Mykola Nikiforovich Pidlysny was born on February 7th, 1927 in the village of Petrivka, Horodnians’kyj District, Chernihiv Province, Ukraine.The Holodomor was a man-made famine in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic between 1932 and 1933. As many as 8 million Ukrainian peasants died of starvation. Mykola was a young boy of 5 and 6 at the time but remembered being extremely hungry.In his memoirs Mykola wrote about this teen years:
“The village had an incomplete middle school where I finished grade six. Towards the end of the 30’s several of the teachers were arrested and later the pictures of several Ukrainian leaders were cut out of the textbooks as ‘enemies of the people’. We were forced to parade with placards praising the Soviet leaders.”
On June 22, 1941 Germany invaded Ukraine. Mykola at the age of 14 was one of several million civilians from the “conquered” eastern territories that were sent to Germany to do forced labour, Ostarbeiter (Eastern Worker) Program.After the war, Mykola refused to return to Soviet Ukraine and the communist regime that he endured in his childhood. He became a Displaced Person and eventually immigrated to Canada, where he spent much of his energy advocating against the communist terror and the Russification Ukraine.