My wife Maria, maiden name Wozniuk, recently wrote a letter to the Ukrainian Weekly which it just published. I will set it out here but first a little bit about her background. She left Ukraine in the middle of winter in a horse draw cart with her family because her father was a target of the Bolsheviks. She ended up in Germany. She had the experience of running to bomb shelters as Allied bombs rained down on her. When Germany surrendered she and her family lived in displaced persons camps. Her family, especially her father, had to hide from the Soviet secret police who were scouring the camps to drag Ukrainians back to the Soviet Union. Many committed suicide rather than returning knowing they would be treated as enemies, most likely executed or sent to Siberia.
She arrived in the United States at age 9 on a ship which the headlines of the local newspaper noted: “DP Ship Arrives.” DP was not a term of endearment. It was used by others as a way to denigrate the new arrivals.
She did not know a word of English. She attended schools that had no accommodations for foreign speaking students to learn English. She slowly picked it up. She graduated from high school, went on to nursing school and became a registered nurse in New York. Her initial job was at John Hopkins in Baltimore. She then moved to Boston, She was one of the first nurses at the Brigham Hospital selected to work in the newly established dialysis unit.
We married. She raised three children. She taught each of them to speak and understand Ukrainian. They all attained professional degrees. She holds a deep belief in the necessity of education. Here is what she wrote:
She has had to listen to folk both strangers and the family at large tell her that Trump is not such a bad guy and even some suggest we should look with fondness on Putin and Russia.
I can not help thinking of what Honest Abe wrote: “I got in huge trouble many years ago, in my teens, because I said that Hitler was an amazing public speaker. I didn’t say he was a good man. Just a good speaker. My neighborhood had many people with numbers on their forearms. My opinion never got beyond our living room walls, but still, it was the last time I made the observation aloud. My father had a wicked left hook for an Orthodox Jew. Or for anyone in his weight class.”
I knew many Irishmen who would also let at you with a left hook if you said anything favorable about the Black and Tans or Cromwell. I can just imagine my wife’s temptation to throw a wicked left hook at Americans who cheer for Putin.