Yaroslav Halan

Yaroslav Halan
Остап Тарнавський, Літературний Львів, 1939-1944: спомини (Львів, 1995), с. 28-29
I remember my application procedure to the union. My biography could not be long, or interesting either, because I was only 22 and had not much to tell. There could not be many questions, either. I did not have a book, my poems must have been unknown, while my prose pieces published in the "Dilo" in its feuilleton section I signed with a different name, so rarely anyone knew about them. However, there was one notable speech that would make things clear and help decide about my membership in the Union. There was one of our members in the audience, Andriy Vasylovych Voloshchak. It was a man in his fifties. Before the First World War, he started his studies in Lviv University but graduated already in Prague. But he had a misfortune — in the war he was wounded and lost his sight. He did not stop writing but dictated his poems to his sister or his wife. This way he continued his writing activities. In the 1930s, he was member of the "Horno" (Forge) association. He enjoyed full trust among his colleagues from the "Vikna" (Windows), and from the "Novi Shlakhy" (New Ways) of Krushelnytskyi. Now, he also managed to win the trust of the new persons in charge. When Mr. Voloshchak having heard that someone from the board started asking me about my activities during the Polish occupation, and which organizations I used to belong to, he stood up and without hesitation said, with a typical convincing serenity in his voice, that "this candidate, i.e. me, would often attend our intimate meetings (here, he would definitely imply some meetings of Sovietphilists), and recited his poems there, and was very close to us with his ideas." The statement of the old partyman took me aback. I am not sure there was anyone in the room who knew me to trust the declarations of Voloshchak. In the 1930s, when the "Horno" functioned, I was in my teenage years, so, I was far from their meetings. Such partymen as Yaroslav Halan or Stepan Tudor present in the room must have realized that. However, it was a statement from a blind person who enjoyed the general trust, and no one attempted to doubt his opinion. In any case, he could always have an excuse, as the visually impaired person could have made a mistake. After the meeting of the Union of Writers I approached Andriy Vasylovych to express my gratitude for the favorale referral and ask why he did that. But he only shook his head, turning his black glasses with no eyes behind to my side, and explained quietly: "It is necessary, it is." And he shook my hand.
Остап Тарнавський, Літературний Львів, 1939-1944: спомини (Львів, 1995), с. 30-32.

There was an incredible procedure when the membership of Mykhaylo Rudnytskyi was being considered. Rudnytskyi could not have been unknown. He was a widely famous literary figure. His opinions were well respected both by his few friends, and by his foes which he had plenty. The meeting was attended by many, even though it took place not in the report room but in a spacious office of the secretary of the Lviv Organizing Committee of Writers Yaroslav Tsurkovskyi. [...] Tsurkovskyi absolutely hated Mykhaylo Rudnytskyi for some review, or even more so, for no reviews on his poems. That is why he tried to take the opportunity of Rudnytskyi application procedure to the Union to take his revenge.

He — meaning Tsurkovskyi had a powerful protector, the head of the Literary Club, academician Kyrylo Studynskyi, the most influential person among locals in the entire Galicia in those times. [...] Tsurkovskyi knew very well who to choose to protect him. Moreover, it was not without the patronage of Kyrylo Studynskyi that he was appointed secretary of the Lviv Organization of Writers. [...]

