PERSONAL REFLECTIONS IN MEMORY OF DANYLO M. KURDELCHUK
One year ago, Danylo M. Kurdelchuk departed into eternity at the age of 72 after a long battle with cancer. At the time of his passing, I had known Danylo for a quarter of a century - our friendship began shortly after Ukraine declared its sovereignty.
I was first introduced to Danylo in October of 1991, when Ukrainian lawyers from around the world met in Kyiv at the First International Conference of Ukrainian Attorneys and Jurists. A few months later, Danylo made his first trip outside the boundaries of the former Soviet Union and came to the United States where he was introduced to the Ukrainian American Bar Association (UABA). From that time forward, he became a steadfast supporter of the UABA. Over the years, he, together with members of Ukriniurkoleguia, attended and actively participated in many UABA conventions and in various lawyer organizations such as the World Congress of Ukrainian Jurists.
We also developed a business relationship. We participated as co-counsel in numerous matters; from cases of minor significance to massive class actions of international impact - litigations against German and Austrian industry to obtain compensation for Ukrainian forced and slave laborers in WWII (Ost-arbiters). Danylo’s professional qualifications as a great lawyer and legal scholar are internationally well known and acknowledged. Danylo represented embassies of EU countries and was the Honorary Consul of Panama for many years; and he received numerous accolades internationally and from the Ukrainian legal community.
On many of my trips to Ukraine, I would stay at Danylo’s home rather than in a hotel. These interactions with Danylo gave me the opportunity to acquire a personal bond and insight into the essence of Danylo’s character. Not only was he a great lawyer, but also a Ukrainian patriot. He was the guiding force behind the Volyn Brotherhood and instrumental in fostering many projects to advance Ukraine’s independence - politically, culturally, and spiritually. But most importantly, Danylo was trustworthy and loyal to his friends and co-workers. And yes, he was stubborn – and it was that stubbornness that helped him fight his cancer for so many years. Vichnaya Pam'yat!