History of ODUM

The start of ODUM Ukrainian youth, who along with their families escaped the brutal, totalitarian yoke of the Soviet Union-found themselves in Displaced Persons DP camps in western Germany. During these times they started to feel the void in Ukrainian youth organizations. This was particularly true for the youth that came from eastern Ukraine. The youth from the states of western Ukraine were being supported and watch after by the so-called “parents of the nation”, mainly the two factions of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists.

For the youth of western Ukraine, during these times there was little worry: their destiny was clean and foreseeable. Because of these factors not only did the adults, but also the youth felt a very strong need for an organization that would encompass their beliefs and needs. In the fall of 1945 in the area of Munich, German a well known activist of the Ukrainian community who was know for his poetry, his writings and his anti-communist stance came forward, he was Ivan Bahrainy. With crystal clarity, which was always one of his strengths, he summarized the existing problem: There must be a coordinated effort to combine all political and physical strengths, first off-the mobilization of all Ukrainian youth in the battle for Ukraine’s ideals.

In 1949 in an article in the magazine “Nashi Pozhitsiyi”, Ivan Bahrainy gave a comprehensive characterization of the youth organizations of that day. He came to the conclusion that “The situation cannot remain the same.” A new organization is a must. This organization was to be made up of not old men, but youth! An organization that is not political, but apolitical. An independent organization that is democratic. A youth organization where the children were not being brought up to be political hacks, but nationally informed and educated, highly cultured, the future of Ukraine. An organization was needed that was vibrant and creative. One that would encompass all Ukrainian youth, regardless of the region their or their parents birth. Independent from the political leanings of their parents. An organization that is not made up of Nationalists but it must be Nationalistic. One in which a person can be equally comfortable whether they have long, deep Ukrainian lineage or whether they were born outside of Ukraine, but have a deep love and spirit for all things Ukrainian.

To form such an organization is the responsibility of the youth themselves. If they do not feel a sincerely need and do not show initiative and energy towards such an organization, then the future of Ukraine is bleak. This is how it all got started

shortened from “History of the ODUM movement” Professor Nicholas Stepanenko. ODUM Handbook vol 1. pg 56-60.


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