With such a support behind him, Tsurkovskyi would present various claims against Mykhaylo Rudnytskyi, such as he was undeserving of membership in the Union of Proletarian Writers. The meeting was chaired by Oleksandr Yevdokymovych Korniychuk himself who had arrived from Kyiv specifically for that matter. Another interesting and important moment was that the meeting was attended by all former Sovietphil writers who used to work with "Vikna" (Windows) and the "Novi Shlakhy" (New Ways) before, such as Halan, Tudor, Havryliuk, Kondra, and Kozlaniuk. Truly speaking, the old partymen were extremely reserved. The new authorities kept them within a careful sight because they had not had a chance yet to prove their loyalty to the political course. It was true that the new authorities favored politicaly unaffiliated people who could work for them without any reservations. [...] In the prewar times, the same as the Krushelnytski family, Yaroslav Halan's wife also went to Ukraine, presumably to continue her studies. She also faced persecutions and was liquidated. Therefore, the reserved position of the old partymen was quite justified — they were much better in understanding all of the ways of the regimes' policy than us, the spring chicken. However, during that meeting they could not stand any longer. They have had enough of Tsurkovskyi because, truth be told, the secretarial position had to belong to one of them. Thus, the most courageous of them rose, Yaroslav Halan, and cautiously said some words to defend Mykhaylo Rudnytskyi. He emphasized that despite the fact that Mykhaylo Rudnytskyi was known to openly criticize the bourgeois daily "Dilo" he had always been liberal in his attitudes and had relations with the moderate circles and had never supported a more powerful nationalist group of writers. What is more, he had an insightful approach to the writers around the "Vikna" or the "Novi Shliakhy," even though he spared no words in his critical remarks. However, it was Oleksandr Korniychuk who decided on the fate of Rudnytskyi. He stood up and took out a small book, a sort of a leaflet, out of his pocket. It turned out to be a collection of poems by Tsurkovskyi. Then, he recited one of them laying a special emphasis on the words "Ukraine is above all." Afterwards, he explained that it all reminded to him the famous slogan of the "Deutschland über alles" (from German — "Germany above all"). Dealing away with the main oponent, Korniychuk addressed Mykhaylo Rudnytskyi who would repeatedly turn white, red, blue or nervous, and said in a powerful tone: "We know you, Mykhaylo Ivanovych. And we accept you to the Union. But the Soviet authorities will never forgive you your book "Vid Myrnoho do Khvylyovoho" (From Myrnyi to Khvylovyi). In reality, it happened differently, the Soviet authorities did not merely forget but rather crossed out the book from the bibliography of Mykhaylo Rudnytskyi, and it was never mentioned again.
Остап Тарнавський, Літературний Львів, 1939-1944: спомини (Львів, 1995), с. 33-34
The writers who used to belong to leftist groups earlier stayed aside. They understand the new system better and were careful enough because the new employers were thoroughly examining them. Yaroslav Halan started working in the editorial board of the "Vilna Ukrayina," (Free Ukraine) Stepan Tudor embarked on some teaching job. Oleksandr Havryliuk, Petro Kozlaniuk, and Andriy Voloshchak tried to stay active. Volodymyr Shayan found himself at the crossroads and was not a frequent visitor to the club. Yaroslav Kondra who could not find himself in literature held some administrative position in the club.
Остап Тарнавський, Літературний Львів, 1939-1944: спомини (Львів, 1995), с. 49
Another remarkable festivity was the 50th anniversary of Pavlo Tychyna who was also awarded with the State Prize. The entire delegation of writers from Lviv were commissioned to the Tychyna anniversary celebration. The Ukrainian members in this team were the head Oleksa Desnyak and two older poets Petro Karmanskyi, who boasted that Tychyna himself allegedly confided he learned rhyming on Karmanskyi's poems, Iryna Vilde, Mykola Melnyk, a servile Teodor Kurpita, Yaroslav Tsurkovskyi and former Sovietphilists Stepan Tudor, Yaroslav Halan, Petro Kozlaniuk, and Oleksandr Havryliuk. Being selected for such celebration was considered a recognition of a writer and a reward for his work. The Polish group was better represented because it included [Julian] Przyboś, the best poet in Lviv at that time, and then A. [Adam] Ważyk, A. [Leon] Pasternak, Yu. [Jerzy] Putrament, and Ya. [Jan] Brzoza. Jewish poets were represented by S. [Israel] Aschendorf, N. [Nahum] Bomze, and Sh. [Jehoszua/Jozue] Perle.
Остап Тарнавський, Літературний Львів, 1939-1944: спомини (Львів, 1995), с. 52
There was also a striking sensation about him in the Club. At the time, the discussion was taking place of the famous play by Korniychuk "Bohdan Khmelnytskyi" staged in Lviv by a Zhytomyr theater. The play was a great success, as local Ukrainians really liked the scene when the actors were enthusiastically tearing apart Polish national flag. It was a tribute of the new regime to the local population's patriotic national feelings. Discussion of this performance was reduced to exaggerated appraisals to Korniychuk, the playwright. One of these discussion sessions was attended by Sosiura. He listened to the compliments and eventually asked to take the floor. He rose and without any introductions said: "I do not understand why the play is praised and why it had to be written. After all, the play is not so extraordinary, and the theme itself unworthy." Everyone was perplexed by this speech, while Sosiura added: "Well, why should a play about Khmelnytskyi be written now? We used to have better Hetmans." At this point, all pricked up their ears (there was over a hundred people in the room). This could be a provocation. Yaroslav Halan asked from his seat in a voice of a bootlicker: "And who do you, comrade Sosiura, think to be a better Hetman?" Then Sosiura went off and said in his typical flared tone: "What about Ivan Mazepa!" You could see how some people started quietly retreating from the hall. Our local writers were intimidated, they thought Sosiura, a Kyiv bard, could talk heretic nonsense, it was up to him, but when you listen to them — it was a different responsibility. But Sosiura was not over, he would enthusiastically speak about Mazepa as a responsible public leader, organizer of the best period of the Hetman state, about his political intelligence and merits for the development of culture and art.
Петро Панч, "Львів, Коперника, 42", Вітчизна, 1960, № 2, 172
A group of writers such as Yaroslav Halan, Petro Kozlaniuk, Stepan Tudor, and Oleksa Havryliuk who had been striving in the horrible Bereza Kartuska until the arrival of the Red Army, and had not yet come to the city, treated the liberation of Western Ukraine as a logical conclusion of the policy of the Communist Party, which fought for the reunification of the Ukrainian people. In this, they actively helped the party in word and deed. In return, they have already had experience with Polish prisons and oppression from their fellow countrymen. Now they could breathe a sigh of relief. That is why their smiles were so sincere and celebratory.