MEDICAL COMMUNITY, A SOCIETY OF UKRAINIAN STUDENTS OF MEDICINE AND PHARMACY
In the early 20th century, there was an organization called the Library of Medical Students which functioned at the Faculty of Medicine of Lviv University. In 1909, several Ukrainian students left the society; in June 1910 they declared their intention to establish their own organization called the Medical Community. The organization’s charter was officially approved on 31 May 1910. The purpose of the community's activity was, in the first place, to provide financial and moral support to its members; among the specific goals, there were maintaining the library and the student kitchen and organizing concerts. Students of the medical faculty could be ordinary members of the community, while students of other faculties could be accepted as extraordinary members.
During the First World War, the community was suspended for 3 years. It was only on 18 November 1917 that a general meeting was convened to resume the organization. In March 1921 the community started working quite actively, but had to stop its activities in 1924 to renew it again in 1926. A new charter was approved on 17 November 1929 (the Senate of the Jan Kazimierz University approved it on 27 January 1930). However, the University administration did not allow the community to use the word "Ukrainian" in its name. In the course of the Medical Community existence it was headed by Roman Kopach, Volodymyr Olshansky, Vasyl Keleman. In the mid-1930s, four commissions worked in the organization, those for sports and medicine, labour mediation, sightseeing and accommodation, and entertainment. There was also a section of pharmacists in the community. The organization’s external work was managed by the so-called Cultural-Educational Commission (CEC), which arranged visits of the members to villages located near Lviv in order to present reports and to familiarize Ukrainian society with issues related to health and hygiene. In this regard, the Medical Community was active in a campaign against tuberculosis, as well as in anti-alcohol and anti-nicotine campaigns. The society emphasized that it was exactly students who, as a social elite, should take a most active part in the social life of Ukrainian people.
Among other areas in which the community worked, it is worth mentioning cultural activities and those aimed at mutual assistance. For example, the organization provided students with loans and collected funds for the construction of the House of Ukrainian Physician in the late 1930s. From 1911, the society conducted the "Physicians’ Balls" known to all students in Lviv. The means for all of the above-mentioned goals consisted mainly of membership fees, subventions provided by the University, and voluntary donations.
The Medical Community actively collaborated with other Ukrainian student associations functioning in Lviv, for example, with the Student Community, as well as with the Osnova and the Vatra. They also co-operated with Ukrainian doctors, publishing a magazine entitled "Health", and managed a sanatorium at Pidliute (established by Metropolitan Sylvester Sembratovych near the village of Osmoloda in the Carpathian region). The organization had its own library, thus providing students with access to academic textbooks. The premises of the Medical Community were located on Św. Marka (now Kobylianskoyi) street 20, Czarneckiego (now Vynnychenka) street 26/1, and Supińskiego (now Kotsiubynskoho) street 21. It happened sometimes that members of the organization (like it was case with other Ukrainian societies) were suspected by the Polish police of underground activities, which sometimes led to searches of places where they stayed.
One of the problems recognized by the organization in the 1930s was a steady decrease in the number of its members. In newspapers, we can find out that there were 113 members in the society in 1929, and this number dropped to 58 in 1933. The Board maintained that the decrease in the number of medical students was affected by the general policy of the Polish university administration towards Ukrainian students at the Faculty of Medicine. They explained that the number of Ukrainians accepted by the educational institution’s Faculty of Medicine was decreasing year by year. In the Studentskyj Shliakh periodical, Stepan Milianych observed that, of the total number of 55 applications submitted to the medical faculty, only 11 students were enrolled in medicine and only two in pharmacy. In the second half of the 1930s, the number of the society members slightly increased. In 1937 the Medical Community had 72 members, the number reaching 92 in 1938/1939.
Vul. Vynnychenka, 26 – residential building
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Kobylianskoyi str. 20
The premises of the Medical Community.
Kotsiubynskoho str. 21
The premises of the Medical Community.
1. Державний архів Львівської області
2. ДАЛО 299/1/20:1
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Written by Ewa Bukowska-Marczak
Scientific editing by Vasyl Rasevych
Translated from Polish by Myroslava Kit
Translated from Ukrainian by Andriy Masliukh