Recently, the Reserve received unique photographs of the beginning of the 20th century from a resident of Kyiv, Ms. Tetyana Andreyeva. They belong to the family of Olena Wasser, the second wife of Pyotr Hryhorovych Stetsenko. Petro was born into a large Stetsenko family in Kvitky in 1880. His younger brother is the famous composer Kyrylo Hryhorovich Stetsenko.
In 1919–1922, Petro Stetsenko toured Europe together with the Ukrainian Republican Chapel of Oleksandr Koshyts. When the band toured America, he formed his own 16-person band in Berlin, then moved with the band to Paris. After the chapel went bankrupt, he went to Vienna, where he worked in a factory.
In 1925, Petro Stetsenko returned to Ukraine, where he met his second wife. Her name was Olena. She was born at the beginning of the 20th century in the family of Tetyana Maksimivna (Konovalenko) and Wesser (name unknown), a German by origin. In addition to Elena, they also had a son, Volodymyr. In the photos, we see the Vesser family with still small children – Olena and Volodymyr. The photographs are also interesting from an ethnographic point of view, in particular, the Ukrainian national dress attracts attention.
In 1930, a daughter, Kira, was born in the family of Olena and Petro Stetsenko, who lived in Kyiv at that time. A few years later, they moved to Kamianets-Podilskyi, where Petro Hryhorovych taught music. Kira Petrivna told a rather touching story about the Holodomor years: “My dad brought the dog Hector into the house. And then, when the puppy grew up, it turned out that we lived with a Doberman Pinscher – a born guard. Hector was drafted into the army and could be taken away at any moment. But the most important thing: he received food as a soldier. So, thanks to the dog, we survived the Holodomor.” In the photo we received, Kira is still very small.
On August 21, 1937, Petro Hryhorovych was arrested. During the interrogation, he threw himself out of the window of the third floor of the NKVD building. Rehabilitated on April 18, 2000.
Kira Stetsenko (married Tsaregradska) inherited her love for Ukrainian music. She is a musician, a chamber singer, and an active public figure. Together with her husband Oleksandr (died in 2012), children Olena and Petro, who are also in love with Ukrainian songs, she lives in the USA. For many years, she directed the church choir in the parish of St. Michael and St. Yuriy in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota.