Ukrainian Calgarians commemorate Holodomor – meaning “die of hunger” – on Saturday, honoring victims and raising awareness of the famine-genocide.
Sports masked people, including Mayor Jyoti Gondek, gathered inside the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of St. Vladimir in Calgary to pay their respects.
During the years 1932-3, millions of people died from artificial starvation following the policy decisions of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. Historians put the death toll at between 3.3 and 3.9 million Ukrainians, according to the New York Times. Alexander Iwasyk, president of the University of Calgary’s Association of Ukrainian Students, said there was no exact death toll because of “Soviet censorship of the media at the time.”
Iwasyk said Stalin’s policy of collectivism involved the export of food to the Soviet Union.
This policy has led to famine, he said, because “there are not any farmers in these agricultural areas. They died or were deported to work in the Soviet Union. “
“There was no food so people starved to death. This was actually part of Stalin’s five-year plan to industrialize the Soviet Union,” said Iwasyk.
“I think this is really a deliberate act by the Soviet Union, by Stalin and his henchmen to erase the Ukrainian identity in eastern Ukraine.”
Iwasyk said Holodomor was “ingrained” in his cultural identity.
“We really have direct descendants who suffered from this genocide, and that is really an important part of our community,” he said.
“That’s what really brought us together. It really strengthens our community. It’s something more than just an annual anniversary. That is part of us. Many millions of us have been affected. “
Holodomor Memorial Day is recognized nationally on the fourth Saturday of November.
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https://globalnews.ca/news/8407558/calgary-ukraine-holodomor/ Calgarians Ukraine pay tribute to Holodomor victims: ‘It’s part of us’ – Calgary