Oleskandr Oles (Kandyba) was a Ukrainian symbolist, dramatist, poet, and essayist, born in 1878 in the town of Bilopillya, in the Kharkiv guberniia of the Russian Empire (now located in the Sumy region of Ukraine). The Kandyba family were descendants of a well-known Cossack lineage, which meant Oles’ viewed the Bolshevik Revolution with considerable scepticism. In 1917 he had published a volume of poetry in which he had articulated his desire for the restoration of Ukrainian statehood. After the coup, Oles’ remained in exile from 1919 onward, living in Budapest, Vienna, Berlin and Prague. He published many volumes over the course of his lifetime, most of which focused on his longing for Ukraine. His son Oleh Olzhych (Kandyba), born in 1907, became a member of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists in 1929, staying loyal to the Melnyk faction (OUN-M) after the split in 1938. Olzhych returned to Ukraine in 1941 to help form the Ukrainian National Council. The later years of Oles’ life were difficult. Not only did Hitler divide Czechoslovakia, Oles’ own son Olzhych was captured by the Nazis and tortured to death in the concentration camp Sachsenhausen in June 1944. Oles’ himself died shortly after learning of his son’s death, succumbing to his battle with cirrhosis.
Praha, Prague, Czech Republic
- Kulick, Orysia Maria