How photography saved lifeHow photography saved life

2 August 2015 17:17  258104358 0105385
Як фотографія життя врятувала

Many people wanted to be pioneers in a particular area, but not all succeeded.One of those, who tried and did not lose, was Svalyava photographer Vasyl Mishkey. 

We know that he was born on May 29, 1901 in the Vovchy tract in the village of Sasivka in Svalyava county of Bereg comitat in the family of the station manager Mykhailo Mishkey and his wife Hafiya, he had an older brother Mykhailo, younger brother Yuriy and two sisters - Hafiya and Yelizaveta. After finishing the church school, according to local tradition, children of railway workers would go to the boarding school in the city of Satu-Mare (Romania). From there, in 1917 Vasyl went to study photography in Budapest, to the famous photographer Bochkai. During the training, he became a supporter of the Hungarian communists. After the overthrow of the Hungarian Soviet Republic he was captured by Romanian troops. Then there were several unsuccessful attempts to escape, but eventually this young man got home via Italy and Macedonia. Throughout 1925, Vasyl was working at fisheries in Svalyava, and at the same time was doing photography in the basement of his parents' house. Only in 1930, Mishkey received from the Czechoslovak government the patent to deal in professional photography and opened the first photo studio in Svalyava. As the only professional photographer, he managed to achieve outstanding success in this area.

  With the advent of Soviet regime, Vasyl Mishkey had to join the work association "Peremoha" in Svalyava as the head of the photo studio.   

Як фотографія життя врятувала (druzhina-etela-ta-donka-margarita)

♦ Wife Ethel and daughter who would be often caught by the lens of the photographer.

But apparently someone did not like that in Soviet reality a man owns two houses with a photo studio and a store. So, on February 3, 1950, Lieutenant of Svalyava district department of MGB Hrybolev arrested V.M.Mishkey for collaboration with the occupiers 

Як фотографія життя врятувала (mishkey-vasil-mihaylovich)

♦ A photo collage depicting the photographer himself 

in different years.

On April 27, 1950, there was the meeting of the Transcarpathian regional court, where the panel of judges pronounced a verdict under Art. 54-4 and 54-10 of Part 1 of the Criminal Code of the Ukrainian SSR, whereby the photographer was sentenced to ten years in prison with restriction in rights for five years. All attempts of the lawyer Rebinkova to justify her client were in vain. Vasyl Mishkey served the sentence in the Kitay labor camp. He spent full six years behind bars before returning home to continue doing things he loved.

According to the records of his granddaughter Valeria Marusanych, he survived the camp thanks only to his profession. When Mishkey was dying of starvation in the Gulag hospital, the chief doctor asked him:

- What is your profession?

- Photographer - the grandfather said. 

- Do you know how to photograph under a microscope? 

- I do.

Як фотографія життя врятувала (sfdggs)

♦ In many families in Svalyava, you can still find pictures with Vasyl Mishkey stamp.

Thus, photography saved the life of the man who witnessed many events. Those are the revolution of 1918, World War II, archaeological excavations on the Litvak Mt., disasters, spectacles... Vasyl Mishkey died on October 22, 1991. By the way, all his life he was waiting for rehabilitation, but it happened only after his death in 1992, when Ukraine became independent.

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