965 the team became the regional champion. Later there was an army and studying at the evening faculty of the Drohobych branch of the Lviv Order of Lenin Polytechnic Institute.