The Long and Rich History of Ukrainians in Baltimore – CBS Baltimore

BALTIMORE (WJZ) – Ukrainian immigrants who made the Baltimore area their home decades ago reflect on what is happening in their country now.

“It just brings me to tears, and the worst part is, I feel helpless. There’s nothing I can do about it,” said Orest Poliszczuk.

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He was born in Ukraine and came to the United States by ship in 1949 at the age of 7.

The Poliszczuk family lived on a farm in Cockeysville for a year to fulfill their commuting obligations, as many other Ukrainians did throughout Maryland. After their job was done, the family moved to Fells Point.

According to the Maryland Preservation, Fells Point, along with Patterson Park, Canton, and Curtis Bay, is one of the most popular communities for resettled Ukrainian immigrants.

“It really started in earnest in the 1870s-1890s. That’s when we saw the largest influx of Ukrainian immigrants to Maryland and especially Baltimore,” said Nicholas Redding, the organization’s president and chief executive officer.

The Ukrainians founded a church on Wolfe Street in Fells Point, but in the end this church outlasted.

A new spiritual home built in the 1990s: the iconic Ukrainian Catholic Church of Saint Michael the Archangel in Patterson Park.

“I get goosebumps every time I approach it from different parts of the city,” says Poliszczuk.

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Baltimore and the whole of America became a ray of hope for other immigrants, including Victoria Clausen.

“I just turned 21, couldn’t bring my parents with me and didn’t finish school so I prayed a lot about that,” Clausen said.

With $100 in his pocket, Clausen had to find work soon after arriving in America.

“I saw a flower shop opening in downtown Baltimore,” she said.

There, her passion for flower arranging blossomed and it wasn’t long before she was able to open a shop of her own.

“It is definitely difficult. I won’t deny, there were a lot of tears,” she said. “But the way I was raised, quitting was not an option.”

As communities watch the war in Ukraine unfold before their eyes, people like Clausen and Orest can’t help but think of their friends and family, who are still in the war-torn country. .

She is currently using her 20 years of experience as a florist to donate to her people, selling and receiving Venmo donations. This money will go directly to those in need, including new mothers.

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“Ukraine has always been my home, but Baltimore, Maryland really feels at home,” she said. The Long and Rich History of Ukrainians in Baltimore – CBS Baltimore

Jake Nichol

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