The Great Famine-Genocide in Soviet Ukraine (Holodomor)


The Ukrainian Weekly
November 12, 2000, No. 46, Vol. LXVIII


Last year, 1,500 Ukrainian Americans in New York demonstrated that they would never forget the Great Famine-Genocide of 1932-1933 that killed between 7 million and 10 million in Ukraine in 1932-1933. They walked in a solemn procession from St. George Ukrainian Catholic Church in Lower Manhattan to St. Patrick's Cathedral uptown, where their numbers doubled and a requiem service was offered in memory of the genocide's victims. It was a visual expression of our community's remembrance of the Ukrainian nation's greatest tragedy - and of our resolve to increase the general public's awareness of this little-known genocide.

This famine, you see, was not a natural disaster, but an atrocity orchestrated by Stalin and his henchmen to destroy a nation using the most heinous of methods: food as a weapon. For decades the Soviets and their fellow travelers - sad to say, some of them from the West - covered up the Famine. Then, when the cover-up was uncovered, they attempted to portray information about the "Velykyi Holod" (Great Famine) as "anti-Soviet propaganda" and hysteria drummed up by "Nazi collaborators," thus attempting to discredit their detractors.

Ultimately the truth is triumphing. Today there are few who question the fact that the Great Famine occurred. However, there are many who remain ignorant of this tragic episode of history.

That is why it is important that we, Ukrainians around the world, each year observe a Famine Remembrance Day. We must mourn and make it clear that we will never forget. We must manifest our strong conviction that this kind of genocide can never again be allowed to happen. We must see to it that others know the truth - for it is the truth that can prevent such atrocities. We must pledge to continue to speak out about the Great Famine - for silence was one of the principal reasons this murderous act of Stalin and his collaborators in crimes against humanity was so successful.

Our community's first annual public commemoration of the Famine-Genocide came in 1998, on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the Great Famine. In 1999 President Leonid Kuchma of Ukraine issued a decree proclaiming a National Day of Remembrance of Famine Victims. Ukrainians around the world followed suit and designated special days of mourning.

This year, Famine Remembrance Day in the United States is on November 18. Again a memorial service is scheduled for St. Patrick's Cathedral. Though many are sure to arrive in New York City for this significant annual commemoration, there is no reason that other communities located far from the metropolitan New York area cannot hold their own solemn observances on the same day. What is needed is a nationwide, indeed, a worldwide day that is designated to annually recall the Great Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine.

It is our solemn obligation as Ukrainians to speak out in remembrance of the Famine's victims and to continually bear witness to this genocide of our nation.

The Ukrainian Weekly, November 12, 2000, No. 46, Vol. LXVIII