Пам’яті проф. Едварда Жарського, присвячується “Галичина перед Першою світовою війною (1900-1914): з архівів віденської поліції” проф. Тараса Гунчака (Ратґерський Університет)

April 3, 2004

проф. Тарас Гунчак

Професор Тарас Гунчак прочитав доповідь про висліди наукового дослідження архівних матеріялів віденської поліції. Цю доповідь професор Гунчак присвятив пам’яті свого вчителя проф. Едварда Жарського.

Копії архівних документів

By Dr. Orest Popovych

NEW YORK – Few people come here voluntarily, quipped an officer at the police station in Vienna where Dr. Taras Hunczak showed up to research the archives on Halychyna in the years 1900-1914. Much of Western Ukraine was ruled by Austria-Hungary during that time period, so that the police archives in Vienna represent a treasure trove of relevant information, which Dr. Hunczak proceeded to investigate. On April 3, Dr. Hunczak related his findings to an audience at the Shevchenko Scientific Society (NTSh) headquarters here, dedicating his talk to the memory of Dr. Edward Zarsky, his favorite teacher at the secondary school in the Landshut D.P. camp in Germany, and later, one of the leaders of Ukrainian sports in the U.S.

As director of the NTSh History and Philosophy Section, Dr. Hunczak, a professor of history and political science at Rutgers University, needed no introduction. It remained for Prof. Vasyl Makhno, who chaired the program, to point out that also the topic of the presentation should be close to the hearts of the audience, as the majority of those present traced their roots to Halychyna.

The Austro-Hungarian Empire was not so benign and tolerant towards the Ukrainians in Halychyna as is often alleged, began Dr. Hunczak. From the middle of the 19th century to the outbreak of World War I in 1914, Ukrainians in the Austro-Hungarian territories were perpetually engaged in a struggle for social justice, equal voting rights, access to higher education, political autonomy and their own national identity.

The Ukrainian (then called Ruthenian) community was politically radicalized especially after 1867, when Vienna pretty much relegated the administration of the Halychyna province to the Polish aristocracy, which resulted in policies of extreme discrimination against the majority Ukrainian population, said Dr. Hunczak. The reaction of the Ukrainian intelligentsia was two-pronged. The Ukrainophile populists, who believed that the “Rusyns” (Ruthenians) were part of the Ukrainian nation, channeled the popular energy into the establishment of such youth organizations as “Sich” and “Sokil”, the educational society “Prosvita”, the Shevchenko Scientific Society, as well as political parties – the National Democratic Party, the Ukrainian Radical Party and the Social Democratic Party. Opposed to the Ukrainophiles were the Russophiles (Moscophiles), who identified with Russia and received considerable moral support as well as funding from the tsarist regime. In the second half of the 19th century, the Russophiles were a dominant force among the Ukrainians in Halychyna. On political matters, the Russophiles would join forces with the Poles in order to combat Ukrainian causes. One example were the agrarian strikes of 1902, which were supported by the entire Ukrainian community, except for the Russophiles.

Underlying the political confrontations in Halychyna, said Dr. Hunczak, was the election law, which was the antithesis of the one-man-one-vote rule. The voters were grouped into categories called curiae, which were based on social class. The five curiae comprised 1) large landowners; 2) city dwellers; 3) chambers of commerce; 4) rural communities and 5) everyone else (there were times when categories 4 and 5 would be combined). Each of these categories of voters was entitled to a very different proportion of the representation in the provincial parliament in Lviv, called the Galician diet, with outrageous preferences given to the first three curiae. For example, in one year 5,480 landlords were able to elect 85 representatives, at a time when more than 5 million of the general population could elect only 72. Since ethnic Poles predominated among the large landowners, city dwellers and commercial voters, the Ukrainian majority, which was mostly rural, was effectively disenfranchised.

By the years 1905-06, the demands for universal suffrage based on complete equality generated mass meetings and demonstrations, attended by farmers, politicians and priests, the latter often assuming leadership positions. The Viennese police reports, which Dr. Hunczak has studied, noted with alarm that the speakers at those mass rallies called for action not only against the major Polish landlords, but against the Polish nation in general. The administration in Halychyna, which was in Polish hands, continued Dr. Hunczak, tried to stem the drive towards election reform by forbidding such meetings, sometimes canceling hundreds of them at a time, and by resorting to police violence. The administrative abuse reached its peak in 1907 when in one village the police killed three men and one woman, while wounding nine. Eventually, universal (male) suffrage was achieved in the Austro-Hungarian Empire in 1907.

Equally futile were the efforts by the Polish administration in Halychyna to stop the activity of the Ukrainian youth organizations “Sitch” and “Sokil”, which instead grew into a significant political force by uniting much of the rural youth. In 1914, these two societies staged a public manifestation in Lviv in honor of the 100th anniversary of Ukraine’s bard Taras Shevchenko. A police repor
t dated June 29, 1914 stated that 14,000 members of these societies, “almost exclusively villagers”, marched in Lviv in that manifestation.

Another area of perpetual confrontation was the University of Lviv, where Ukrainians demanded instruction in their own language and at the least, fair treatment by the administration as well as equal access to classes, which was often denied to them by the majority Polish students. For years, fights between Ukrainian and Polish students at the University occurred almost on a daily basis. In 1907, there was an incident where, after Ukrainian students were beaten up by Polish students, the police arrested a large number of Ukrainian men. These arrests led to a number of protest meetings in which all major personalities of the Ukrainian elite took part. The speakers not only defended the rights of the students, but also demanded the establishment of a Ukrainian University.

The escalation at the Lviv University reached its peak when on July 1, 1910, Polish students killed a Ukrainian studentAdam Kotsko by shooting him in the head. True to form, the Lviv police arrested 127 Ukrainians in response. A very tense situation arose in Halychyna, according to the Viennese archives studied by Dr. Hunczak. Metropolitan Andrew Sheptytsky closed the Theological Seminary, sending its students home; the Ukrainian National Committee called for a 14-day period of mourning; the Stryi newspaper “Pidhirska Rada” printed a “special edition”, dedicated to Adam Kotsko, which was so virulently anti-Polish that the entire edition was confiscated and destroyed, save the one copy which was preserved in the Viennese police archive. Dr. Hunczak red an excerpt from that “special edition”. On July 4, Mr. Kotsko was interred in the presence of some 6000 mourners, including 42 priests. His funeral transformed into a national manifestation, with many speeches, notably by Kost Levytsky and Mykhaylo Hrushevsky, who viewed Mr. Kotsko’s sacrifice as a step forward towards the creation of a Ukrainian University in Lviv.

As was mentioned briefly, throughout their struggle against Polish oppression, the Ukrainian patriots in Halychyna had to contend also with Ukrainian Russophiles, who opposed them at every turn, making common cause with the Poles. At times, the confrontations between these two factions, tragically, led to violence, said Dr. Hunczak. Gradually, the Russophile movement receded in the face of the more successful Ukrainophile orientation. According to Dr. Hunczak, two factors contributed to the final demise of the Russophiles. In 1911, their Party split into two fragments, one of which opposed any ties with Moscow. Once the war had started in 1914, the Hungarian troops, who entered Halychyna, reacted to the very name “Rus” by dispatching its users to the Thalerhof concentration camp. Thus, ironically, it was the Hungarian army that completed the Ukrainization process in Halychyna, concluded Dr. Hunczak.