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Central and East European Studies Society of Alberta collection
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Art Stelter

This item contains 10 files of audio from an interview conducted by Art Stelter with his father Dan Stelter. Topics discussed include Dan's father coming to Canada, because he had to work for 30-35 rubles a month for a farmer (Polish or Russian) on a contract. A worker could not leave unless found another person to take over his contract. His father worked in Ukraine but was born in Poland. Was 12 years old when moved to Zhytomyr area. His dad was a Prussian. His father’s parents moved from Poland to Ukraine because Russians wanted German settlers to develop their land. Many German farmers were possessors of the land, but his father’s family had their land on a lease. Ukrainian farmers being backward comparing to Germans. Living in a village but having 2-5 acreages outside. Schools in villages. Father could not write but was able to read. Lutheran churches. His father married at 16. One child died. About 1886 he emigrated to Winnipeg at age 30. Grandmother Amalia. Women worked cleaning offices. German community in Canada His mother snuck from Poland to Germany on a false passport; left from Hamburg to Liverpool on a boat, then to Quebec. Rough trip on a ship. Marriage without love, just duty. Mother could write in German. In 1918 the family came to Bruderheim. Most Bruderheimers came from Zhytomyr. Moravians and their church in Bruderheim. Shwartz was the first church minister. Family had 25-30 horses, 250 acres of land. Sold everything in the fall of 1927 and moved to Bruderheim with a big sum of cash to avoid bank charge commission. Dan’s Russian background: grandfather Martin [Stuter] lived near Lublin, Poland. Called themselves Prussians but considered themselves German. But they could have been from Austria. Dan’s grandfather was the youngest in his family. Janott’s mother was Dan’s grandmother. Married a guy named Kobus. Came to Kelowna. Athabasca [Stulters]. Ludwig and Jastina moved from Lublin to Ukraine in 1867 to get a new life. Lutheran church was responsible for finding settlements. Not all families moved to Bruderheim after WWI. 100 years exempt from military service. Clergy: [Shwanke]. Martin was never a citizen of Russia, lived on rented land of a nobleman. Problem of leaving while having an understanding. When he was 12, they moved to Volyn area, in Zhytomyr. Does not know names of villages or family stories. Martin Dan’s family: Amalia born in 1863. Historical circumstances at that time with Russian occupying lands and leading wars against Poland. Polish reaction against the Germans. Family members were hanged. Family moving to Ukraine at that time. Amalia’s mother was still living when they left for Canada. Wendy, Dan’s mother’s sister, died in Bruderheim in 1951. Russian government pension. Amalia had a brother who went to South America (Brazil). Violence against the Germans in Russia. Mother’s side of family coming to Ukraine via Poland in 1857. School teachers having connection with Volga Germans. [Greenwert]. Danny coming directly from Germany. German accents of people from different areas, distinction of High German vs. Low German. Yiddish as German dialect. His family living in Ukraine for 20 years. His mother’s background: sold most of their belongings to come to Canada. When they came it was Spring. Mom’s father bought a cheap place to live. It turned out to be haunted house. Grandmother was the only one who saw the ghost and heard the steps. [Going back and force between moving to Ukraine and to Canada in his story]. Sold the house and the land for cash to a Polish couple on their way to Canada. The ghost was a man who hung himself. Arrived in March. Grandmother’s brother was in the army and that time and did not want to go to Canada. Came in 1905. Bruderheim. Germans in Medicine Hat. Grandparents speaking languages other than German. Naturalization papers of the family.

They then discussed Dan's life. Young years of Dan. Having typhoid as a child. School years of Dan: good at math. A year in Edmonton, Medicine Hat, another year in [Newberg]. Leaning English, prohibition to speak German on school grounds. Finished grade 7 in [Newberg]. Farm work on acres. Reading in German. Identifying birds through a book he got as a gift from a Bishop. Playing sports (baseball). Reading books on Canadian folklore (stories) and German literature (religions, war stories) at home (buying them from a travelling salesmen). Publishing house of Minnesota Germans. German newspapers in Canada.
Family raising cattle of different breeds. Father retired from [Newberg], bought a house in Medicine Hat in 1970. Population there was about 20K people. School in Medicine Hat. Selling the farm. School closed up. Churches his family visited. Moravian Brothers in Poland and Russia. Minister from a Moravian church came to the family to baptize Dan. No regular religious community. Dan stay home till almost 20 y.o., then went to USA and stayed there till 23 y.o. Dan in Michigan for 7 years (construction work mostly, for car companies). Laid off during the Depression. Dan applied for American citizenship. Visiting America, difference of American way.
Farming in Bruderheim. The estate was developed by a Ukrainian who did not built anything on it and was forced to sell the land because a cancellation was reported on his land. A story of a curse that Ukrainian had, broke his leg. Inside story was that he was drinking, fell of the truck and broke his neck. Building various buildings on the land (chicken house, barn, etc). The farm was bought in 1931 for $3000 (2 mortgages of 6%). In 1944 he paid off the second mortgage. The interest was cancelled. [Herman Hendrik] helped him not to lose the farm. A loan from a federal government to pay off the first mortgage. [Abraham] made a motion against the mortgages for farmers. When he started farming in 1931 he started with nothing (no equipment or cattle), married in a year. Then bought horses for $150, another for $50 (on a credit). In 1932, oats were about 6 cents a bushel. He bought a buggy. Got Ribbon (a horse) in 1933 who turned white when was about 6 y.o. Had several cows. Bought one for $16. A bull in the neighborhood for the cows. Returning to Canada broke, to a farm. Crop prices during the Depression (30 cents a bushel). Liberal views. Dan’s first voting in 1935 in Provincial Election. Listening to [Eibrahard] on radio. Major Douglas in Ottawa, socialist. Labor Movement. [Walter Cuhl] a member of Parliament. Uncle Fred involved in politics and Social Credit idea: government giving the banks power, giving national loans. Local leaders in Bruderheim in social credits: [Bas Wirsky] who had a hardware store, UFM members from Kuts, Baker, [Bill Tomski], Toman (a school teacher). Social Credit Board. Social Credit Party progressiveness. East exploiting the West. SCP as a popular movement, its influence on government and politics. [Peter Stefora].
Surface Rental Rights Owners’ Association, 1949-1951: Alberta, farms around Bruderhaiem – the government owned all the minerals rights. Leduc, Red Water area, Calmar. Oil companies paid 1%, the government expected 12% payback. Farmers’ Union went on 5%. Oil companies buying farmers’ lands. Saskatchewan farmers’ being paid too little. Pressure on the government from the oil companies.

B. Hawrylyshyn (10th Shevchenko Lecture)

This item is a recording of a conference presentation. Shevchenko as a national poet of Ukraine. Major developments that might take place in the next few decades: long term climatic conditions, changes in climate are less predictable; the capacity for food production will be not as good but the population will be expending sharply – tremendous pressure for food, massive famines. Restructuring of political power is coming. Atomic weaponry is a threat. Expansion of education will result in diffusion of power of political decision making. Physical limits of human activity. Redistribution and optimization of natural resources. Economic shocks for the US: Japan’s economic growth, Vietnam war, Chinese experience. Product life cycle. The USA will not be able to impose their will on other nations. In Europe, new political construction will take place. There will be a power bigger than a nation-state. European countries have similar stages of development and are ready for globalization. Every nation will retain its national heritage but they will unite on a global political level. China’s influence will grow in the decades to come. It will be less dependent on other countries. Unlike the Soviet Union, China retained more equality. American model is not appropriate to countries that have no natural wealth. Japanese had high motivation and an obsession for learning technology while preserving own traditions. They have capacity for national cooperation in the face of a threat. Japanese will be performing another miracle – just watch them. They will be a model for European countries. Soviet Union has tremendous range of natural resources. Its potential productivity is very high. Marks’ proposition was true for limited resources. Communist society is supposed to be highly cooperative in the absence of material scarcity. But USSR is the last empire and it is disintegrating quite quickly. What is awaiting for the USSR? It can become a supplier for more developed countries. Atomic war is also a probability but it could happen only accidentally; possibly a conventional war with China. It does not pay to keep an empire. Now much energy is being wasted on keeping that empire alive instead of developing. Ukraine in this context is a modern nation; it has generous natural resources. It has a necessary infrastructure for an efficient country.

Band Music

This item contains two interviews with unknown females. The first interviewee was born in Russia in 1909. She talks about the place where she lived and family members that were starving and being deported to Siberia. She then talks about coming to Canada and what she and her husband did in Canada. She talks about the church and being Lutheran and Evangelic.

The second interviewee's parents came from Poland and she was raised in a Lutheran family. Her family left to Ukraine and then came to Canada in 1927 and moved to Alberta in 1928.

The tape also contains music recordings

CEESSA Annual Meeting. Board Meeting. Tape 3.

This item is a recording of the Annual General Meeting of CEESSA.
Electing the President, Vice-President, Treasurer and Secretary
Describing the functions of each position
Not holding any office for more than 2 years
Nomination for President: Mrs. Lobay – accepted the nomination
Nomination for Vice-President: Dr. Metro Galutsan – accepted the nomination
Nomination for Treasurer: Mr. Dudaravicius – accepted the nomination
Nomination for Secretary: Dr. Bela Biro – accepted the nomination, appointed by acclamation
Mr. Kostash – would rather go to the educational committee
Mr. Kuester – appointed to the publicity committee
The finance committee – Algis Dudaravicius
Nominating Chairman: Mr. Kostash
Nominating Committee: Mr. Spillios, Mr. [Yerevic], Mr. [?]
Mr. Priesley and Mr. Kostash will appoint their own respective committees
The Nominating Committee had to be appointed today in case of some emergency
May 3, 7:30 – next meeting
Meeting adjourned

Side B- a lesson in the Russian Language (exercise in translation)

Central and East European Studies Society of Alberta collection

  • Collection
  • 1974 - 1987

This collection consists of audio recordings and photographs. Recordings include news/talk shows, interviews conducted for CEESSA, and meetings and conference presentations from CEESSA. They cover diverse topics such as: problems in Central and Eastern European studies at the time and how universities and their departments function, immigration, politics, languages, daily life, life on the Canadian Prairies, life in Canada during WWII, CEESSA’s organization, goals, and projects.

Central and East European Studies Society of Alberta

Conference recording part 1b

Continuation of Presentation by Mr. Petr Czarnowsky: Eastern Europeans, despite their proportion of the population, came to form a large number, often over 50% of ethnic associations in Alberta. This includes ethnic organizations, arts organizations, and linguistic schools. Policies of multiculturalism have helped to form these figures, but have had the unforeseen consequence of adding to confusion about Eastern European ethnic groups on the part of students and teachers alike.

Presentation by Mr. Joanna Mateko on the problems already being faced in the study of Poles. She came from Poland associated with the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw for 15 years. She did work in the field of Polish history, having published numerous articles and co-author of bibliographies that were compiled by the Polish academy of sciences. She does her research on the Poles in Alberta. A problem that exists in the study of Poles is the inaccuracy of academic and official documents pertaining to Polish settlement in Canada, and the difficulty in unearthing accurate depictions and statistics of Polish settlers, and Slavic settlers more generally. This can be derived from a lack of knowledge from Canadian officials, and a lack of consciousness amongst many Slavic groups, particularly the Poles and Ukrainians.

Presentation by Mr. John Sokolowski, a graduate student in the department of Slavic Languages, his first graduate program was as a Classicist. He does work on the Russians and Belarussians. He started his work on the East Slavs, the Russians, Belarussians, and Ukrainians in Alberta. They no longer work on the Ukrainians as so much work has been published. They started their study with the Russians and Belarussians, they hope to determine an accurate number of people of Russian and Belarussian origin in Alberta. Contention on the accurate number of Russians and Belarussians in Canada, as the definition of Russian has changed over time, with many early documents associating many non-Russian ethnic groups as Russian. Dynamics have changed with census records over the years, which still continue to be unreliable. There is thought to be far more Belarussians in Canada than official census documents would suggest.

