Chubun (Struk) Pelagia (1923 – 2014)

PELAGIA CHUBUN (STRUK) (1923–2014) was born in the village of Ivot. In 1939, she graduated from high school. A photo of her graduation class with teachers and students is the centerpiece of the Family Memory Museum. This photograph miraculously survived a punitive action by German troops in March 1943, when more than 300 villagers were killed and many houses were burnt down, including Pelagia’s hut.

During the Nazi occupation, on June 2, 1942, Pelagia was deported for forced labor at the powder factory near the villages of Steyerberg and Libenau. Living in a camp for Ostarbeiters and working at the factory was difficult and exhausting. Pelagia worked 10 hours every day except Sundays. Her job was to cut the powder. Workers received only one portion of food a day and their daily diet consisted of beet soup, a slice of bread and butter.

After returning from Germany in August 1945, Pelagia joined her parents in working at the Progress collective farm in the village of Ivot. She joined a field brigade – they harvested barley with sickles in the corners of the field where the machine could not reach. Her sisters worked in Shostka. They persuaded her to get a job in the city so that she could get a salary and dress properly, because she was not paid any money in the collective farm, and all the property of the family had been burned in the punitive action of the German military during the occupation. Pelagia started working at the Shostka peat company. Here, in 1946, she met her husband, Ivan Chubun, when he came to work for the same enterprise after demobilization. They got married that same year. The couple had five children: Leonid (born 1947), Olexander (born 1949), Petro (born 1951), and two daughters, Nina (born 1953) and Tetiana (born 1962). In 2011, Pelagia received the honorary title of “Hero Mother”. When the children grew up, Pelagia went to work in sales, then as a cinema cashier and a social worker in the social security department of the Shostka City Executive Committee. Caring for a large family and work did not prevent Pelagia from realizing her creative potential. She enjoyed embroidering and singing in a folk music group for many years.