Mykola Antonovych Zinchuk (Koshelivka village, Pulyn district, Zhytomyr region, March 7, 1925 - Dovhopillya village, Putyl district, Chernivtsi region, February 2, 2012) - an outstanding folklorist, collector of Ukrainian folk tales, storyteller; historian; teacher.
He collected, arranged and literary elaborated a collection of "Ukrainian folk tales" in 40 volumes.
Mykola Antonovych Zinchuk was born on March 7, 1925 in the village of Koshelivka, Pulyn district, Zhytomyr region, into a middle-class peasant family. During the famine of 1930-1933 - the Holodomor, dekulakization and deportation of many families to Siberia and the Urals, the Zinchuk family left Koshelivka. In 1941, at the beginning of the Second World War, she was in Chernyakhiv, Zhytomyr region. At that time, Mykola Zinchuk graduated from the ninth grade of Chernyakhiv High School.
In May 1942, Hitler's occupiers, along with many others, forcibly deported him to Germany. He worked there on the repair of the railway in the city of Halle. After another attempt to escape, he was imprisoned in the Flossenburg concentration camp, from which he was transferred to the Dachau concentration camp in early 1945. During that time, his father and almost all his male relatives died in the war.
On April 29, 1945, he was liberated from Dachau by the US Army. He was suffering from severe tuberculosis at the time, so he was treated in hospital for two and a half months.
Returning to his homeland, he worked for some time on a collective farm. In 1946 he entered the historical faculty of the Lviv Pedagogical Institute, graduating with honors in 1950 and was sent to Rudnivska Secondary School (now Lviv Secondary School 74) on the outskirts of Lviv.
In 1957–1963 he worked as the director of the Porichyan eight-year school of the Yavoriv district of the Lviv region.
In 1968 he met the outstanding teacher VO Sukhomlinsky and constantly corresponded with him. Under his influence he wrote a number of articles on scientific and pedagogical topics, which were published in periodicals in Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Moldova and Romania.
In the 70's in the process of local lore work with students Mykola Zinchuk became interested in folklore, began to record folklore materials in the villages, including folk tales. In parallel, he studied the theory of folklore.
This work became the main content of his life, he did it every day, leaving no weekends, holidays or vacations. Later he came up with the idea to create a unique multi-volume folk tale, and he gave all his time and money for its implementation.
He spent most of his life in the Bukovyna Hutsul region and for 30 years he studied folklore in Bukovyna, Zakarpattia, Boykivshchyna and Hutsulshchyna. Having mastered one area, he moved to another in order to cover as much of Ukraine as possible. Given that the living oral folklore tradition is best preserved in the western part of Ukraine, he concentrated his activities in this region.
In 1986–2002, collections of folk tales and short stories organized by him were published in various publishing houses (Uzhhorod, Lviv, Kyiv).
Mykola Zinchuk was advised and morally supported by the MT Rylsky Institute of Art History, Folklore and Ethnology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (IMPE) .
Ukrainian folk tales
Read more: Ukrainian folk tales (collection of MA Zinchuk)
In 2003, the first volume of the multi-volume "Ukrainian Folk Tales" in 40 books was published in Lviv (Svit Publishing House). At the beginning, MA Zinchuk planned to publish a 24-volume "Ukrainian folk tales", which would cover the fairy-tale material of the western territories of Ukraine, but later he decided to expand its work through a number of central and eastern regions of Ukraine and increase the 24-volume to forty volumes. Zinchuk's ideas were perceived differently in different parts of Ukraine, from warm support to disregard. Materials of Chernihiv, Naddniprianshchyna, Poltava, Kirovohrad and Podillya found their place in the relevant volumes of the publication.
The collection "Ukrainian Folk Tales" in 40 volumes collected, arranged and literary edited by MA Zinchuk has no analogues in world culture in terms of its volume, cultural and scientific value. According to the head of the department of folklore IMFE. MT Rylsky NAS of Ukraine Doctor of Philology MK Dmitrenko collection is "a unique phenomenon not only in Ukrainian but also in world folklore, a significant contribution to domestic science and culture" .
The last years of life
In 2007, Mykola Zinchuk's book of fairy tales "Magic Tales" was published, which was awarded the Volyanyk-Schwabinski International Prize at the Foundation of the Ukrainian University in New York. Tales are imbued with the spirit of Ukrainian folk art.
In 2014, a book of memoirs by MA Zinchuk "Treasuries of Memory" was published by "Bukrek" publishing house.
Mykola Zinchuk died on February 2, 2012 in the village of Dovhopillya, where he lived for most of his life.