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excerpt from the Interview with HANTZSCH, MICHAEL

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Date and Place of Birth:  Dec.8,1954, Toronto, Ont. Canada  
Date of Interview: Feb.14, 2020
Place of Interview: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Length of Interview: 26 minutes
Interviewer: Chrystia Kolos
Language: English


Interviewer: So as a child or teenager, what language did you speak at home? Michael: Ukrainian

Interviewer: Ukrainian, almost exclusively,
Michael: Yes

Interviewer: and did your Ukrainian parents speak to you in Ukrainian?

Michael: They did, my mother all the time, my dad, he struggled with his Ukrainian, it was mostly…he could speak to me in German but I wouldn’t understand so we conversed in English. But it was interesting that I forgot to mention that when they got married there was an agreement made, I don’t know if it was formal or not, that any children out of this marriage would be raised Ukrainian, Ukrainian culture, Ukrainian church, so that was the condition and my father accepted that.  So that’s why I became Ukrainian rather than German.

Interviewer: So what do you like and find helpful about the Ukrainian Canadian community?

Michael: What do I like? I like the fact that they have not assimilated within the Canadian context, and they’ve maintained their identity but yet they feel they’re an important and vibrant component of  Canadian society. So that they have people who have a bit of influence with respect  of our involvement in politics. I know that the President of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress has many times visited with the Prime Minister, the current Prime Minister... the former prime Minister. So we now are, like the other communities, like the Jewish community, I think we are exerting some kind of influence, we’ve elevated our professionalism, as a community. So I like that part. I like the focus, especially the organizations that I belong to, on youth… youth development, making them better citizens, Canadians for that matter, as well as maintaining their Ukrainian heritage, what’s important to them.

Interviewer: Is there anything that you’d like to see different or, you know, that you could suggest different about the Ukrainian Canadian community?

Michael:  Well, if I have one disappointment is that there is not better cooperation amongst the various organizations, with respect to the community here, we’re so small with respect to the overall population. I feel there should be better collaboration between the various organizations, we should try and remove religion and membership out of those discussions.