I am an optimist by nature.
No matter how hard it has been, I have never lost hope…
Stepan Horechyi was born on July 4th 1929 in Rava-Ruska (now Zhovkva district, Lviv region). Anastasiya and Mykhailo Horechyi had three children, Stepan was the youngest. His father worked as an assistant engineer, mother took care of the house. Both parents were active members of the “Prosvita” society, mother Anastasiya was also a member of a women’s organization “The Ukrainian Women’s Union”. From 1936 to 1939 Horechyi attended a Polish elementary school. 1939 – 1941 – went to a Soviet middle school. In 1943 was taking private classes with Pavlo Bilyk. Then he got back to middle school and graduated in 1947.
The same year he was working as a cashier at a train station, where he has got involved with the staff supporting underground activities of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN). In 1948 he became head of a district executive committee and worked closely with OUN distributing underground papers and “bofony” (insurgent money). On April 23, 1949 Horechyi was arrested and kept in Lviv prisons on Sadova and Horodotska (“Brygidky”) Streets. On July 28, 1949 he was sentenced to 25 years in prison under the Article 20, 54-1“a” (“aiding and abetting OUN”, “treason”) of the USSR Criminal Code. In October 1949 Horechyi was convoyed from Lviv Transit Prison #25 to GULAG camps. He served the sentence in corrective labor camps of Kengir, Spaska, Aktas, Karabas, Sarana (now Kazakhstan), Norylsk (now Russia), and was repeatedly put into a punitive solitary confinement and camp prisons. In 1953 he participated in the Norylsk uprising and was kept in corrective labor camps “Yuvileynyi” and “Kholodnyi” (now Magadan region, Russia).
On March 22, 1955 Horechyi was released and returned to Rava-Ruska. In 1956 he married Zynoviya-Ivanna Otchak and together they moved to Zhydachiv. They had two children: Maria and Yuri. From 1956 to 1984 Horechyi worked as an electrician, then as a chief supervisor at Zhydachiv paperboard factory. From 1958 to 1967 he studied part-time at Lviv Polytechnic Institute, gaining the qualification of an electrical engineer. In 1984 the family moved to Lviv where Horechyi worked as an engineer at “Lviv city electrical networks”.
In 1998 he became head of the “Prosvita” society for the Halytskyi district of Lviv and remained in the position till 2013. He was also an active member of following societies and organizations: The Union of Political Prisoners of Ukraine, The Brotherhood of OUN-UPA. Now Horechyi lives in Lviv.
Compiled by Liudmyla Levcheniuk