Lviv: Ukrainske Vydavnitstvo, 1944. Item #1919
62,  p.: ill. 16,6x12,2 cm. Original illustrated wrapper. Near fine condition. The stamp on the half-title reads: «Geschenk Der Regierung des Generalgouvernements’ [i.e. The gift of the administration of General Province].
First and only edition. In Ukrainian. The rare survival of its time, one of the last books printed in Lviv under Nazi occupation by a local Ukrainian author from Donbass.
Author of this book Grigoriy Stetsenko, an author from a place Druzhkovka near Kramatorsk, who made his name in 1930s by publishing the short stories and novels from the life of Donbass miners in Soviet periodicals. In 1940 he was relocated to Lviv after Western Ukraine was annexed by USSR with a group of writers and poets, that were there
to help integrate the locals literary scene into the soviet reality. However, by 1941 he found himself under Nazi administration. Little is known about his activities in 1941-1944, this is the only title of his that we managed to track during those years.
The series ‘Moya Knizhechka’ of which this is 46th issue, was established in 1941 by Krakow publisher ‘Ukrainske Vydavnitstvo’ that later branched out to Lviv. This must be one of the last children’s books published by them - as by 27th of July, 1944 Lviv was completely controlled by Red Army. Okhrim Sudomora (1889-1968), the artist behind the wrapper design as well as the 11 illustrations for this book, was a well-known Kyiv artist. He has been illustrating children’s books and periodicals since 1910s, and stayed in Kyiv after the 1941. In 1941-43 he was also contributing to Ukrainian Nazi periodical ‘Nove ukrayins'ke slovo’, that was printed in Kharkiv. When Kyiv was captured by the Soviets, he moved to Lviv, where he briefly worked. Both author and the artists were not able to flee Lviv in 1944, and soon they were sentenced to incarceration by after-war Ukrainian Soviet
officials. While the fate of Stetsenko is unknown, Sudomora was released in 1955 with the general amnesty and died in 1968 in Kyiv.
The stamp indicates that part of the print-run was probably obtained by the Generalgouvernement (the administration unit consisting of Poland and part of Ukraine) and given as gifts likely to local school libraries. The fact that book survived in such flawless condition probably tells us that it was never read by the children of Lviv, as historical circumstances were transitioning towards a change.
The only paper copy in USA is at Harvard University, according to Worldcat.