The Great Famine-Genocide in Soviet Ukraine (Holodomor)


By Kara Ouellet , Special to the Register
New Haven, New Haven, CT, Dec 18, 2003

NEW HAVEN, CT.....Call it the holocaust few knew about.

Until Ukraine separated from the Soviet Union in 1991 and its secret archives were opened, the genocide that occurred there in 1932-33 was concealed.

Now, that the magnitude of a man-made famine that killed between seven and 10 million people has been uncovered, Greater New Haven's Ukrainian-American community is doing its part to shed light on this dark patch in world history.

The Ukrainian National Women's League, Branch 108, New Haven, in collaboration with the Connecticut Ukrainian-American Historical Society, a branch of the Ethnic Heritage Center, is sponsoring an exhibit at the center.

Stalin Comes to Power and Liquidation Comes to Ukraine: Two panels of the Ukrainian Holodomor Exhibition when it was first exhibited at the United Nations in NYC in November, 2003
(Click on images to enlarge them)

The display of 26 panels of text and photographs commemorates the 70th anniversary of the man-made Great Famine of Ukraine of 1932-33, also known as "Holodomor," said Christine Melnyk, president of Branch 108.

The exhibit was originally organized at The Ukrainian Museum in New York City, where Melnyk and several League members saw it and wanted to bring it to New Haven, said Melnyk.

The National Board of the Ukrainian National Women's League wanted people to commemorate the tragedy in every city that has a branch, and setting up the exhibit in New Haven was a good way to do that, she said.

The famine was brought on by Stalin's communist regime, which sought to punish farmers supporting the independence of Ukraine from the Soviet Union.

"They didn't want to be collective farmers," said Melnyk. "So they were forced out of their homes and sent to labor camps in the north where they were starved."

According to an article written by Rutgers University professor Tara Hunczak, Stalin imposed unattainable grain production quotas and the farmers starved while Stalin and his government exported millions of tons of grain.

Ukraine's borders were closed to outsiders to prevent any foreign relief services or migration.

Some Historical Information Leading to the Famine and Holodomor: Two panels from the exhibition when it was on display first at the United Nations in New York in November of 2003

Note: The two lower photographs on the left panel were taken in Russia during the famine of 1921-1922 and are shown for illustration purposes only as no photographs were allowed in Ukraine during the genocidal famine of 1932-1933.

The genocide was covered up until 1991 when records were finally opened. Walter Duranty, a famous New York Times reporter, was implicated in the cover-up and now many Ukrainian Americans are demanding the revocation of his Pulitzer Prize.

Members of Branch 108 are hoping to raise public awareness about the famine. They are concerned about the absence of the event from students' curriculums and the lack of general public knowledge.

"This was a hidden famine that we need to bring to life," said Melnyk. "It's important for educators to come in and try to incorporate it into their curriculum."

The Holodomor exhibit will be on display at the Ethnic Heritage Center at 270 Fitch St. until Sunday, said Melnyk.

The exhibit is free and open to the public, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Any educators who are interested in bringing their students to the display and anyone who is interested in more information should call the Heritage Center at 392-6126, or Gloria Horbaty at 269-5909.

A visitor viewing two panels from the genocidal famine (holodomor) exhibition, organized by The Ukrainian Museum in New York City when it first was displayed at the United Nations in November, 2003

Photographs by the  Information Service (ARTUIS)