ANDREI MAKARENKO 1885 – 1963 By Roman Cherwonogrodzky
“Chlen Direktorii, YHP” – “Member of the Presidency, Ukrainian National Republic”
During Ukraine’s independence following the First World War, seven served as Head of State of Ukraine either as President, Chairman, Director, Hetman, or Supreme Hetman. Andrei Harvrylovych (Gabriel) Makarenko shared the Presidency of Ukraine from February 10, 1919 until May 25, 1920 in a triumvirate known as “The Directorate” with Simeon Petliura and Fedir Shvets.
Director Makarenko was born on July 17, 1885 in the historic Ukrainian city of Hadyachi in Poltava region, to a village family, whose beginnings are traced to Cossack roots. He represented the railway workers of Ukraine in the country’s struggle for independence immediately after World War I. When a German backed government under Hetman Skoropadsky occupied Kyiv in November 1918, an alternate government was established as The Directorate, initially chaired by Volodymyr Vynnychenko. Vynnychenko left the ruling committee on Feb. 10, 1919 leaving Petliura, Shvets, Makarenko and Opanas Andrievsky. Andrievskty resigned from The Directorate on April 29, 1919, and according to theUkrainian Encyclopedia of Ukraine, “Only three Members remained in the Directory. Their powers were not clearly delineated.” In essence, the remaining three shared the Presidency of Ukraine. On November 15 of that year, Makarenko and Shvets were asked to travel to west Europe on a diplomatic assignment to raise political, military and financial support for the fledgling republic. On May 21, 1919, Petliura summoned the two to return to Ukraine, knowing the war with Poland, Royalist Russian and Bolchevik Russian forces would prohibit their safe arrival. Four days later, the two were dismissed from the Directorate and Petliura assumed sole control of the Ukrainian government until its collapse in November 1920.
Makarenko continued a life-long pursuit of independence for Ukraine. Together with Shvets and Andrievsky, he established the Ukrainian National Rada (Parliament) in Prague in 1928. This government-in-exile continued to represent Ukraine as a nation until its full independence in August 1991. Makarenko was closely involved with the government of Carpatho-Ukraine Republic (1939) as advisor to its President Avgustyn Voloshyn. He also lived in Berlin, Vienna and Prague. One source lists Makarenko as having earned a Doctorate degree.
In 1945, Makarenko was placed in the Ukrainian displaced persons’ camp in Regensburg, Germany, until his family moved to Houston via New Orleans in 1950. They sailed from Bremenhaven, Germany to New York City on the General J.H. McRae. On the USS Gen. W.M. Black, Feb. 26, 1950, the manifest in New Orleans listed the Makarenko family as “Stateless” while others listed their place of origin as Poland, Russia, Hungary, and such. It appears he insisted on declaring his country of origin as Ukraine, but since the country was part of the Soviet Union, port authorities listed his family accordingly.
On June 12, 1950, Makarenko and his family became American citizens. Also using the names Andrew and Andreas, he worked as an economist in Houston.
During Soviet times, religions in Ukraine were limited to Ukrainian Greek Catholic, Ukrainian Autocephelous, Russian Orthodox, Jewish and Muslim faiths. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kyiv Patriarch did not come into existence until 1992. In 1952, Makarenko together with Orthodox Russians and Ukrainians in Houston established St. Vladimir Russian Orthodox Church.
On September 28, 1963, at 7:35 p.m., Director Makarenko passed away as a result of a heart attack. Although he was an American citizen and resident, his death certificate lists his country of citizenship as Ukraine. His son Wasyl (Vasyl) would lecture occasionally as a civil engineer at the Ukrainian Technical Institute in Regensberg, Germany. Andrei’s wife Barbara passed away in 1972, and his son Wasyl (born Jan. 12, 1912 in Kyiv) died October 1, 1998. Both are interned next to Andrei Makarenko.
Director Makarenko was interned in the Russian Orthodox section of Forest Park Cemetery, but moved to another site in 1964, and again to his final resting place in 1967. The upcoming Panahyda service at his grave site may be the first time his final place has been blessed and consecrated by a Ukrainian religion.
It appears that Director Makarenko is the only Ukrainian President not buried in Europe, and except for the Presidents of the Republic of Texas, may be the only foreign Head of State buried in Texas.