THEIR FAMILIES’ VOICE
HOLODOMOR – to kill by starvation – defines a horrific tragedy in the history of mankind: the genocide committed against the Ukrainian people by the Soviet regime in 1932 – 33 as authorized by its leader Josef Stalin. Apologists of totalitarian dictators would have you believe that what occurred in Ukraine in the years 1932-33 was a famine of large proportion due to a drought. And for decades, information about the HOLODOMOR was repressed and denied by the Soviet regime despite eyewitness accounts by Western diplomats and journalists. Current estimates based on an analysis of recently revealed Soviet census data suggest that millions of men, women, and children perished from forced starvation during a period of abundant harvest in their homeland, a country known as the Breadbasket of Europe.
Stalin’s plan, while killing a large portion of the Ukrainian population that resisted his Soviet totalitarian rule, also resulted in millions of innocent people suffering the horrors of starvation but surviving. These were the heroes of that time who lived to tell their descendants the truth that most of the western world was unwilling to acknowledge at the time. Their perseverance and commitment to share their eyewitness accounts has led to current widespread recognition of the 1932-33 Famine in Ukraine for what it was, a genocide against the Ukrainian Nation. But the work is not finished and taking up the mantle of the Holodomor Survivors are their Descendants. The descendants will be a personal and perpetual voice for the Holodomor victims, continuing to share the personal accounts of their ordeal.
For the Ukrainian people, the Holodomor was a tragedy that deeply hurt the nation but failed to achieve Stalin’s goal. In addition, the survivors of the Holodomor-Genocide shared first-hand eyewitness accounts of the horror they and their families suffered. The Holodomor- Genocide is embedded deeply in the national memory of a nation that for centuries fought off foreign aggressors and continues today to fight Russian occupying forces.
You may wonder why we, Ukrainian descendants, keep bringing up the tragedy of the Holodomor-Genocide. One of the most valuable lessons history offers is the opportunity to learn from the past so that great accomplishments can be repeated, and great tragedies are not repeated. Although for us it is also about honouring the victims of the Holodomor-Genocide who valiantly stood up to an evil communist regime that wanted to take away their freedoms, and sharing the personal accounts of parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles who survived the Holodomor-Genocide and lived to tell the truth.
So many people, unknown to each other and scattered throughout the world, have very similar accounts of the events of the Holodomor-Genocide. Recent efforts by research organizations, descendants of Holodomor survivors and journalists to capture the accounts of first-hand witnesses have been underway for several years. Prior to the release of Soviet-era documents, these accounts were all we had. In addition, while we are aware of the effects that a tragedy such as the Holodomor-Genocide might have on its survivors, we are only now learning about the impact the Holodomor-Genocide might have on descendants of survivors.
The GLOBAL HOLODOMOR DESCENDANTS’ NETWORK was established by the Ukrainian World Congress on the initiative of its International Coordinating Committee for Holodomor Awareness and Recognition. The Network will be led and comprised of blood relative descendants of victims of Ukraine’s Holodomor and will operate to a Global Mission and Set of Objectives while executing regionally through local Networks. The first such network has officially launched in the United States of America under the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America’s US Committee for Holodomor-Genocide Awareness in 2020 and recently launched in Canada under the auspices of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress National Holodomor Awareness Committee.
CALL TO ACTION
We invite Descendants of all Holodomor victims to add your voice to our Holodomor Descendants’ Network. Participation in the Network may be at a level that is comfortable and meaningful for you given your individual circumstances. Join in order to receive information on research, activities, events or join to be more active in sharing family accounts and actively supporting awareness / educational/ commemoration initiatives. The choice will be yours.
The Holodomor Descendants Network project was made possible through the generous funding of Mys Family and the support of the Ukrainian World Congress. The life stories of Mr Mykola and Mrs Mary Mys are true examples of selfless service to the Ukrainian community. Read Mr and Mrs Mys inspiring life stories as shared by Ms. Yvonne Hawryliuk.
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