Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA)
New York, New York
New York, NY (UCCA) - On November 17, 2001, the Ukrainian American community
commemorated the 68th anniversary of one of the most tragic and well-hidden
pages of Ukraine's history - the Ukrainian famine-genocide of 1932-1933 when
7 - 10 million Ukrainians were exterminated by Stalin and his executioners.
The famine during the years of rich harvest was artificially created to
break the will of Ukraine's national consciousness - specifically the
farmers, who actively resisted Stalin's policies of collectivization and the
right for a free and independent Ukrainian state.
Sponsored by the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), the 68th
observance of the Famine-Genocide took place in St. Patrick's Cathedral in
New York City. Archbishop Anthony of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the
United States opened the requiem service with eloquent remarks and a vivid
description of the suffering and lack of help offered to the Ukrainian
people during their time of greatest need. Then, both the Archbishop and
Metropolitan Stefan Soroka of the Ukrainian Catholic Church conducted a
requiem service (panakhyda) to honor the memory of millions of Ukrainians
who died during the Great Famine. The "Dumka" choir of New York sang the
responses to the requiem service.
Following the religious service, the President of Ukrainian Congress
Committee of America, Michael Sawkiw, Jr., greeted the congregation with an
opening statement tying in the latest terrorist attacks on the United States
with the Ukrainian Famine-Genocide. "The world community bore witness to
modern-day terror in the acts perpetrated on September 11, 2001, and I'm
reminded of Joseph Conrad's book, The Heart of Darkness, where the author
eloquently depicts the loss of societal values and responsibilities as 'man'
s inhumanity to man.'" Mr. Sawkiw continued by stating, "Only when examined
in this context can one truly fathom the full significance and magnitude in
national and human terms of the genocidal act instigated upon the Ukrainian
In continuing with the program, Mr. Sawkiw introduced H.E. Amb. Kostyantyn
Hryshchenko, Ukraine's Ambassador to the United States, who delivered the
keynote address. Amb. Hryshchenko mentioned the brutal tactics orchestrated
by the Stalinist regime to annihilate the Ukrainian people, claiming that
the lack of information also led to the grave consequences of that time
period. To this degree, the ambassador acknowledged the role of the
Ukrainian Diaspora in propagating the Ukrainian Famine: "Exiled Ukrainians
around the world spent decades in resolute struggle for acknowledgment of
this tragedy by the world community. Still, many governments and mass media
did not believe or did not want to believe that the Famine actually
happened." The ambassador also stated that the attacks on September 11, 2001
and the Ukrainian Famine 68 years ago have strengthened the unity between
our two nations.
Mr. Sawkiw also mentioned several members of the United States Congress, who
joined together with the Ukrainian American community in commemorating the
horrific events of 1932-1933 with remarks delivered on the House floor.
Among them were Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI), Rep.
Maurice Hinchey (D-NY), Rep. Michael McNulty (D-NY), Rep. Bob Schaffer
(R-CO), Rep. Steven Horn (D-CA), and the Helsinki Commission co-chair, Rep.
Chris Smith (R-NJ), all of which are members of the Congressional Ukrainian
Caucus [full texts enclosed]. The UCCA President also read a letter from
President George W. Bush to the Ukrainian American community on behalf of
this sorrowful anniversary. In his statement, President Bush remarked: "We
honor the memories of those who died and pledge to never forget their
suffering in the face of evil...As we confront the challenges of a new era,
the leadership and the people of Ukraine owe it to the victims of the Famine
to ensure that their dream of an independent, democratic, and prosperous
Ukraine is fully realized"
Additionally, Ukraine's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, H.E.
Valeriy Kuchinsky, delivered a statement on behalf of the Minister of
Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, Anatoli Zlenko, in which he stated: "The Famine
touched the very foundations of our nation. The totalitarian machine, which
targeted humankind, brutally and violently wounded the Ukrainian people and
struck our soil with tragic ordeals." Unfortunately, due to his busy
schedule, the Governor of the State of New York, George E. Pataki, could not
be present at the observance and sent his representative, Ms. Orysia
Woloszyn, to deliver an Executive Proclamation in recognition of the
Ukrainian Famine. The proclamation states: "Whereas, the Ukrainian famine of
1932-1933 is truly a painful chapter in the history of Ukraine, the
magnitude of this tragedy becomes even greater in view of the fact that the
famine was not the result of natural causes, but was induced as a brutal
Soviet policy directed against the Ukrainian people...Now, Therefore, I,
George E. Pataki, Governor of the State of New York, do hereby proclaim
November 17, 2001 as UKRAINIAN FAMINE DAY OF REMEMBRANCE in the Empire State
and encourage the world community to recognize that the best safeguard
against future atrocities of this nature to maintain and ensure support for
an independent Ukrainian State"
His Eminence Edward Cardinal Egan, Archbishop of New York, provided
inspirational remarks. Cardinal Egan was present throughout the entire
religious service and was introduced at the end of the program by
Metropolitan Stefan Soroka. In his remarks to the faithful gathered,
Cardinal Egan recollected upon his days in Chicago, his cooperation with the
Ukrainian Catholic Diocese there, and a gold-encrusted Holy Book he received
from Bishop Basil Losten on which he was anointed as Cardinal of New York.
He continued by speaking of the need to remember the victims of the
Ukrainian famine-genocide, a heinous act against mankind, equating it to the
September 11, 2001 acts in New York and Washington, whereby victims of
calculated political evil do not die in vain, since "God has not forgotten
In concluding the program, Metropolitan Stefan Soroka thanked the
participants of the memorial service and offered his reflection of the
reasons the world must never forget the Ukrainian Famine-Genocide, or other
acts of terror. The Metropolitan requested that the service end with the
singing of "Боже Великий Єдиний" (Oh Great God) and "God Bless America,"
which was performed by the "Dumka" Choir.
Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA)