Nelson colnels at shaw.ca
Mon Jul 15 15:49:45 PDT 2002

Volhynians meet to establish Historical Society
by Phyllis Kopen, Vice Chairperson

	The Steering Committee that was struck at last year's meeting, which had been addressed by genealogist Ewald Wuschke, reported its finding to sixty descendants of Germans from Volhynia, Russia.  The June 23rd Sunday afternoon gathering at Trinity Lutheran Church was welcomed by Barbara Stenzel.
	First on the agenda was a review of the Committee's achievements presented by its presiding chairman, Nelson Itterman.  Application for Alberta Society status along with the Constitution and Bylaws have been signed by the steering committee - thus inaugurating the Wandering Volhynians Historical Society - WVHS.  Nelson  shared excerpts of an Assessment Report by two local archivists who recently visited the research library in Mr. Wuschke's home in Vancouver.  
	Nelson referred to some local sites for the library's relocation, each with its attendant concerns - adequate space, appropriate environment, office furnishing, knowlegeable staff to do computerized cataloguing, staff/volunteers to complete unfinished translations, rent, utilities, access by public transportation and parking.
	Only recently - in response to an announcement of this meeting that appeared in the Albertaner (a local German newspaper) - Professor Franz Szabo surfaced with a proposal.  The Canadian Centre for Austrian and Central European Studies (CCAuCes) of which Dr. Szabo is the director, meets all those requirements in the University's Rutherford Library.  In his presentation at the meeting, he emphasized access, storage environment, professional handling, and a tax receipt to the donor.  Selecting the University site would be logical and prestigious.
	The question was asked, "Do we need to form a WVHS?  Couldn't the transfer be directly negotiated between Mr. Wuschke and the University?"
	The answer becomes clear after you respond to these:  "Did you know the the CCauCES established in 1998 exists and is already preserving a rich heritage with a Central European theme?  And did you realize the the facility is available not only for research projects by students, but also for geanealogical and cultural information by private citizens?"
	Neither did the Committee; now the Society's major roles (if the U of A site is to be chosen) swings from 'site provision and supervision' to publicizing and assisting families to access the resources at the U of A library.  Without WVHS the CCAuCES with the Wuschke library would continue to be Edmonton's best kept secret.
	Membership fees  per person) were received from 30 of those present, and pledges for further financial support are on file.  The process of becoming a viable society requires a Founding Meeting, tentatively in mid-October, at which the first Board of Directors (the Constitution calls for nine) is to be elected.  The Board, in turn, will determine the Executive Officers.  Anticipate meetings of the membership annually, in June.
	An early decision by the Board will be that of 'setting wheels in motion" (literally) to relocate the Wuschke library.  The variety and quantity (30 linear meters, plus) of the Wuschke collection will add considerable prestige to the receiving site.  And, should that location be the University, it in turn, confers prestige to the legacy of genealogist Ewald Wuschke - a win/win situation for both. 

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