Oleskiv, Osyp

Oleskiv, Osyp [Олеськів, Осип; Oles'kiv; also Oleskow or Oleskiw, Josef], b 28 September 1860 in Skvariava Nova, Zhovkva circle, Galicia, d 18 October 1903 in Sokal. Agronomist and civic figure. After graduating from Lviv University with a PH D in botany he continued his studies in Germany and then taught at a Realschule in Dubliany near Lviv and at the teachers' seminary in Lviv. A populist in orientation, he became concerned with what he considered to be the ruinous emigration of Ukrainians to Brazil. He published Pro vil'ni zemli (About Free Lands) in 1895 in an effort to stem emigration, if only briefly, while he traveled to Canada to assess its potential for Ukrainian settlement. He was favorably impressed and published his findings and advice as O emigratsiï (About Emigration, 1895). In 1896 he helped to organize the first major wave of Ukrainian immigration to Canada and sought to establish an orderly means for guiding emigration to that country by creating an emigrant aid society and obtaining a commission as an agent. He was superseded by events, however, and received no commissions or financial assistance for his work. He withdrew from the entire process and became director of a teachers' seminary in Sokal. Oleskiv’s pivotal role in directing emigration became obscured with time, but it was brought to light again with the publication of Vladimir Kaye-Kysilewsky’s Early Ukrainian Settlements in Canada, 1895–1900: Dr. Josef Oleskow’s Role in the Settlement of the Canadian Northwest (1964).

Manoly Lupul

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 3 (1993).]

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