Ukrainian Canadian's memoirs recall suffering under Soviets and Nazis

WINNIPEG - Ukrainian Canadian Peter Trimpolis, 91, has been featured in several newspapers in recent years, after publishing a book of memoirs titled "My Rocky Road of Life." Mr. Trimpolis and his book have been the subject of articles in the Lance, a Winnipeg community newspaper; the Winnipeg Free Press and the Winnipeg Free Press Community Review; and Ukrainian Voice.

By writing his memoirs, Mr. Trimpolis has shared with the world the story of the persecution he endured at the hands of the Soviets and Nazis in Ukraine until he moved to Canada in 1947.

According to the Winnipeg Free Press, Mr. Trimpolis says he wrote his memoirs partly for his family and partly so that the suffering of Ukrainians in the 20th century might not be forgotten. In an interview with the Winnipeg Free Press, Mr. Trimpolis said, "How many people died out there and were thrown into the bush? That's why I wrote this book." He hopes that his account of trying times will help people put their own troubles into perspective.

Mr. Trimpolis and his family lived in the village of Nyzhnia Pokrovka until the Soviet authorities labelled them "kulaks" - wealthy farmers who posed a danger to Soviet collectivism. Mr. Trimpolis and his family were among the 3 million Ukrainians who were exiled from their homes in that year, and Mr. Trimpolis was sent to a labor camp.

Mr. Trimpolis eventually escaped and began working in order to survive and help his family financially. He needed to change his name six times in ten years to avoid capture. In 1941, he was forced to fight in the Soviet army against the invading Germans.

In 1947 Mr. Trimpolis emigrated to Canada to avoid arrest in the Soviet Union. There, he worked cutting trees before moving into the construction business and working as an electrician. He compiled his memoirs in his free time over the span of a decade.

The original version of Mr. Trimpolis' memoirs was published in 1998 in Ukrainian. With the help of Yuri Yevdokimov and Mr. Trimpolis' daughter, Lilly Burky, the memoirs were translated into English, and this version was published in 2000.

For information on purchasing the book, readers may contact Ms. Burky at or Mr. Trimpolis at (206) 269-1614.

Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, August 3, 2003, No. 31, Vol. LXXI

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