Ukrainian history on exhibit at Andrew Carnegie Free Library
Sharply defined by two world wars, a period of Soviet control and a devastating man-made famine, Ukrainian history over the last century both mirrors and stands apart from other eastern European countries.
A glimpse of the fascinating era can be seen this month at the Andrew Carnegie Free Library.
Natalie Kapeluck, artistic director of Carnegie's Kyiv Ukrainian Dance Ensemble and School, was pivotal in bringing a traveling exhibit to the library from the Ukrainian Historical and Educational Center of New Jersey.
“It was sort of a juncture of two parts of my life,” said Kapeluck, who is also a national youth director for the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA. “The more I thought about it, it came together.”
The exhibit — which is on display on the library's second floor through Thanksgiving week — tells the story of the Ukrainian immigrant experience and showcases the country's culture, using old documents and photos, as well as stylized art pieces.
But perhaps the most powerful displays are those detailing the Holodomor — or, in Ukrainian, “death by hunger.”
The name refers to a period in the early 1930s in which Soviet Union policies led to an artificial famine in the Ukraine, producing millions of deaths.
“Ukrainians do consider it a genocide,” Kapeluck said. “It's estimated 3.3 million people died due to the efforts of Stalin.
“There are many, many survivors here in the United States. We're trying to preserve their stories before they leave us.”
Count Lynne Cochran, the library's event coordinator, among those who had their eyes opened to the forgotten chapter of history.
“I was a history minor, and I had never heard of it before,” she said. “It's always timely, learning something like that. The great danger to any society is having the arrogance to think we can't repeat history, so awareness helps.”
Beyond the exhibit, Ukrainian history and culture has been growing at the library lately. Kapeluck's ensemble premiered its newest show, “Generations,” on Oct. 27 at the music hall, and the building also is beginning a Ukrainian collection.
In a town with strong ties to its past, Kapeluck is proud to carry on her ancestors' history.
“Many people would be surprised just how many people have a tie to the Ukrainian heritage here in Pittsburgh,” she said. “I don't think people realize how far-reaching the bloodlines are.”
Dan Stefano is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-388-5816.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Tomlin says practice will determine LB Harrison’s role
- Steelers notebook: Archer shooting for return vs. Buccaneers
- Pirates notebook: Pirates prepare for playoff berth celebration
- Steelers’ Taylor recovering from forearm surgery
- Penguins notebook: Crosby practices for 1st time since opening of camp
- Port Authority: Drivers ‘reckless’ before buses bumped, wrecking 1
- Big apartment plan in Oakland gets Planning Commission OK
- Steelers defense must replace 3 injured starters after victory
- State Sen. Jim Ferlo: ‘I’m gay. Get over it. I love it’
- Allegheny County executive says property tax increase not planned in 2015
- Fox Chapel teen wins $25K scholarship in Google Science Fair