The last Sunday of every November has been proclaimed by the government of Ukraine as Holodomor Remembrance Day. Holodomor is the Ukrainian word used to describe the
Death by Hunger (moryty holodom) and the Genocide of perhaps some five+ million innocents starved to death because they were Ukrainian farmers (the death toll doesn't include the Great Terror of the later thirties). The famine tragedy was already called this (holodomor) by Western Ukrainians in the 1930s who were not under Stalin and who through the Ukrainian Catholic Metropolitan Sheptytsky tried desperately to get food over the Soviet borders to their starving brothers and sisters. Stalin refused point-blank any international help and moreover had the confiscated grain from Ukraine sold on the world market while the Ukrainians and others starved. Incidentally, this was around the time the U.S.A. officially gave diplomatic recognition to the Soviet State with Roosevelt being quite taken by the New York Times reporter Duranty (the Times Moscow correspondent) and his positive spin and outright lies about Soviet collectivization (he printed of difficulties in the press, while in private communication he muttered "10 million have been killed I reckon"). Duranty received a Pulitzer for his "reporting" in the Soviet Union and to this day, despite Ukrainian protestations, the Pulitzer committee refuses to take back Duranty's Pulitzer.
Here's a photodisplay from today of the "Light the Candle" ceremony where each citizen of Ukraine is asked to put a candle in their home windows to remember the millions killed.
Tomorrow there will be a Requiem/Liturgy concelebrated by all Catholic and Orthodox hierarchs alike in Kyiv's mother St. Sophia Cathedral I believe with President Yushchenko present.
The author of the term Genocide Raphael Lemkin had no problems counting the Ukrainian Famine as genocide against Ukraine. uccla.ca/SOVIET_GENOCIDE_IN_THE_UKRAINE.pdf
Montreal Professor Serbyn argues why the Soviet-orchestrated Holodomor was Genocide according to the UN against Ukrainians here: archives.gov.ua/Sections/Famine/Serbyn-2006.php
The French historian Nicolas Werth (who contributed to the bestselling Black Book of Communism argues that the Holodomor was Genocide here. massviolence.org/The-1932-1933-Great-Famine-in-Ukraine
One of the most renowned experts in the world now on the Ukrainian Famine is perhaps the Italian Andrea Graziosi and he was clear that when he began studying Soviet Communism he wasn't sure if the Collectivization Campaign in Ukraine was a genocide against the Ukrainian nation. After tons of research and new finds, he now has no doubts it Genocide as he stated last weekend in a visit to Toronto.
Finally, unlike Russia which refuses to disclose its Secret Police Archives on the period, Ukraine's Secret Service did a long time ago providing further proof. The Stalin-Kaganovich correspondence where Stalin fears the Soviet Union will lose Ukraine appears in the title page to the collected documents, memoirs, minutes of meetings, correspondence. (It's in Ukrainian and Russian though) archives.gov.ua/Sections/Famine/index.php
Apart from killing the peasants in Ukraine and in lands occupied greatly by Ukrainians (the Kuban), Stalin ordered the complete destruction of Ukraine's cultural intelligentsia (roztstrilanie vidrodzhennia) along with a campaign to kill the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church. It was a concurrent attack on Ukraine's peasants and its intelligentsia and church and the sealing off of Ukraine's borders and the Kuban to prevent Ukrainian escapees fleeing to the Russian Soviet Republic which did not suffer the catastrophic procurements and coercion set for Ukraine. Indeed ethnic Russians were called in to repopulate the devastated Ukrainian countryside after villages simply vanished, victims left to slowly die where they stood or lay, some resorting to cannibalism such was the insanity of the Hunger.
There are many poignant stories, i.e. from Miron Dolot's Execution by Hunger:
"Sitting on a train with two small emaciated boys, their faces were skin and bones; their eyes bulging, dull, and listless. They were unkempt; their clothes were ragged and dirty.
After they sat down, I noticed that a woman held a baby under her coat at her bosom, and that the baby was dead. "It's a girl she said quietly, without showing any emotion. "She died yesterday. My poor baby; she was hungry, and kept crying and then suddenly she stopped. We stayed overnight outside. It was very cold."
We (Miron and brother) didn't know what to say and just kept watching her silently and with sympathy.
She put her dead baby on her knees and just kept watching her silently and with sympathy.
She put her dead baby on her knees and started to unwrap the dirty rags in which it was bundled. Then as if realizing that the baby was dead , she bundled it up again, held it tightly to herself, and pressed her cheeks affectionately against the baby's cold and rigid face. She started crying and crying to her dead baby: "I am sorry .." she sobbed , tears rolling down her face and dropping down onto the baby, "It's not my fault. Heavens I tried; I did all I could ...They labeled me an enemy of the people...They threw us out everywhere we went." Then she started kissing her baby tenderly, its eyes, its forehead, its cheeks.
"Don't worry my baby, you won't be alone for long; soon we'll follow you; you soon will be with your Mama and your brothers."
There are millions of these stories.
On this day we mark their memory and pray they have now found rest in God after what they had to endure. Eternal Memory.