The Great Famine-Genocide in Soviet Ukraine (Holodomor)


Hon. David Kilgour, M.P.
Edmonton Southeast


The following are excerpts of remarks by Hon. David Kilgour at the Commemoration of the 65th Anniversary of the Man-made Famine in Ukraine, Sponsored by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (Edmonton Branch), City Hall Plaza, Edmonton, June 6, 1998.

On behalf of the Government of Canada, permit me to extend heartfelt regards to all members of the Ukrainian community here in Edmonton and across Canada on this solemn occasion commemorating the 65th anniversary of the artificially created famine in Ukraine.

We have gathered here today to remember one of the darkest chapters in the history of Ukraine and the twentieth century world.

Sixty-five years ago, the Ukrainian people became victims of a conscious and deliberate genocide, the magnitude of which had no precedents in the history of mankind.

In order to completely destroy Ukraine's aspirations towards independence, and to crush its opposition to collectivization, the Stalin communists resorted to physical extinction of millions of innocent people. A report by a prominent Belgian daily, Le Flandre Liberale, published on September 2, 1933, captures graphically the drama and the tragedy unfolding in Ukraine:

".So Ukraine is dying. The Ukrainians are dying of hunger. This is a great calamity not only for Ukraine and the Ukrainians, but for the culture of Russia, Europe and even the whole world. For this dying land was once a great production centre of agriculture . The soil is not changed, only the people have. This is where we have to look for the causes of the great drama in which a whole nation has become sacrificial victim."

One man's inhumanity was taking place right before the eyes of the democratic world. With few exceptions, most of the world leaders of the day remained silent.

Yet this terrible atrocity, and the suffering and the devastation of World War II did not succeed in breaking the spirit of the Ukrainian people. To paraphrase the words of Ukraine's President Kuchma, Ukraine rose from the ashes of the ruin like the mythical phoenix. Seven years ago the whole world watched the spectacular rebirth of the country for so long under foreign oppression.

Special ceremonies marking the 65th anniversary of the Ukraine famine are being held across Canada, Ukraine and other parts of the world. Let us fervently pray that through the commemoration of this tragic event and through perpetuating the memory of those who perished, we can ensure that this crime will forever be engraved in the collective conscious of humankind. Let us all pray that the future of Ukraine and the world will reflect the lessons of all painful memories of the past. Let us hope that tragedies like this never, ever happen again.