Today is the 70th anniversary of the great famine in Ukraine, which was not due to drought. Rather, it was caused by anti-Ukrainian policies of Joseph Stalin and his communist regime. The result? Some 5 to 10 MILLION Ukrainians perished - more than the Jewish Holocaust. Many Ukrainians of the diaspora are commemorating this event today: remembering their lost relatives and loved ones, and organizing Panakhydas. In Canada, at 12:00 noon today, Ukrainian churches rang their bells in memory of the departed, a great many who were Orthodox faithful. I ask you to remember in your prayers today the many millions who suffered, died, and lost loved ones at the hands of Stalin during the terrible years of 1932 and 1933.
Please check out the following articles:
FROM THE MONTREAL GAZETTE:http://www.canada.com/montreal/montrealgazette/story.asp?id=CBD2B8D4-A824-4D65-A2F4-45A11D926EE9
Memorial marks Famine of 1932-33. Survivors call it a genocide, deliberately started by Stalin's agricultural policy
Sunday, November 23, 2003
Ukrainian famine survivors Anna Melnyk (foreground), Vera Wusaty (from left), Teodor Cechmistro, and Michael Hayduk, wait for a memorial mass to start yesterday.
CREDIT: IAN BARRETT, SPECIAL TO THE GAZETTE
Vera Wusaty, 73, could not fight back her tears recalling the horrible way two of her cousins died in the 1932-1933 famine in Ukraine.
"There was absolutely nothing to eat and hundreds of people were dying every day," said Wusaty at a memorial held yesterday to honour about 7 million Ukrainians who died of starvation.
"The family had three children, but did not have any food. So, the parents had to make a decision. They picked one of their children and they gave him the small bits of food they had and left the other two to die. They had no other choice," she added.
But the memories of seeing their children die of hunger, haunted the parents for the rest of their lives.
"I never saw them smiling after the death of their children," she said at the memorial, which was held at the Ukrainian Youth Centre on Beaubien St. E.
Members of the Ukrainian community lit candles and prayed for the victims.
The memorial was part of activities held in Montreal to commemorate what Ukrainians say was one of the worst genocides of the 20th century.
They say the famine was deliberately started by the then Soviet leader Joseph Stalin, whose agricultural policy stripped farmers of their produce. Details of the tragedy remained hidden until the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Another survivor of the famine, Michael Hayduk, 79, said villagers had nothing to eat but the grass.
"We used to go in the spring and dig for hours, hoping that we would find some frozen potatoes. The army left nothing in the villages, not even a handful of grain."
This month, a United Nation's declaration recognized the famine as Ukraine's national tragedy. Ukraine has announced November as a remembrance month. The Canadian Senate has agreed to designate every fourth Saturday in November as a day of remembrance.
Also, to commemorate the famine, Montreal's nine Ukrainian churches and the Ukrainian Canadian Congress collected food donations, which will be given to Sun Youth tomorrow.
Ihor Kutash, Montreal congress president, said Ukrainian churches here will ring bells today at noon to honour the victims.
"The lunchtime tolling is symbolic," Kutash said. "We wish to remind the people of the sad fact that millions had lost their lives because of the lack of food."
Present at the memorial yesterday was Andr+Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬ Desroches, Episcopal Vicar for ethnic communities for the Diocese of Montreal and Rabbi Elina Bykova of Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom.email@example.com
'Forgotten Famine' Remembered
By Elizabeth Cady Brown
November 15, 2003, 6:08 PM EST
It is sometimes called the "hidden holocaust" or the "forgotten famine," but 3,000 people marched Manhattan's streets Saturday to show the world they remember.
This week marked the 70th annual commemoration of the eight million to 10 million Ukrainians who were starved to death by Joseph Stalin's Soviet regime between 1932 to 1933.
It was crisp and sunny for the marchers gathered at noon in front of St. George Catholic Church in the East Village. The procession, a sea of blue and gold Ukrainian flags and colorful embroidered head scarves, moved slowly up Third Avenue to Bryant Park, ending at St. Patrick's Cathedral for a requiem Mass. It was at once a celebration of Ukrainian culture and a time of collective mourning.
Paul Makovski, 54, lives in Sheepshead Bay but was born in Ukraine. He remembers clearly his mother's stories about surviving the famine as a young girl in Ukraine's capital, Kiev.
"My mother and her sister ate anything to stay alive," he said. "They would make bread with bark or grass. It was terrible for them."
Another marcher, Sonia Kachorowsky, 52, from Kolomya, Ukraine, recalled the stories her mother had shared of the '32 famine.
"After the Soviets came and took everything, my mother would go to the fields and try to find edible plants in the ground," said Kachorowsky, who lives in Salem, Conn. "She told me the horror of small children dying because their mothers' breasts had nothing, no milk."
Stalin imposed harsh policies against the Ukrainian province in the early 1930s, to crush its growing nationalist movement and organized opposition to collective farming practices. By withholding grain, blocking external aid and destroying Ukrainian infrastructure and farmland, Stalin engineered the deaths of millions of Ukrainians by starvation, including nearly one million children.
Ukraine's permanent representative to the United Nations, Valeriy Kuchynsky, said he hoped Saturday's demonstration would increase international awareness of the genocide.
"We don't want to avenge the history," he said. "The main thing is that mass human rights violations must never be repeated. For that, we must remember."
Kuchynsky expressed optimism that after 70 years the world was finally beginning to understand what had occurred. A U.N. joint statement denouncing Stalin's genocidal policies was signed Friday by more than 50 member states.
The Ukrainian delegation was joined by prominent American politicians, including John Negroponte, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., and Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY). Mayor Michael Bloomberg issued a proclamation this week honoring the victims of the Ukrainian holocaust and declaring the week of November 10th "Ukrainian Famine Remembrance Week" in the city.
