28 November 2015

On This Day: International Holodomor Memorial Day

Today is the International Holodomor Memorial Day. Today, Ukrainians worldwide remember the 81st anniversary of the Holodomor, Famine Genocide of 1932-33.

A Holodomor is a man made famine or genocide. In 1932, the Soviets increased the quota for grain by 44%. They were well aware that this ridiculously high quota would cause a grain shortage. The grain shortage in turn would result in Ukrainian peasants starving. At that time, Soviet law dictated that no grain was allowed to be given to the peasants for food until the quota for the government had been reached. Hence, there were peasants working in wheat fields day in and day out, seeing a wealth of grain every day and knowing that they would go hungry that night and that their children would go hungry.

This unnecessary government induced famine resulted in the death of between 7 to 10 million people, mainly Ukrainians. It was instigated by Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and his henchman Lazar Kaganovich to break the spirit of the Ukrainian farmer and peasant. Stalin’s goal was to force them into collectivization and break the renaissance of Ukrainian culture. Stalin wanted to "ethnically cleanse" Ukrainians from various territories.

Secret police units were used to watch for peasants who may be hiding grain from the Soviet government. In addition, an internal passport system was created and put in action to restrict movements of Ukrainian peasants. Now they could not travel for food or to escape. Children were taught in school that there was great famine abroad and the Stalin was a great man. They were taught this while at the same time their parents were forced to steal handfuls of grain from the horses or to grain stalks. This was dangerous because if caught, they could be sent to Siberia to serve a 10 year sentence which often resulted in death.

The dead – and sometimes those barely hanging on to life – were collected in carts. Someone came around with a pitchfork and collected the dead and carried them off. People were not given proper burials. Churches were destroyed. The Communists destroyed them and the icons, the holy icons, in the peoples’ homes.

On This Day in 2006, the Parliament of Ukraine passed a Law defining the Holodomor as a deliberate Act of Genocide. Since then many nations, including the United States, have recognized that the Holodomor was an act of Genocide against the Ukrainian people. Russia of course remains in complete denial and even made illegal to commemorate this event.

Earlier this month, the National US National Holodomor Memorial opened in Washington, DC. Tonight, at 5 p.m. ET, there will be a candlelight religious service to remember the victims of the Holodomor.  

Vichnaya Pamyat.

HolodomorSurvivors Tell Their Stories. Ukrainian Canadian Congress.

November28, 2015 – the Holodomor Remembrance Day in Ukraine  Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Press Center.


On This Day is a prompt to further explore historical events.

© Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman, 2015
Locations listed are located in Pennsylvania (USA), unless otherwise noted in post.