George Orwell and the Ukrainian Refugees: The Untold Story of Animal Farm. A Talk by Andrea Chalupa, Journalist & Writer, New York

We are delighted to invite you to a talk: George Orwell and the Ukrainian Refugees: The Untold Story of Animal Farm at the Ukrainian Institute on Thursday, July 19th at 7.00PM. 

To commemorate the 65th anniversary of the special Ukrainian edition of Animal Farm, Andrea Chalupa will share the little known story of Orwell and the Ukrainian refugees. She is the author of a screenplay inspired by this history that is currently in development in Europe.

After having spent years working on the manuscript, George Orwell struggled to find a publisher for Animal Farm. An anti-Soviet satire was not welcome at a time when the West needed Stalin to fight Hitler, and leading intellectuals still believed in the promise of the Russian Revolution. Orwell managed to publish his novella in 1945 at a small press for a meagre sum. 

Soon after, a copy ended up in a displaced persons camp in Germany, in the hands of a young linguist scholar from western Ukraine, Ihor Sevcenko, who recognized its profound meaning. Sevcenko wrote to Orwell in London, and, working with him by letter, publishedAnimal Farm in Ukrainian. Orwell wrote a preface to the Ukrainian edition.

In March 1947, Sevcenko printed around 3,500 copies, distributed them among Ukrainian refugees in the DP camps, but only around 2,000 of the books survived; U.S. soldiers confiscated the rest and handed them over to Soviet authorities to be destroyed as propaganda. Andrea’s uncle Vitalij Keis held on to the copy he had received as a teenager living in the Heidenau DP camp and brought it with him when his family immigrated to the U.S., and many years later gave it to his niece. 

Their story of Soviet family history is explored in The Atlantic, National Public Radio, andOrwell and the Refugees: The Untold Story of Animal Farman ebook available on Amazon.com. 

Andrea Chalupa is a writer, journalist, and producer in New York. She is the author of the 2012 eBook Orwell and the Refugees: The Untold Story of Animal Farm.

Andrea helped launch online video for Condé Nast Portfolio and AOL Money & Finance. She reported on-camera for these outlets, covering the 2008 presidential conventions, the Sundance Film Festival, and Ford Motor Company’s Scientific Research Laboratory. Her first screenplay, Man Made, about Stalin’s famine in Ukraine and Orwell’s Animal Farm exposing it to the world, was a finalist for the Sundance Screenwriters Lab and is currently in development in Europe. She is also a host of MoveOn.org’s Team Romney Mobile, a satirical video series following Mitt Romney’s campaign across the country.

More information can be found at www.andreachalupa.com

See also: Preface to the Ukrainian Edition of Animal Farm by George Orwell, March 1947

All Welcome. Free Admission