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    BRAMA News and Community Press

    BRAMA, Jan 20, 2004, 1:00 am ET

    Société Scientific Ševčenko in Sarcelles
    — by Max Pyziur and Hanya Krill

    Arkady Joukovsky stands in front of the main building of Société Scientific Ševčenko in Sarcelles.

    The instructions indicated that it wouldn't be easy to find - take the number 33 train from Paris's Gare du Nord to the Sarcelles station. From there follow a veritable labyrynthian escapade, which includes walking up and down narrow curvy streets and even narrower sidewalks, being ever vigilant for forks in the road in order to avoid making a wrong turn. At the destination, you are greeted by a set of buildings in a charming cul de sac with a small garden. The property is the home of a venerable Ukrainian institution - the European branch of the The Shevchenko Scientific Society (Naukove Tovarystvo Shevchenka - NTSh).

    The Shevchenko Scientific Society was founded in 1873 in Lviv, Ukraine, with the mission of promoting Ukrainian literature and sciences. It managed to succeed in this endeavor up until 1940 when the subjugation by Soviet authorities forced its dissolution.

    Several of its key members kept the hope of reviving the institution and did so in Munich in 1947; along with 'preservation,' 'promotion' of Ukrainian literature and sciences was added to its mission.

    The stay in Munich did not last long. In 1951 the organization's executive center, library and archives were transferred from Munich to Sarcelles, a suburb that is 20 minutes north of Paris by commuter train.

    Subsequently, NTSh established three other chapters - New York City, Toronto, and Melbourne Australia, each resolving to operate autonomously loosely coordinated by a World General Council. In recent times, the Lviv, Ukraine, chapter has been reestablished and has begun to thrive.

    The Society in Sarcelles at one time served as the editorial office of the Entsyklopediia ukrayinoznavstva (Encyclopedia of Ukrainian Studies). It continues to function, maintaining a library of more than 26,000 volumes, housing a large archive, and coordinating a publishing program under the direction of Arkady Joukovsky.

    While its Lviv and New York City counterparts are experiencing a renaissance of sorts, the Sarcelles site has suffered losses in membership through attrition over the years and, thus, an important source for funding. Manned only by Dr. Joukovsky and his intrepid assistant, Irène Popowycz, the aging property (owned by the Ukrainian Catholic Church) with its sparingly furnished interior has seen better days. Its operations lack the technological support that a contemporary research and publishing facility should have. Its inconvenient suburban location away from the Parisian educational institutions and Diasporan Ukrainian centers makes it difficult to attract new membership, and lectures are rarely if ever held there any more. The bright sunshine outside on this autumn day did little to cheer the dimly lit room where Ms. Popowycz works. Except for the occasional researcher, few visitors ever cross its threshold.

    The challenging working conditions and uncertain future of the Society in Sarcelles are but minor drawbacks for Dr. Joukovsky and Ms. Popowycz. They remain firmly committed to the organization's mission and work closely with the Lviv-based NTSh to turn out new publications. See the side panel for examples of monographs that NTSh-E has released in recent years.

    Société Scientific Ševčenko
    29, rue des Bauves
    95200 Sarcelles
    Tel: (1) 39-90-05-82
    Fax: (1) 39-94-55-15

    Dr. Arkady Joukovsky (center), Irène Popowycz (right), Hanya Krill (left) in the Library Main Room
    Dr. Arkady Joukovsky in his office
    Irène Popowycz
    Irène Popowycz cataloging new entries into the database.

    Volodymyr Kubijovyč, NTSh-E President 1952-85
    Danylo Husar Struk NTSh-E President 1997-99
    Arkady Joukovsky NTSh-E President

    Histoire de l'Ukraine (History of Ukraine). A.Joukovsky. French, 1993.

    Нарис Історії НТШ в Європі (History of NTSh-E). A.Joukovsky. Ukrainian, 2000.

    Historical Atlas of Ukraine (1993) - an updated version of a 1941 German publication - complete with colorful maps and geographical data. Maps have the original German notation, accompanying atlas is in English and Ukrainian.



    RELATED
     ·  2003 Part I — Diasporan Ukrainians gather at St. Volodymyr's in Paris
     ·  2003 Part II — Getting Down in the Metro - Ukrainian sounds beneath the rues and boulevards of Paris
     ·  2003 Part III — Société Scientific Ševčenko in Sarcelles
     ·  2001 — Ukrainians in Paris - Les Ukrainnienes de Paris (in 5 parts)

    The famous gardens of the Château de Villandry in France's Loire Valley
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