Josip Dmytrovič Melnyk

* 1930

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You will create the Ukrainian state or you will die fighting for it

Josip Dmytrovič Melnyk, a portrait
Josip Dmytrovič Melnyk, a portrait
photo: Arhiv Josipa Dmytroviče Melnyka

Josip Dmytrovič Melnyk was born on March 13th 1930 in the village of Vovkovytsja in Brodsky Disctrict in the Lvov Oblast in the then interwar Poland. As a student he founded Moloď Ukrainy (The Youth of Ukraine) with his schoolmates, an organisation which advocated Ukrainian autonomy and independence. Later, Josip Dmytrovič was admitted into the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists – ‘junactvo’ – and he was active among Ukrainian insurgents in the Brodsky District. In 1951, he was arrested and sentenced to 25 years in Soviet forced labour camps (also known as GULAG) and to loss of civil right for five years. He was transferred to the Kirov Oblast where he cut down trees and prepared timber. He was released in 1955 – after four years and seven months – and went to Lvov but couldn’t find a job as he wasn’t registered as a local citizen. He tried to settle down in Kremenec without luck and in the end he was registered in Smyha where he was working in a local factory as a machinist. Nowadays, he has been living in the town of Smyha in Rovno Oblast in the West Ukraine.