Kostiantyn Genyk-Berezovsky was a Ukrainian philologist born near Ivano-Frankivsk in 1919. He went to study at Jagellonian University in Krakow in 1938, but shortly after the start of World War II moved to Prague, where he became a member of the anti-fascist movement. He was arrested in 1942 by the Gestapo and spent the remainder of the war in the concentration camp Flossenbürg. After World War II, he studied medicine (1946-1949) and philosophy (1949-1953) at Charles University in Prague, where he received his doctorate. From 1953-1979, he was a faculty member of the Slavic Department, where he taught Ukrainian. This institution became one of the major Ukrainian studies centres in Prague after World War II. He also taught Ukrainian language and literature at newly established Ukrainian schools in Prešov and Bardiyiv. Genyk-Berezovsky also wrote and edited Ukrainian textbooks for the community and also contributed to the Ukrainian-Czech and Czech-Ukrainian dictionaries.
The home of Kost and Zina Genyk-Berezovskykh became an unofficial center of Ukrainian life and community in Prague. It was a warm place where it was possible to look deep into the past, as observed by Mykhailyna Khomivna Kotsiubynska, who was responsible for bringing their personal archive to Kyiv in 2003. No one interested in Ukraine, or Ukrainian literature, who came through Prague missed an opportunity to visit their home and vast library and archive, which filled two rooms. People came to their home to connect, to discuss important matters of the day, to get help, and even to sing, as Kost’ knew many folk songs and loved to sing them. The home of the couple was a community centre in the truest sense, connecting two cultures and two worlds in one.
- Kulick, Orysia Maria