Addressing the congregation at St. Patrick's, Schumer said, "When one seeks to remember something of this dimension, it is awfully hard to get one's arms around it. But, if we forget, somewhere on the face of the globe it will happen again. It is our job to let people know what happened to prevent it from ever happening again."
Olha Oloch, 18, moved to Bensonhurst with her parents from Ukraine five years ago and now works at the Ukrainian Museum in Manhattan. She said that visitors often know nothing of the famine or Stalin's repressive policies.
"I want Americans to recognize something like this happened," she said quietly. "The loss of millions of people is tremendous and should be recognized."
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FROM THE UN NEWS CENTREhttp://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=8855&Cr=ukraine&Cr1=
Exhibition on 70th anniversary of Ukraine famine caused by Stalin opens at UN
Amb. Kuchinsky of Ukraine
11 November - An exhibit on the 70th anniversary of the great famine in Ukraine, which took millions of lives due to the forced collectivization policies of Joseph Stalin, has opened at United Nations headquarters in New York with several speakers calling the tragedy a dark page in world history.
"The famine, as you all know, was a significant event in the modern history of Ukraine, but even more in the history of the world because some estimates put the death toll at more than 6 million, which certainly in 20th century human history ranks with the worst atrocities of our time," Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Publication Shashi Tharoor told the opening reception last night.
The exhibits for what has become known as the Man-Made Great Famine in Ukraine 1932-1933 consist of representations of historic materials provided by the Ukrainian museum in New York.
Ukrainian Ambassador Valeriy Kuchinsky told the gathering that the crime of Holodomor (literally murder by hunger) should not be forgotten but that the exhibition was not staged to avenge the past but to prevent any recurrence in the future.
"We are convinced that exposing violations of human rights, preserving historical records and restoring the dignity of victims by recognizing their suffering will help the international community avoid similar catastrophes in the future," he said.
General Assembly President Julian Hunte of St. Lucia, and several former assembly presidents, including Hennady Oudovenko of Ukraine, attended the opening.
Editorial: Inhumanity, and decency, too, remembered
Two grim anniversaries have been commemorated in local churches and synagogues in the last two weeks.
Nov. 9, the 65th anniversary of Kristallnacht, or "the Night of Broken Glass," was observed in a service at St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Marple in conjunction with Temple Sholom.
Seven other Marple-area congregations also commemorated what historians see as the beginning of the Holocaust and the genocide of more than 6 million Jews at the hands of the Nazis.
Yesterday, the 70th anniversary of the Ukrainian Famine, during which more than 7 million Ukrainians died, was observed with a Mass and a program at Holy Ghost Ukrainian Catholic Church in Chester.
In 1932 and 1933, Ukrainian borders were blocked after many peasants resisted communist dictator Josef Stalin’s collective farming policies. Ukrainians were cut off from other sources of food, they were saddled with a heavy grain tax and their reserves were confiscated as state property. Meanwhile tons of wheat were being shipped to western markets.
Kristallnacht was a term coined by the Nazis to minimize and ridicule a pogrom they tried to blame on the Jews.
It was triggered after Herschel Grynszpan shot a German diplomat Nov. 7, 1938 in Paris in retaliation for his father, a Polish Jew, being forced out of Germany into a relocation camp on the Polish frontier.
The diplomat died Nov. 9, 1938. On the nights of Nov. 9 and 10, Nazi Sturmabteilung militia descended. Storm troopers dragged Jewish merchants into the streets and destroyed shops, synagogues and homes in Germany, Austria and in Danzig, the German name for the Polish port of Gdansk.
The trail of glass they left on the streets inspired Nazi official Walter Funk to dub the violence Kristallnacht at a Nov. 12 meeting at which Adolf Hitler’s henchmen rationalized instituting anti-Semitic laws.
Ninety-one Jews were killed, hundreds were seriously injured and thousands were terrorized in Kristallnacht. Nearly 7,500 Jewish businesses were gutted, nearly 200 synagogues were set afire and hundreds more were desecrated.
While most Americans know about the carnage of the Kristallnacht and subsequent Holocaust, few are familiar with the loss of life in the Ukrainian Famine of 1932-1933 because Stalin suppressed news reports.
Historians debate whether it was genocide engineered by Stalin or retaliation against Ukrainians who resisted his communist regime.
Members of the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a resolution Oct. 20 and declared that "..this man-made famine was designed and implemented by the Soviet regime as a deliberate act of terror and mass murder against the Ukrainian people ..
No matter how historians or politicians characterize the famine, the fact is more than 7 million Ukrainians died in what has been called one of the greatest losses of life in the 20th century.
Several parishioners at Holy Ghost and at St. Mary’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Chester can testify to that.
Maria Wenchak, 78, of Chester remembers seeing wagons full of people who had been lying in the streets of her village, dumped, dead or alive, into mass graves.
Wasyl Bolonka, 79, of Upper Chichester, remembers a dying 3-year-old girl begging on behalf of herself and her little brother for part of the piece of bread smuggled to him by a Russian playmate.
Kristallnacht also still resonates with many Delaware County residents. They remember not only the crimes against Jews, but the support offered by some Christians in the midst of the horror.
At the service in St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, Rabbi Peter Hyman told of 19,706 individuals who came to the aid of Kristallnacht victims despite the threat of Nazi retaliation.
"We share theses accounts with you because, along with the documented inhumanity that is the Holocaust, there are episodes of ennobling human heroism. They are accounts of people acting as God hoped we would act toward each other," said Hyman.
Indeed, in commemorating bothKristallnacht and the Ukrainian Famine, we are reminded of not only man’s inhumanity to man, but of the decency of those who will not tolerate social injustice. That they will prevail now and always, should be our most earnest goal.
-Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¬The Daily Times 2003