Presentation by Mrs. Dr. Yermilla Horna University of Calgary Department of Sociology. Dr. Horna was educated in Prague and Bratislava came to Canada in ’58, taking part in the project doing the history of the Czechs and the Slovaks. She got a grant for the study of patterns of adjustment of Czechoslovaks, the so called refugees of 1968-1969. The study focused on pre-1968 settlement of Czechoslovaks in Canada to figure out if incoming refugees had a previous basis to go off of, or had to ‘start from scratch’. Research found majority of Czechoslovaks came to Alberta as miners, farmers, or other labourers, mostly from Slovakia. Greatest wave of Czechoslovak migration prior to 1968 came in 1885. The recording cuts out before she can say more.

Conference recording part 2a

Unknown speaker: Speaking about the contentions in someone’s paper about the status of Jews in the GDR. States that even in extremely religiously repressed countries, religious leaders will proclaim how great the religious freedom they feel is. The GDR, being like the Soviet Union, is not unique in this when it comes to their Jewish community. The GDR is anxious to keep up a good image, and the Jewish Community, being small, is very easy to finance. In West Germany compensation for victims of the Nazis was given, while in East Germany no such thing was offered. Thus the number of Jews in East Germany is not representative of the Jews who originated in East Germany that survived the Second World War. Speaker questions why, after the description of Pensions in East Germany, that Canadian and American Jews aren’t busting down the door of East Germany to live in “Honecker’s Paradise”. The recording cuts out.

Unknown speaker: Many of the Jews they’ve talked to report being economically and socially happier in East Germany as opposed to places like Riga or Warsaw. This applies particularly to Polish Jews. Jews would apply to the East German Ministry of the Interior and through their own nations to request to leave. Being in the same bloc this was not difficult. There are only about 800 registered members of the Jewish community in East Germany, but this number is more realistically over one thousand as non-registered members of Jewish descent. [There is an interruption in the tape.] Jewish citizens of the GDR feel fully committed and loyal as citizens of their state. Immigrants coming into a society are changed by that society.

Meeting that relates to University relations as it affects Eastern Europe. A speech about the importance on the stance of the University for talking about these topics which relate to a large portion of Northern Alberta’s population.

A change in the panel composition: the addition of Dr. Sukhoversky, who is well versed with the University Library, which has many volumes relating in foreign languages and in English, about Central and Eastern Europe. The deletion is Mr. Afigannus, who was to be here as an observer not a panelist.

Presentation by Mr. Kostash: Talks about the function of universities. Talks about how East European and Soviet Studies at the university follows the same functions. Mentions that one who takes particular focus on the East European courses offered by the University can find themselves being skilled and knowledgeable scholars. Initiatives by professors at the university to make sure students in the field go out to the ethnic communities to get a feel for how they are. Talks about the importance of community approval and funding for new programs. Stresses transparency of activities in programs as it relates to the community.

Presentation by Mr. Duruviches, a member of the Lithuanian community, and President of the Baltic Society: Discusses the contention with the label ‘Soviet’, coming from Lithuania, and the history Lithuania has with the Soviet Union. The importance of having a place such as a University to study one’s heritage. Expects from the University that it is kept in mind that although their issues are similar at the moment, that Baltic peoples are not Slavic peoples.

Presentation by Dr. Bergin from the Faculty of Education: has a strong interest in Mennonite culture. Difficulties because of mixed loyalties on representing different groups; particularly the Mennonites, who aren’t easily identified by typical visages. [The tape cuts out]

Conference recording part 2b

Tape opens with some joking about Jews and Germans in Canada. A question is asked about where to find guidance about the Eastern European Germans living in Canada. The speaker [presumably Dr. Bergin from the previous tape] responds that it’s easier to find guidance for East Germans than it is for West Germans post WWII. Questioner responds that there’s plenty of information about German immigrants to other parts of the world, but not Alberta. Speaker responds that they must make like a detective and find things.

