Our History

After the end of the second World War, thousands of young Ukrainians found themselves stranded in Germany and other close neighbours such as Austria and Belgium. These were young people who has been forcibly removed from their homeland of Ukraine and used as war fodder to man factories or work in coal mines in Germany, Austria & Belgium. In 1946 there were about 50,000 young Ukrainians under 30 years of age in these places. There were also about 10,000 former young Ukrainian fighters in Italy.

Unfortunately as a result of the Yalta Agreement between Russia & the West, many Ukrainians & Eastern Europeans were forced to return to the ‘Soviet Paradise’, and were then either interned in labour camps or murdered. It was no wonder then that the young people who managed to stay were fiercely opposed to Moscow, especially with information they received about the heroic efforts of the UPA against Russia in their homeland.

In this context CYM was revived in Germany by former CYM members and other Ukrainian activists, who gathered in Munich in 1946 to form the Central Organisational Bureau for CYM.

The first Oseredok/Branch of CYM was established in the American Zone on the 10 June 1946 in Augsburg Germany with membership composed of 18-30 year olds. By July there were seven Branches and by the end of 1946 there were 24 Branches. It did not take long that year for Branches to also be established in Austria and Belgium. By 1948 there were 68 Branches with 6282 members (Central Committee CYM, 2011).

The first CYM Congress took place in Augsburg from the 20-24 March 1947, with delegates representing 3,700 members from 46 Branches. This Congress ratified a program for CYM based on the principles of ‘God & Ukraine’ but updated to meet the new circumstances, the CYM Constitution, the CYM flag and the CYM Emblem. Delegates also chose the first Central Committee of CYM.

In 1949 there was a mass exodus of Ukrainians and many other nationalities from Europe. As refugees they went to America, Canada, England, Australia & even to Africa. By 1950 CYM existed in 14 countries with 8,000 members.

By 1949, the Central Committee of CYM had managed to contact many CYM members who had settled in Australia, and helped them to start organising the first national body and branches. Because of the enormous distances between settlements of Ukrainians, the first organisers of CYM had to operate almost in isolation from each other. According to the books CYM in the Diaspora (Central Committee CYM, 1954) and Ukrainians in Australia Tome 1, (AFUOA, 1966) the first organisers of CYM were: O Jankivskyj, O Tarnawskyj, V Jankivskyj, M Vreszko, Ch Mischuk, B Ban, L Sklypkowycz, V Poilishko, V Shumskyj, J Kusej, O Nahirnyj and O Kavunenko.

The first organised CYM groups were established in places like Greta Migrant Camp in Northern NSW in 1949 where there were large numbers of young people, before they were allocated work under their tear contracts elsewhere. On 2 May 1950, the Central Committee of CYM authorised M Z Hrabyk to organise a National Committee in Australia. The organising committee consisting of Messers Hrabyk, A Atamaniuk and V Burak, immediately started preparing for the first all Australian CYM Congress/Zyizd. This took place in Melbourne in May 1951. The first elected Australian CYM President was Mr V Vasylko who later resigned and was replaced by M P Soroka who called the second Australian Congress in Sydney. At the Second Zyizd Mr Soroka was re-elected by delegates from 6 Branches with 200 members.