The Martynec family, although not entirely representative, was part of the post-World War II wave of Ukrainian refugees and displaced persons who settled in Canada.
Volodymyr Martynec (1899-1960) was born into a Ukrainian middle class family in the city of Lviv (then also formally known as Lemberg [in German] or Lwów [in Polish]), Crownland of Galicia, Austro-Hungarian Empire (now Ukraine). He was educated in the city’s primary and secondary schools and participated in the Ukrainian armed struggle for independence (1918-20) as a member of the (Ukrainian) Sich Riflemen. After the Great War he was active in the Ukrainian student movement while studying law at Lviv’s Ukrainian Underground University (1921-23), economics at the Higher Commercial School in Prague, Czechoslovakia (1923-26), political science and journalism in Berlin, Germany (1927-29), and philosophy at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France (1934-36). In 1927, he became one of the leaders of the underground Ukrainian Military Organization (UVO) and one of the founders of the militant and radical Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN). In subsequent years, he served as a member of the OUN Leadership (Provid) and as editor of some of its most important ideological journals, including Surma (The Bugle; 1927-33), Rozbudova natsii (Building the Nation; 1928-1934) and the Parisian Ukrains’ke slovo (The Ukrainian Word; 1934-40). In 1941, Martynec and his family returned to German-occupied eastern Galicia or western Ukraine where he became one of the leaders of the OUN Melnyk faction (OUN[m]). In 1944 the Germans incarcerated Martynec at the Brätz (Brójce) Work / Re-Education (Arbeitserziehungslager) camp in western Poland. After the war, Martynec and his family spent time in the Displaced Persons’ Camps in Karlsfeld (1945-46) and Berchtesgaden (1946-48), Germany. In January 1949, the family left Germany and settled in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, where Martynec became one of the editors of the weekly Novyi shliakh (New Pathway; 1949-60), the official organ of the Ukrainian National Federation, a Ukrainian-Canadian mass organization ideologically aligned with the OUN(m). He also served on the presidium of the Ukrainian Canadian Committee. The author of 18 books and pamphlets, in particular Ukrains’ke pidpillia: vid UVO do OUN (The Ukrainian Underground: From the UVO to the OUN; 1949), and over 4,000 periodical and newspaper articles, Martynec died in Winnipeg in 1960.
Around 1930 Martynec married Irena Turkevycz (1899-1983), the daughter of a Ukrainian Greek Catholic priest, catechist, choir conductor, and music critic. Born in the town of Brody, she grew up and was educated in Lviv and in Vienna. Her education included music lessons (voice, piano, theory) from a very early age, and featured private instruction by the composer Stanyslav Liudkevych. During the 1920s Irena studied music and acting at the Lviv Conservatory and drama school, made her debut as a concert soloist, and also performed on the stage of the Lviv Theatre of Opera and Ballet. During the early 1930s she studied voice at the Berlin University of the Arts, and in Prague, where she sang with the Prague Opera. Between 1942 and 1944, when the family resided in Lviv, she sang a number of major roles with the Lviv Theatre of Opera and Ballet. She continued to participate actively in Ukrainian opera and theatre productions in Karlsfeld, Karlsbad and Berchtesgaden, Germany, during the immediate post-war years. After emigrating to Canada in 1949, Irena Turkevycz-Martynec was particularly active with youth and children’s groups, staging and directing very successful and memorable productions of Mykola Lysenko’s children’s operetta Koza-Dereza (in the early 1950s and then again in 1964), and Zymova kralia (The Snow Queen) in 1965. In 1967, her troupe of youthful singers performed Koza-Dereza at Expo 67. She passed away in Winnipeg in 1983.
Lew Martynec (1934-2018), the only child of Volodymyr Martynec and Irena Turkevycz-Martynec, was born in Paris, France, where he spent the first seven years of his life and started his primary education. He accompanied his parents when they returned to western Ukraine in 1941 and spent his teenage years in the Displaced Person’s camps in Karlsfeld and Berchtesgaden, Germany. He completed his high school education in Winnipeg and studied engineering at the University of Manitoba (but apparently did not graduate). He worked for the City of St. Boniface and the City of Winnipeg as a department manager responsible for approving street construction plans. An avid outdoorsman, he passed away in 2018.
Stephania Luchynska-Pohorecky (“Doda”) (1923-2015), an only child and an orphan, was the niece of Irena Turkevycz-Martynec. She joined the Martynec family in Lviv around 1943 and stayed with the family as they migrated from western Ukraine to the Displaced Person’s camps in Karlsfeld and Berchtesgaden, Germany, and then on to Winnipeg. In Winnipeg she met and later married Zenon Pohorecky (the son of “Novyi shliakh/New Pathway” founder and co-editor Michael Pohorecky), an anthropologist who completed his PhD at the University of California (Berkeley) and taught for many years at the University of Saskatchewan.
The fonds also contain several photographs of Stefania Turkewicz-Lukianowicz (1898-1977), older sister of Irena Turkevycz-Martynec, a composer, pianist and musicologist, educated in Lviv and Prague, who immigrated to the United Kingdom after WWII.