Onatsky, Yevhen

Onatsky, Yevhen [Онацький, Євген; Onac'kyj, Jevhen], b 13 January 1894 in Hlukhiv, Chernihiv gubernia, d 27 October 1979 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Civic leader, journalist, and scholar; full member of the Shevchenko Scientific Society from 1947 and of the Ukrainian Academy of Arts and Sciences from 1949. While studying at Kyiv University (1912–17), he was active in clandestine student societies. After joining the Ukrainian Party of Socialist Revolutionaries in 1917, he was elected to the Central Rada and its presidium and took part in negotiations with the Don Cossacks and the Kuban Cossacks. Having resigned from the party and the Central Rada in March 1918, he worked in the library of the Kyiv City Museum of Antiquities and Art. In January 1919 he was sent as a journalist to the Paris Peace Conference, after which he ended up in Rome, where he directed the press bureau of the Ukrainian National Republic diplomatic mission and edited its La voce del Ucraina. Eventually he became head of the mission and Italian representative of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (1929–43). In the interwar period he worked as a correspondent for various Ukrainian papers, such as Dilo, Svoboda (USA), Novyi shliakh, Novyi klych, and Ukraïns’ke slovo (Paris), and lectured at the Higher Oriental Institute in Naples (1936–40) and Rome University (1940–3). He then spent a year in a German prison (1943–4). After settling in Buenos Aires in 1947, he helped to organize the Association of Ukrainian Scholars, Writers, and Artists and the Ukrainian Central Representation in Argentina, which he served as president (1953–60) and chairman of the Supreme Council (1960–3). He edited (1947–64) the Vidrodzhennia society’s weekly Nash klych as well as its almanacs and the monthly Dzvin.

Onatsky’s publications include Grammatica ucraina: teoretico-practica (1937), Studi di storia e di cultura Ucraina (1939), a Ukrainian-Italian dictionary (1941; repr 1977) and an Italian-Ukrainian dictionary (1977), Osnovy suspil'noho ladu (The Foundations of Social Order, 1941; repr 1949), a collection of essays, Zavziattia chy spokusa samovypravdannia (Determination or the Temptation of Self-Justification, 1956), Po pokhylii ploshchi: Zapysky ukraïns'koho zhurnalista i dyplomata (On a Sloping Plane: Notes of a Ukrainian Journalist and Diplomat, 2 vols, 1964–69), and U vichnomu misti: Zapysky ukraïns'koho zhurnalista (In the Eternal City: Notes of a Ukrainian Journalist, 3 vols, 1954, 1981, 1985). He also prepared the four-volume Ukraïns'ka mala entsyklopediia (The Little Ukrainian Encyclopedia, 1957, 1959, 1962–3). His life and work are summarized in Lubomyr Wynar’s Ievhen Onats'kyi—Chesnist' z natsiieiu (Yevhen Onatsky: Honesty toward the Nation, 1981).

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

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