The Great Famine-Genocide in Soviet Ukraine (Holodomor)


Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA)
New York, New York
November, 2001


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 people."

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 them."

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)