A questioner asks about the social cohesion of German Canadians. Speaker discusses that there are many issues that exist, particularly the disconnect between the scholarly world and the communities (jokes about the ‘civilized’ manner of scholars and how it doesn’t mesh well for example if the scholar cannot stand Beer Halls). Discusses the difficulties brought about by a national guilt complex following the two World Wars, making it difficult for academically trained Germans to go out into the communities.
A new speaker points out the lack of courses that seem to deal with Hungary in the Division of Eastern European and Soviet Studies Courses. [The tape cuts off to a new speaker]

Mention about the United States stance on Taiwan. Discussion about joint Soviet-American action on China. Mention of the high possibility that world conquest still on the minds of the Soviet Union. Debate as to whether or not the Soviet Union still adheres to the idea of World Revolution and Global Communism. Discussion about the difference between European Communist and Soviet Communist models. Debate as to whether the rise of European Communist Parties in European governments would increase the power of the Soviet Union or not. Discuss whether or not the Soviets would strongarm their way to influence Yugoslavia. More discussion about whether or not Yugoslavia may enter the Soviet sphere. It is mentioned that the Soviet Imperialist approach is far more realistic than the other Imperialist approaches of other powers. The Western powers lack the will of resistance to oppose every act of Soviet opposition in the world. Example of China as a failure of the United States to oppose the spread of Communist influence due to a lack of will. Discussion of the ideological differences between Euro Communism and how the Soviets wouldn’t approve of an undermining of their control. Question of Soviet involvement in Quebec separatism, responding with the notion that the Soviet Union supports multinational states ‘sticking together’. Example of PQ support for Ukraine independence annoying Soviet officials.
Importance of protesting Russian violations of the Helsinki pact.

Presentation by Dr. Sukoversky: the definition of a collection, and that professors start collections. Students can start collections too. Ethnic groups can start collections.

Conference recording part 3a

Continuation of presentation by Dr. Sukoversky: Continues talking about how collections are made. Story about how a collection that had been abandoned was resurrected. Talks about the Sorbian people living in South East Germany, and how a collection was made about the Sorbs. University of Alberta has the strongest collection of materials on Sorbs and Vends. Collections must go back as far as possible. Collections can morph from one topic into another: Russian to Ukrainian, Ukrainian to Polish, Polish to Czech, Czech to Yugoslavia. Talks about the weak Slovak and Hungarian collection. To non-Slavs, Hungarian is expected. Importance of objective study of the Soviets, teachers and students can get an objective lens on the Soviet Union.

New speaker: The community has supported many cultural programs.

Presentation by the Chairman of Edmonton Historical Board: Begs the division to do things for the community: research into the history of ethnic groups needed. Role of ethnic groups missing from history books. Record of ethnic peoples needed. Record must include when people came to Edmonton and district, who were they, what did they do? Those who came to the urban areas, what did they do? An accurate, non-biased, non-prejudiced record needed. Coordination of research needed. Books are needed that are easy to sell and easy to buy. The third need is for funding to publish existing nearly finished works on ethnic groups.

Mr. Kostash: Funds are public funds for publishing, justification must be given as to why financial support should be given to many works. What liaison exists in terms of public funds and works that wish to be published?

Dr. Sukoversky: The University Library exists for a variety of purposes. To expand the library, tax payers would need to pay more. The public library exists to serve many purposes for the public. Every ethnic group can have newspapers, periodicals in books, and other literature in the public library, it has to be requested.

[The recording cuts out during a story about buying Ukrainian books for the public library].

Conference recording part 3b

Continuation of presentation by Dr. Sukoversky: Continues story about community engagement with the public library. On the question of liaison groups: it’s up to the ethnic groups, they have their own organizations and should get in touch, it’s not the university’s job.

Mr. Kostash: The usefulness of the University Senate come in two areas: monitoring the academic things going on in the university and ensuring there’s no favoritism in programs. Private organizations have a responsibility to ensure that funds are being allocated intelligently and efficiently. Some things don’t require the demanding funds when they can be done at better times or in better ways.

Unknown speaker: Publications should be released with the contacts of liaisons that can be contacted between ethnic communities and publications.

Unknown speaker: The community should help the division to find ways to release the kinds of publications that the community desires.

