On 19-20 January 1946, in post-war Edinburgh – on the Feast of Jordan – the inaugural General Meeting took place of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain (AUGB).
Today, 75 years on, we remember with respect the AUGB’s founding members, who at the end of the Second World War were dispersed far away from their homeland. These included: Ukrainians serving in the Canadian Armed Forces, some of whom had arrived in Great Britain in 1940; the first Ukrainian settlers from Ukraine, in Manchester, whose emigration to Canada had been prevented by the outbreak of the First World War in 1914; Ukrainians who had been deported to Siberia during the Soviet occupation and annexation of Western Ukraine (1939), Northern Bukovina (1940) and Transcarpathian Ukraine (1945), who together with Poles, as Polish citizens, reached the Middle East where the Polish Army’s II Corps was created under the command of Lieutenant General Władysław Anders; participants of the liberation struggle of the OUN-UPA, who in the summer of 1944 were captured during German raids and transported to France, where heavy fighting was already taking place on the Western Front. Most of them sided with the Western Allies and arrived in Britain in early 1945. These were followed by Ukrainian ostarbeiters and refugees in Europe (1947 onwards) and by members of the Ukrainian Division (1947) which had been interned in Rimini, Italy, at the end of the war – all of whom were assisted by the Central Ukrainian Relief Bureau in London and then by the AUGB.
This generation of Ukrainians witnessed numerous tragic events on Ukrainian soil and beyond both before and during the Second World War, and then found itself relocated to a foreign land. A deep faith, patriotism and generosity united them in a common cause of maintaining their Ukrainian identity, supporting community members in need, and helping their homeland, Ukraine, to become a free, independent and sovereign state.
These values and aspirations were brought together and furthered with the birth of the Association of Ukrainians, whose guiding principles were adopted during the organisation’s inaugural meeting in Edinburgh on 19-20 January 1946.
Since then, the AUGB has worked tirelessly to represent, develop, promote and support the interests of the Ukrainian community in the UK. It has gained respect and created close working and cultural ties with various bodies, groups and individuals throughout the UK and worldwide, in Ukraine, Europe, the North American continent and Australia.
As we remember our founding members with gratitude and respect, the realities of the current day COVID-19 pandemic mean that we are forced to defer all jubilee celebratory events until a later date.
Nevertheless, today, we send our congratulations and very best wishes to all AUGB Branches and Oseredky and to all of our members, whose dedication and tireless work continues to maintain our organisation’s authority, activities and good reputation throughout our local communities.
On the AUGB’s 75th anniversary, we wish everyone good health, success, prosperity and happiness. And may the memory of the founding and all former AUGB members who are no longer with us, remain eternal.
AUGB Board of Directors
19 January 2021