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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

The gift of humaneness

It is three years since Klara Gudzyk departed this life
13 January, 2014 - 16:10
Photo from The Day’s archive

The 17-year-long history of Den is, above all, a history of Personalities who would make the newspaper every day and present our readers with new ideas, images, and creations every hour. James Mace, Anatolii Kazansky, Leonid Bakka… They were the true classics of the newspaper, and, but for these people’s contribution, it would be impossible to imagine the creative path of our publication. They are no longer among us, but the spiritual and intellectual memory of their achievements, life, and work will never die.

The figure of Klara Gudzyk, who passed away three years ago, on January 9, 2011, is special in this line. Den’s Golden Pen winner, an absolutely brilliant political writer (stunningly, a cyberneticist, not a journalist, by education), a true Ukrainian intellectual, a personality whose knowledge in almost all the humanities was boundless, whose articles – above all, on the extremely difficult problems of our spiritual and religious life – rightly became the newspaper’s hallmark and had nationwide repercussions, whose weekly Friday column was read all over Ukraine – all this is our Klara Gudzyk.

“There was and still is journalism of a very high level in Ukraine. Yes, it is represented by ‘crystals,’ a small number of people,” says Larysa IVSHYNA, editor-in-chief of Den. “I happened to hear this phrase from various audiences: ‘I wish we had a dozen of ones like Klara Gudzyk.’ And I say: but have you read well the one we had? Have you learned her lesson? The lesson lies in self-improvement, modesty, and hard work, in the incredibly high standards that she set herself as long ago as in the Soviet era. Klara Gudzyk told me that she used to spend her modest earnings of a teacher on journeys – for example, to travel immediately to Leningrad or some other city to attend a premiere… And when independence came, Klara always said: ‘What a pity that this occurred so late for me!’ She was not one of those Soviet people who missed their youth and were nostalgic for the past. She was very glad. And she, a cyberneticist, changed her occupation and became a journalist. Moreover, she took up such unexpected and presumably ‘lost’ journalistic topics as philosophy, history of religion, and ethics. Her political writing helped Den rise to an unheard-of height in these matters. And I am very happy that I persuaded Ms. Gudzyk to publish The Apocrypha of Klara Gudzyk and that this book came out when she was still alive. Ms. Gudzyk could see with pleasure that what she was doing was very valuable. She balked at first, saying ‘Oh no, who needs this?’ But then she understood what good she had done by setting such a high bar. I say in the foreword to the book that ‘Klara Gudzyk daringly calls on Tacit, Pliny the Younger, and Suetonius to be her allies.’ I am saying this perhaps to those who do not read the print media and are too ashamed to admit that they don’t read thick books. Incidentally, Klara could have been a good Facebooker. But this is too little, so she learned German and English on her own to be able to read her favorite Feuchtwanger and Dickens in the original. For this reason, we want to republish her book this year because there is only one or two copies left at the editorial office. I would advise everyone to keep this book on their desk.

“Please look attentively at the back cover picture. There is an unusual and fantastic story behind this photo. It is the famous moment when Ms. Gudzyk is handing Den’s electronic library to Pope John Paul II. I must say for history that it is the No.2 copy. Nobody but us has a library like this. It is in three volumes that span 1996 through 1998, including the Den period that I call ‘our alibi to history.’ Serhii Krymsky used to say that while there are ‘mirror newspapers,’ Den is a ‘window.’ Ms. Gudzyk used to broaden this space for us. It was possible to arrange an audience with the Pope because Klara Gudzyk had been chosen for her Den publications. Interestingly, she first addressed the pontiff in Polish and he replied to her in Ukrainian.”

Klara Gudzyk showed us an example of high Christian morality and a rare gift of humaneness. God rest her soul!