Repression against women - university professors (based on the archival investigation of the proceeding against Josephine Dindo)

  • A. I. Dovzhyk Borys Grinchenko Kyiv university
Keywords: political repression, women university professors, archival-investigation cases, Kyiv art institute, sculptress Josephine Dindo, «album» NKVD operation


This article is based on the archival investigation and private documents from the fund of Soviet sculptors, led by Bernard Kratkо and Josephine Dindo. It is a research, based on the biography of Josephine Dindo, the associate professor of Kiev Art Institute, a sculptress. The repression against the scientific and pedagogical intelligentsia in 1930s have been studied on the basis of biographical researches. Josephine Dindo was one of many women, female university professors, who experienced Stalin’s repression.Archival investigation proceedings against Josephine Dindo have been studied, it was saved in the Central State Archive of Public Organizations of Ukraine. After revealing, it helps to clarify and to understand better the artist’s biography.Josephine Dindo was born in Poland, then she graduated from Kharkov Art Institute. Together with a group of artists led by Mykhailo Boychuk, she participated in the design of Rural resort in Odessa and created there bas-reliefs in Boychuk’s manner. She created sculptures of Soviet women toilers «Delegatka», «Batrachka», «Posudnytsya», «Molochnytsya,» «Zhnytsya» «Burachnytsya», children’s sculptures, portraits and more. Her sculptures were recreated in porcelain in Horodnytskyi porcelain factory. While being a deputy head of the department in Odessa Art Institute, she reformed the training system for artists. She worked as an assistant professor in Kyiv Art Institute, where she was supervising a group of 10 sculptors during their graduation procedure. In June 1937 Josephine Dindo was arrested on charges of espionage for Poland and belonging to a terrorist counter-revolutionary organization which was led by Michael Boychuk, Ivan Padalka, Basil Sedlyar. She did not find herself guilty. In November 1937 special meeting of the NKVD of the USSR issued a verdict of 10 years of corrective labor camps.In the second volume of an archival investigation file, researchers found evidence of the use of violent methods of investigation, such as beatings, tortures, humiliation of a human dignity and abuse of the prisoner. Names of the investigators, who took part in the fabrication of the case have been found, and their fates have been tracked. After retrial in 1940 it was decided to reduce her sentence. It was decreased to the time equivalent to already served term (3,5 years) due to the fact that her counter-revolutionary activities had not been proven, and her sculptural works had elements of formalism and Ukrainian nationalism, and released from custody. Josephine Dindo was posthumously rehabilitated only in 1988.The analysis of the content of archive and investigation case has proved that by all its characteristics it belonged to the so-called «album» NKVD operation against the Polish national minority.In this research of the example of woman’s, teacher’s and a sculptress’s biography the attention has been paid to policies of the Stalinist totalitarian system regarding scientific, educational and artistic intellectuals


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How to Cite
Dovzhyk, A. (2017). Repression against women - university professors (based on the archival investigation of the proceeding against Josephine Dindo). Grani, 20(3), 76-86.