• Iryna Rybachok
Keywords: DP camps, displaced persons, Ukrainian women, Ukrainian Women’s Union in Emigration


The article analyses main vectors of activity of the Ukrainian Women’s Union in Emigration, a women’s organization that emerged at the end of 1945 in West Germany, which housed a great number of Ukrainian displaced persons. Ukrainian women made a significant contribution to the life of the Ukrainian community in DP camps, actively engaged in organizational, cultural, educational, publishing, and business activities, tried to promote an international image of Ukrainians and to actualize the Ukrainian issue after World War ІІ.
The membership and structure of the Ukrainian Women’s Union in Emigration increased rapidly during 1945-1948. The Women’s Union gradually eliminated its cells in a considerable number of camps after 1949, because the process of emigration of Ukrainian displaced persons to the permanent residential country became more intense.
Organized Ukrainian Women of West Germany, in cooperation with international women’s and Ukrainian women’s organizations overseas, sought to attract the attention of the world community to the issue of Soviet occupation of Ukraine, as well as to the forced repatriation of Ukrainian refugees from West Germany to the USSR after World War II, and emphasized the problem of refugee resettlement, especially regarding unfair restrictions on the least protected categories of displaced persons – widows, single mothers, orphans, disabled persons, the elderly, etc.
At the same time, important issues related to women’s movement were left unaddressed by the Ukrainian Women’s Union in Emigration. These were gender discrimination, women’s rights and emancipation. These issues were not very relevant to ordinary women in difficult daily lives of displaced persons. Therefore, the main directions of the Ukrainian Women’s Union in Emigration activities were aimed at improving daily life of Ukrainian displaced persons, protecting the rights and interests of the Ukrainian community, preserving national traditions, fighting for the restoration of the Ukrainian independent state, and creating a certain foundation for this in the form of nationally conscious youth. In order to accomplish these tasks, there were separate departments in the Ukrainian Women’s Union in Emigration, which were responsible for organizational, publishing, economic, supportive, cultural and educational activities directions.