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 of 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 upon an analysis of recently revealed Soviet census data suggest, “that no fewer than ten million men, women and children perished”; 10 million people who died 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 who 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 witness 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. For us, though, it is also about honoring 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 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 is a recently launched sub-committee of the Ukrainian World Congress. The Network will be led and comprised of blood relative descendants of survivors of Ukraine’s Holodomor and will operate to a Global Mission and Set of Objectives while executing regionally through local Networks. The first such regional network has officially launched in the United States of America under the Ukrainian Congress Committee’s US Committee for Holodomor-Genocide Awareness.