Володимир Шарко

* 1931

  • In about 6 months, maybe more, before the end of the first soviet era, my father no longer lived in the house. Somebody told him that he could be arrested ... not that he would be, but that he is on the list and that we all are on the list, that he would be arrested and sent to Siberia or to the prison. Then he began to hide often. He never slept in the house, never was in the house, only occasionally met us somewhere in the neighborhood - kids and a wife, and so he was hiding somewhere with friends, somewhere in the country - but I do not know where. We did not know where he is hiding. But, actually, due to this fact he survived. And then, as the Bolsheviks came for the second time, there was no doubt of his arrest ... A lot of people left in the 1939th year, many Ukrainians moved from Lviv to Poland, to the west, or to the Slovak Republic, and later returned. But father resolved to remain with his family: so hard because of four children, and ... well I do not know why but this was his decision. So the second time he had no doubt we needed to escape from the Bolsheviks, and we moved from Lviv.

  • It was precisely on June 1. I do not know in what way, but we found ourselves in train, on freight train wagon, and drove away… We crossed the border in Chop. I remember the plate "Chop" and we drove through that place to Hungary. Then we drove through Hungary, through Budapest and arrived to Austria. Then we were detained in a refugee camp in Schtrasshoff. We were there maybe a month or two, and later we were released ... Father sought for help somewhere, he had some connections. We first lived in Vienna circle, and then in Vienna, and there I went to the third grade. It was the Ukrainian Gymnasium in Vienna, and many, in fact, many of my fellows from Lviv studied there.

  • About the 1st of September, I remember, my father heard [humming motors] and said: "Eh, airplanes are flying – I wonder what kind of aircrafts are they?" We went outside - and indeed there were airplanes (and at that time airplans above Lviv was a rarity). And we looked at them - he wanted to see, and then he said: "There are signs, there are signs on the plane!" Plane was flying low enough so that you could see something. Father said: "This is a German plane, there is a swastika!" And I look closer and said, "That's not a swastika!" "Well, this square symbol – it is the swastika!" That was a sign of the German Luftwaffe that is a cross ... Cross, but with four corners. And this sign was on the wings of the plane. It was, in fact, the Germans - we knew that they were Germans. The Germans came close to the city and stayed there. For a few days nobody knew what's going on, and we thought that Germans had come to the city, but they stayed outside of Lviv, and a few days later the Red Army came and then the soviet occupation began.

  • The Soviets came to Vienna. Relatives left sooner, I can’t remember which month, outside Vienna, and stayed there in some Austrian village, and my sister and I went further to school. And then we also went from Vienna ... we got in the difficult way on one of the last trains that were taking families away, and above all - the German army officers and others militaries. These trains were full, and we somehow got permission to get a train ticket for me and my sister ... What I remember - I popped her to the door in order to climb in, and it was too difficult to push through. But we got on the train, and there I was told – I spoke German quite well – that I got a certificate, I was told: «Diese kleine Ausländer» (“This little foreigners”).

  • September 1st was either Saturday or Sunday. I know that on Monday next week I had my school to begin again – I was going to the second grade of elementary school. Here in Lviv there was a Native school named after the Prince Leo. Those few days there wasn’t any school, nothing (I do not remember for how long), and the first thing that the Soviets did - they said: your first grade was insufficient, you’re going back to the first grade. So I went for the second time to the first class. Again we started to learn the same things, to read and to write.

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    Львів, 28.08.2012

    duration: 33:49
    media recorded in project Plast living history
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The second time my father had no doubt, that we need to escape from the Soviets

20090707083647241-4.jpg (historic)
Володимир Шарко
photo: Музей-архів пластового руху

Sharko Volodymyr was born on August 21, 1931 in Lviv, in the family of bank clerk Peter Sharko and Eugenia from Spolitakevych family. He studied in the “Ridna Shkola” school, named after the Prince Leo from 1938, and later in the Academic Gymnasium (from 1942). In 1944, with his parents and sisters, he left Galicia, and through Hungary they found themselves in Austria, where the family was interned in a refugee camp. He continued his studies in the Ukrainian Gymnasium in Vienna, but had to go away because of the Soviet offensive. After the war he studied at Karlsfeld and Berchtesgaden, and graduated in 1949. In March 1950 he emigrated with his parents to New York.He graduated from Ohio Northern University (1954) as civil engineer, specialist in designing and building bridges.For 39 years Volodymyr Sharko was working in a large architectural and engineering firm in New York (HNTB Architects Engineers Planners) as a designer and project manager of a large scale. He lived and worked in New York, Rio de Janeiro, Philadelphia, Washington, Jacksonville, Charleston. In Jacksonville, he was responsible for the project and building of the record bridge over the St.Johns River.Author of many technical posts in area of bridge building technology. Volodymyr entered Plast in Lviv during the German occupation (the organization at that time was formally known as “Ukrainian Youth Educational Community”). In Bavaria he belonged to a youth group “Owls” (from 1945 Karlsfeld, then Berchtesgaden), then he joined to the hut of “Vataha burlakiv” (from 1949). Member of the Carpathian Ski Club = CLC (from 1942). Active athlete, competed in swimming, tennis, ski and boating. In 1954 he became one of the principal members of CLC recovery in America and has been its member until now.In I979 he married Marilyn Svann. Now he is living in Jacksonville in Florida. He traveled a lot around the world, visited four continents, from 1987 he periodically visits Ukraine.