Book of life stories "Letting Go"

Memorial and documentary publication of life stories of Ukrainians gathered in 2010

Cover of the Letting Go book by Halynka Bunio

It doesn’t matter who’s your grandfather: a former KGB officer, a soldier of the Red Army or of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), a Chornobyl cleanup veteran or the Afghan War veteran, a Jewish sufferer or a Polish lord, a deported Crimean Tatar or a dissident victimised in a GULAG labour camp, an obedient system element, a metallurgist, or a Carpathian craftsman… He is a man and he has lived his life.

The values of your ancestors are in your consciousness. What are they? Maybe other people’s points of view radically differ from yours, but what do you actually know about others living in your country? What lies in their heritage? What is the history of their families? What environment has shaped them? Why are they as they are? And what can you learn from them? Our book gives an opportunity to think about answers to these questions.

We are glad to present to you a memorial and documentary publication 'Letting Go' ('Vidpushchennia'), which comprises 22 interviews and life stories taken in 2010 in the framework of the Ukrainian Action: Healing the Past project from 29 people with different cultural, linguistic, ethnic, reli­gious, political, and historical backgrounds, from 13 different places in the North, East, West, and South of Ukraine. They are only a small sample of the millions of people, who have faced the challenges of the 20th century in Ukraine. Their experience must not be ignored since history, if not discussed, reconciled, forgiven, and healed, tends to repeat itself. We can not forget our past, but we can listen to each other and try to understand, forgive and ask forgiveness, and let the burdens of the past go in order to build our future altogether. We hope this book will give impetus to such a process.

The interviews are given in the original language or a transliteration of it: Ukrainian and Russian with preservation of regional and individual speech peculiarities.

This book was prepared by:
Compilation: Halyna BUNIO
Edited by: Halyna BUNIO, Olha HUDZ, Olha PETRYSHYN, Oksana KRAVETS.
Technical edition: Yuriy PELEKH

We are kindly inviting you to read this book, please, follow this link >>>


The printed version of the book can be found in the Kyiv office of Foundations for Freedom, national, regional, and university libraries of Ukraine, in Caux Expo of the Conference Centre of Initiatives of Change, Switzerland. Please, note, the book is not for sale. If you want to read it in hard, please, get in contact with us at: ukrainian.action at

Please, pay your attention that any full or partial copying, publicising, re-printing or further dissemination of the articles and/or images of this book is possible only in case of permission of the project organisers and only on condition that the direct link to the original is provided. The opinion of interviewees in this book do not necessarily coincide with the official position of the Foundations for Freedom INGO. Also we do not bear any responsibility for the veracity of the information provided during the interviews.

We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Ukraine for the publishing of the book. We also want to thank the other project sponsors: Fritz Philips Foundation (UK), InSatsGroup Society (the IofC foundation in Sweden), and Irin Preswitch Trust Society (UK), as well as the individual benefactors.

Lviv, Svichado edition, 2012

Team of the project "Ukrainian Action: Healing the Past"

Photo by Halyna Bunio