Advanced Search:

Regular Search
❮ Go Back to Listings


Born: Dec 25, 1919

Date of Passing: Jan 24, 2022

Send Flowers to the Family Offer Condolences or Memory

Adjust Text Size: A+ A-

December 25, 1919 - January 24, 2022

On January 24, 2022, Sofia Hull (born Mytsyshyn) left her earthly life of 102 years to begin her eternal life in God's presence. She was born on December 25, 1919 in the village of Biloholov, Zborivsky rayon, Ternopilska oblast, western Ukraine. One of the great moments of her life was visiting her remaining family as the Soviet Union was collapsing. It was the first time in 50 years that she had an opportunity to see them. In her words "life under Stalin and Hitler wasn't living. My life began when I came to Canada." She always said that Canada was the best country in the world and she was very proud to be a Canadian. Sofie and her husband never missed an opportunity to vote, knowing that people in other places were denied this right.
Sofia's early life was one of great struggle. Her father died when she was a young child and her mother when Sofie was a teenager. She and her four siblings remained in the house, honourably doing what they could to stay alive, until the Nazis invaded. At that point, Sofia was caught by the Nazis and was to be transported to Germany as a slave labourer. She managed to get to her family home to let her siblings know what was happening, leaving anything of value (her shoes, a skirt) for their use. She and many others were herded onto an open cattle car to travel from Ukraine to Germany. The trip was an arduous one. It was cold; only a few had food, certainly not enough to share with everyone as people huddled together for warmth. Sofie arrived in Mainz-Hechtsheim in bare feet, only the clothing she wore and with her earthly goods tied up in a small kerchief. She was assigned to the Lemb family, who owned land and a small business. Her job was to tend to the cows, work on the land and pick grapes during harvest. She stayed there until the end of the war when all foreigners were told to report to displaced persons camps. The closest camp for Ukrainians was in Mainz-Kastel, across the river in the Wiesbaden area. She joined her friends from her village who arrived at the DP camp earlier. Fortunately, this camp was in the American zone.
It was here that she met Andrew. After their first evening, he told her that he was going to marry her, and he did - within a month. Lent was coming, so why wait? She and Andrew were married on February 23, 1946, at the church the internees built. Sofia wore a borrowed white dress that was passed around to every small woman who was getting married. Here too, food was not plentiful. One of her friends went to the women she knew to borrow flour to bake bread. The close friends she had stayed with had managed to obtain some old cabbages. Andrew went to someone in the French zone to buy wine. Their wedding feast consisted of fresh baked bread, fried cabbage, and wine. Fifteen people attended the wedding. They "honeymooned" in a room shared with three other couples, with blankets hanging on ropes to separate the spaces. Then in April, they were married in a civil ceremony, as required by German law at the time.
In May of 1948, their daughter Orysia was born. This was a time when the Russians (Soviets) were insisting that Ukrainians return to their homeland, causing worry and stress among the residents of DP camps all over Germany. Camp newspapers told the stories of some who were killed by the Soviets as soon as they crossed the border. Others were told that if you could work for the Germans for five years, you can work for the Russians and were sent to Siberia. The fear of being ruled by Soviets again was so great that suicide was used as an escape. At the same time, Eleanor Roosevelt was trying to convince their United Nations that the world had an obligation to these people without a state for no reason of their own. Because Mainz-Kastel was in the American zone, Mrs. Roosevelt went through the camp, room by room, with an interpreter to tell residents of the camp that they did not have to return if they did not want to do so. Sofia and Andrew made the decision not to return, thus applying to the United States and to Canada because Andrew had a relative in each, he was able to make contact with his cousin, Fr. Stepan Semczuk, in Winnipeg, who began the paperwork to bring the family to Canada.
It was here that Sofia thrived. She enjoyed her little house, preparing food for her family, planting flowers and vegetables in her garden and harvesting her "crops". At first, they lived in the Brooklands area, then the Luxton area, and finally West Kildonan. They became members of St. Joseph Ukrainian Catholic Church in February of 1955 and were faithful until the end. Sofia always had a warm heart for the Redemptorist Fathers. Father Shyshkowich would "drop by" on Fridays at supper for a visit because Sofia made the best Varenyky. She cooked and baked, Ukrainian Style. Sofia always had empathy for others, especially those suffering or in need. She would find a way to help. The way she treated people was an example to others; many life lessons were learned in discussion with Sofia. She is truly missed, but how fortunate we are to have known her.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, January 29, 2022, at 10:00 a.m. in St. Joseph's Church, 250 Jefferson Avenue, Winnipeg. Burial will take place at Holy Family Cemetery. Due to COVID restrictions, attendance is by invitation only.

(204) 956 - 2193
Condolences may be sent to

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Jan 28, 2022

Condolences & Memories (4 entries)

  • A story of hardship, strength, faith, love, and resilience. Many of these stories are dying with our seniors. I would like to see a compliation of this and other stories of hardships people endured in order to survive. I think it would have been a pleasure to have met Sofia!! She sounds like a great lady. Condolences to her family and friends. - Posted by: Linda Adams (An admiring reader) on: Jan 31, 2022

  • What an amazing life Sofia had!! And that's putting it mildly...Am sure anyone who knew her were always inspired by her resilience & love of survive no matter what!! Beyond amazing!!! Our Love & Respect for her..even tho' we never met her..goes beyond words.. & we say to her family & friends.. Please accept our Sympathy on the passing of such a GREAT lady. GOD BLESS... Carol (P.S...Please forgive me for asking this question at this time..but has anyone given any thought to writing a book about Sofia's amazing life of survival?..) - Posted by: Carol Baxted () on: Jan 30, 2022

  • What a life story of love hardships and true devotion to God. Thank you for your life and dedication. Rest in Peace - Posted by: Evelyn Zwarych (Friend) on: Jan 28, 2022

  • Thank you for sharing this beautiful life story. Bless you all. - Posted by: Iris Rountree (Reader) on: Jan 28, 2022

❮ Go Back to Listings