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Oleksandr Oles (real surname - Kandyba) was born on December 5, 1878 in Bilopillya of Sumy region. He has been a free listener of the Agronomy department of the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute, but because of financial problems had to leave it. In 1903 Oles entered the Kharkiv Veterinary Institute. In 1905, the almanac "Bagattia" first published his works.
Formation of the poet took place in the days of the revolutionary upsurge of the liberation movement. With the assistance of well-known historian Oleksandra Yefimenko, who praised the poetry of the young author, at the expense of Ukrainian public figure Petro Stebnytsky in 1907 he published his first book of poems "Joy hugged with sadness" under the pseudonym Oleksandr Oles. In 1909 he published second book "Be with my sword!". In 1911 - the third under the name "Book Three".
In 1917 Oles published a new book of poetry, in which expressed the hope for the restoration of Ukrainian statehood. However, after the Bolshevik October Revolution he found himself abroad and periodically lived in Budapest, Vienna, Berlin and Prague. He has published a number of books abroad, the main theme of which was his longing for Ukraine.
The last years of poet’s life were difficult: Hitler divided Czechoslovakia, where the poet lived, and his son Oleg (archaeologist and a member of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists) was captured by the Nazis, and in June 1944, tortured in a concentration camp Sachsenhausen.
In July 22, 1944 Oleksandr Oles died in Prague from cirrhosis, soon after received the message about the death of his son Oleg Olzhych. He is buried in the Olshanske cemetery together with his wife.
In addition to poetry and dramatic works in the artistic heritage of Oles are prose, translations from Russian, Belarusian, Polish, Serbian, Bulgarian, German, English, Arabic, journalistic and literary-critical articles.
Why his body was exhumed
On January 3, the remains of Oleksandr Oles were forcibly exhumed by the Czech authorities. According to the laws of this country, after the burial relatives or friends of the deceased have to pay rent for a place in the cemetery, in the size of 20 thousand CZK for 10 years (about 20 thousand UAH or 775 USD - Ed.).
According to the representatives of the local community, Volodymyr Mykhailyshyn, a Czech citizen of Ukrainian descent, had been paying the fee until recently on his own initiative. However, Mr. Mykhailyshyn died lately and now his son wants to bury his father in the tomb of Oleksandr Oles.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry explained that the remains of Oleksandr Oles and his wife were moved to the cemetery depositary until solutions of poet relatives living in Canada, regarding their place of final burial. After that, the Embassy of Ukraine promised to take all measures for the reburial.
As for the Czech citizen, for whom the remains of the Ukrainian writer were exhumed, he wanted to be buried in another place. The Second Secretary of the Ukrainian Embassy in the Czech Republic Tatiana Gorupovich announced that citing the relatives of the deceased man.
"We became aware of that on January 2. Realizing the ethical aspect of the case and the fact that Oleksandr Oles is a famous person in Ukraine, we tried to contact Roman Mykhailyshyn (the son) to find another solution. We couldn’t reach him by now, but we found out from the relatives Mykhailyshyn that his father had another tomb which was already paid and that he never wanted to be buried in the tomb of Oleksandr Oles,” Gorupovich said.
The head of the National Memory Institute, Volodymyr Vyatrovich expressed the view that the poet should be reburied in the Alley of Honor of Lukyanivske cemetery. He also noted that the state should create a special cemetery for honored burials of Ukrainians from all over the world, and the National Pantheon should appear in Kyiv. This idea was supported by the Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan.
"Doroshenko, Holovaty, Oles, Bandera, Shukhevych, Petlyura, Vynnychenko ... All the hundreds of heroes who lived in Ukraine, and Ukraine is still alive because of them. Final resting place for them should be provided by Ukrainian land in Ukrainian Pantheon, not the cemeteries of the world "- he wrote on Facebook.