Presentation by Mr. Kistner: Wasn’t prepared to present but is talking from the perspective of a foot soldier. He is Baltic German born in Tallinn Estonia. Talks about how maps often forget about the islands of Estonia. Baltic Germans is a very small group. It’s worthwhile for even very small groups to write their history and preserve their heritage. In doing work there’s lots of assistance needed, time, and footwork. Being a small group has its advantages, no need for sampling.

Open Session
Professor Rolland: University officials are just paid assistance, to help the community to spread unbiased facts about people from Eastern Europe. Funding, publishing, liaison, money, structure. What good is a building without anyone in it? Being asked many tasks, but we ask you where are the people we are supposed to be teaching? Where is the interest in the young people? A severe lack of numbers in the classroom.

Unknown speaker: Many high school trips go to the UK and France, but none go to Eastern Europe, there’s no interest in a country if they’ve never been to it.

Unknown speaker: Primary teachers don’t get enough information about Eastern Europe, very early interest cannot be built. There’s a marvelous library and studies that are unknown to the public, and inaccessible. If a pride cannot be instilled in Canadian Pluralism, then numbers will remain low, and ignorance will prevail.

This is a mutual affair, if the division is to serve the community, it must go above the head of the faculty of extension, the faculty of extension doesn’t cover all they community’s needs.

Unknown Speaker: A course was offered, in which every means at the university’s disposal was used, still only had 12 enrolled. Not enough to satisfy the university. UKR 320, only 1 student enrolled.

Mike Torman: One reason for low enrollment: very utilitarian society, if a course doesn’t offer something ‘useful’ it won’t be taken. Languages are very disciplined subjects, it takes a highly disciplined student to learn them.

Unknown speaker: Motivation is extremely important, advertising isn’t enough. The travel course it a really good thing. The generosity of the community, the province, made starting new programs easier, even when the province was much poorer. The community must do its share to promote the material basis of the division. If the division is to prosper, this is what we need. The end product is service to the community. [The recording cuts out]

Conference recording part 4

Continuation of the speech made in tape c263-b: The community is served by the university in the same way as elementary schools but on a different level.

Mr. Birov: A foundation for Hungarian history would cost half a million. The government promised that if the foundation reached half of that ($250,000) the government would match the rest. Due to such a small Hungarian group, they had trouble reaching that. Is there anywhere else that could be approached to acquire the other quarter million? What do ethnic groups have to go through to get cooperation?
[The person with the recording equipment had to leave]

Conference recording part 5

Opening speaker: Several objectives: 1. Have academics and community interact. 2. To have interaction among ethnocultural groups. 3. To reduce intergroup tensions. 4. To see what educational resources there are to accomplish the first 3 goals. What is the ambitious goal? To ensure we and our children know about each other. To remember that Canada itself is part of the global village.

Dr. Lock: Recites a poem.

Presentation by Dr. Yamila Horna, Chair of the Department for Soviet and East European Studies: This is a great opportunity to share one’s heritage the one brings to this country. This is one of the few opportunities where people from academia can share contributions to the community.

Dr. Golitsyn: Some anecdotes about his family. Always gets asked where he’s from, for some reason someone interested in Eastern European studies must be from Europe. Has Canadian roots though. Feels as a North American Canadian and an European Canadian too. The government will at some point have to look at our roots, our heritage. The British and French like to call themselves the founders, but the Celts a while ago had a conference, and they also had a large role. Even the French component if very Celtic. What about the other Europeans? That which divides us is far less than that which binds us together. Have been asked to look at the roots of this organization and its destiny. The destiny is great, it brings people together in the area of learning. Our schools DO teach us about us. Our schools MUST teach us about us. The interest of the academics is bringing people together to make these kinds of things happen. There are many people who are not necessarily Slavic or Eastern European that will be interested in Slavic and Eastern European studies. By this time next year there will be a patent as a society, and some legal status, and that we will be electing a national and regional board. Those from each province will be asked to meet together as one group and recommend who will be their two representatives to the national board, who will serve in the interim as provincial chairman.

Some closing remarks about a cathedral made of rocks.

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