Michał Kozak

Michał (Mychajło) Kozak was born on 30th of September in 1932 in the village of Hrebenne in Rawa Ruska county, the son of Grzegorz and Ksenia, nee Peczynka. He completed primary school in Hrebenne and continued his education in Rawa Ruska. In 1947, due to the operation “Vistula” he was resettled together with his family to western territories in Poland. In 1953 he completed his education in junior high school in Toruń and four years later graduated from Gdańsk Polytechnic. He was an active member of Ukrainian Social and Cultural Association (USKT) and his activity started during his university years. In 1956 he was chosen to be a delegate during the first Congress of USKT in Warsaw. Between the years of 1957-1958 he acted as head of USKT, Szczecin branch in Szczecin. Immediately after graduation from the university he began to work in Telecommunication Company, later followed by undertaking teaching position in Telecommunication Technical School in Szczecin, where he managed the school lab; later fulfilling the duties of the vice headmaster of the school.

In 1962 he married Katarzyna Fedyk the student of Ukrainian Teaching Studies in Szczecin, with whom he had a daughter and a son. After graduating from Teaching College in 1976, he started a job in the Teaching and Research Institute, where he looked after the didactic infrastructure in the education process. In 1981 he was a teaching methodologist. He retired in 1985. After four years he relocated with his wife to Przemyśl, where he actively worked on behalf of minorities. He cooperated with the Ukrainian press, collecting materials connected to history, community and cultural heritage of Ukraine. After the USKT transformation into Association of Ukrainians in Poland in 1990 he continued his activity in the association. He also got involved in Ukrainian Folk Society House and the Association of Ukrainian Teachers. He was an honorary member of the Ukrainian Medical Association in Poland, a co-organizer and a participant of seminars of that organisation. He established the Przemyśl Brotherhood and Transcarpathian Association of Ukrainians in Toronto.

In 1998 he participated in VII World Congress of Ukrainians in Toronto and in the Commission of Human Rights. He was the secretary and the co-organizer of I Congress in Przemyśl (1994). He was the editor of “Przemyśl Congress” publication, which contained the “Przemyśl and the area throughout the centuries” science conference materials.

He was the author of press articles and publications, as well as the editor of the 6 first issues of “Przemyśl Bells”. In 1995, per request of Przemyśl Committee, Michał and his wife Katarzyna undertook the task of collecting the documents in order to publish the diaries “I stwerdy diło ruk naszych” and “Sermons” of priest S. Dziubyna.(Lviv, 1997)

He relentlessly documented the history of Przemyśl, which resulted in the work of “Pamiętaj o Panu duszy Twoich slug” which was published in 2022. Michał Kozak gathered in it eyewitness accounts, document materials about the suffering of Przemyśl Eparchy of Ukrainian Catholic Church during the forties of the XX century. As a first of the researcher he presented the information about the murders and repressions of bishops, priests and their families in Przemyśl. Thanks to his pioneering research the public opinion and the researchers of the topic could get introduced and to understand little known historical facts of Trans Carpathian Ukrainians. For many years in the Przemyśl Folk House he conducted weekly discussion groups “Ukrainian conversation” during which historic events were discussed, as well as contemporary Ukrainian topics of public and political life.

In 2006 he published a book “Passed and presence. Kobylnica Wołoską i Ruska” dedicated to his wife’s parents’ memory: Konstantin and Kateryna. The following monograph “Tireless Pastor”, about the undeterred Greek-Catholic rite pastor Włodzimierz Borowiec. In 2010 another monograph was published by M. Kozak, this time dedicated to the family village of the author “Hrebenne during the WW2”. The book was dedicated to his parents: Ksenia and Hryhori Kozak. The last book of Michał Kozak was “On the life path” published in Przemyśl in 2013, where he discussed his legacy, summarised his life, his vocation, his mission in the service of the family, the nation and the Church. He passed away on January 12th in 2020 in the presence of his wife Katarzyna, in his home in Przemyśl.

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