The only way to preserve family history as it relates to the world around us is to write the chapters we know ourselves. This is especially important when that history appears to be repeating itself.
That’s exactly what Dr. Micheil Hanczaryk of Fenton Township did when he penned “Our Sacred Treasure: My Thoughts” (Dume Moyie). Published in 2018, Hanczaryk’s book is not just an ancestral record, it used real characters, his family, to teach readers what it was like to live in just one corner of our war-torn earth, specifically the Ukraine, during the first world wars.
“‘Dume Moyie’ is the title of a popular Ukrainian folk song that I grew up hearing my parents singing while attending various Ukrainian social functions with family and friends,” Hanczaryk said in the book’s forward.
“‘Dume Moyie’ means ‘my thoughts’ in Ukrainian. The words in the song tell of an abandoned and displaced person in a foreign land longing for their family, homeland and all that is dear to them in the hopes that one day they will return home,’ he continued. “This written version of ‘Dume Moyie’ is actually my parent’s own personal experiences and memories of their adolescent years in Ukraine during and after the cataclysmic events surrounding World War II.”
Hanczaryk said that what started as a document of his family’s history evolved into a primer of the events in Eastern Europe. “As teens, my parents were captured by the Nazis in their native Ukraine and used as forced slave laborers,” he said. “Initially escaping, they were recaptured and brought to Germany in cattle cars.”
Hanczaryk said this is not just a story of his parent’s ordeal, but that of millions of Ukrainians.
“History is repeating itself,” Hanczaryk said. “Today, Russia’s President (Vladimir) Putin used the exact same three points as (Adolf) Hitler to justify invading Ukraine’s Crimea. The significance of this is that this is the first time since WW II that a sovereign nation has been invaded and lands seized.”
An international incident occurred on Nov. 25, 2018 when the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) coast guard fired upon and captured three Ukrainian Navy vessels attempting to pass from the Black Sea into the Sea of Azov through the Kerch Strait on their way to the port of Mariupol.
Forty percent of Ukraine’s imports arrive through the Black Sea. “Putin is attempting to cripple Ukraine’s economy with its eventual overthrow,” Hanczaryk said.
Hanczaryk’s book is a brief (56 pages) biographical record of the unique events in his parent’s lives, primarily revolving around the war. “My parent’s names are Stefania (Litnianska) and Anton Hanczaryk,” he said. “While some of the events described are a bit graphic, they are true and I feel they need to be recorded for our family.
“It is my hope that in some small way, by me documenting their story, it may be possible to prevent such events like this from happening again,” he said.
WHERE TO GET THE BOOK
“Our Sacred Treasure: My Thoughts” (Dume Moyie) is available at Fenton’s Open Book. It is also available through PayPal (look up author’s name). It can be purchased via electronic format at micheilHanczaryk@gmail.com.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Micheil Hanczaryk is a retired chiropractor. He continues to work as a chiropractor in his daughter’s Grand Blanc practice, Dr. Christine Hanczaryk. He and his wife, Janice, also retired, enjoy skiing and golfing, and spending time with their grandson in their spare time. The couple has two daughters, Christine and Alexis.