Fedir Goch, in Honor of his 60th Birthday
Fedir Goch

The village of Zyndrawnova, which is located close to the Polish-Czechoslovak border, sustained heavy devastation during World War II. There is a place near the village known as the Valley of Death. This horrifying name reminds one of the grim years of the past war. The Lemko people actively fought the Nazi aggressors. They joined the partisan detachments,and rebuffed the enemy on the frontlines in the ranks of the Soviet Army. Some Lemkos from Zyndranova struggled against the hateful occupiers as part of the Polish and Czechoslovak armies.

After the war quite a few inhabitants of Zyndranova emigrated to the Ukraine. In 1947 those residents who remained in the village had to leave for the western territories of Poland. After 1956 some of the Lemkos returned to their native parts. 

The events of past years, the heroic exploits of the residents of Zyndranova and other villages, the mission of liberation of the Soviet Army-all this found its way to the exhibits displayed at the Museum of Lemko Culture in Zyndranova.

One of the museum’s sections — the Material Culture of the Lemkos — acquaints the visitor with farming tools and handicraft good of this ethnic group, also with their garments, jewelry, household utensils, picture and documents. The other section of the museum is dedicated to the participation of the Lemko people in the struggle against the Nazi occupiers. On display here are the exhibits returning the visitor to the events of World War II. These exhibits were collected mainly in the surrounding area.

The Zyndranova Museum of Lemko Culture is popular with tourists, historians, ethnographers, and especially with those engaged in studies of the Carpathian area and its inhabitants.

The founder of this interesting museum is Fedir Goch, a native of Zyndranova (born June 28, 1929). He went to school in the village but failed to complete it due to the outbreak of World War II. It so happened that the youth found himself torn away from his native parts for a certain period of time. Upon returning to Zyndranova, Fedir Goch began to build a home for himself. He wanted to transform the home he grew up in into a museum. Goch decided to dedicate this museum to the culture of the Lemko people.

When the museum became operational, Fedir Goch turned to realizing another project which he had in store for his fellow villagers. In 1954 he organized a folk song and dance ensemble in Zyndranova. The group actively participates in the art festivals held within the framework of the Ukrainian Public and Cultural Society in Poland. The capella of musicians directed by Fedir Goch is also popular in the area. In 1956 a film "The Lemko Wedding," based on a script by Goch was made. He is also the author of several one-act plays.

However, Fedir Goch should be credited especially for the founding of the Lemkovina Ensemble of which he is a member. This ensemble, composed mainly of young people, made a successful concert tour of Canada and the United States in 1987. Goch shared his impressions of this tour in his article "Brothers to Brothers" which was featured in several issues of the Warsaw-based newspaper "Nashe Slovo" (Our Word).

He is a man of many interests. He makes contributions to the newspapers "Nashe Slovo" (Warsaw), and "Karpatska Rus" (USA). Goch is among the organizers of the annual holiday "Vatra" (Bonfire) held in Lemkovina. He also helps in reconstructing and designing Lemko folk garments and is involved in other cultural undertakings.

Fedir is a member of the Executive Board of the Ukrainian Public and Cultural Society in Poland and always find time to maintain contacts with Lemkos living in Poland, Czechoslovakia and in other countries as well.

May this Lemko patriot continue his successes for the benefit of Lemkovina.