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November 18th, 2018 – 85th Anniversary of Holodomor

It is with a deep sense of reverence that I commemorate, with members of the Canadian Ukrainian community, the 85th Anniversary of Holodomor.

During National Holodomor Awareness Week, we pause to remember the atrocity perpetrated by the Communist regime of Joseph Stalin – the ‘killing by hunger’ of millions of Ukrainians.

Members of the Ukrainian community have keenly felt the horror of the genocide – a black chapter in the world’s history.

In the early 1930s, Stalin implemented policies which imposed exorbitant grain quotas; confiscated privately owned lands and forced Ukrainian farmers to work on collective farms.  In order to meet the grain quotas, the collective farms were required to send all production, sometimes down to the last seed, to Moscow.  Secret Police and Red Army units were sent to villages to remove not only grain quotas, but also all food found in individual homes.  This left households with essentially nothing to eat.  People trying to get food were killed while those attempting to flee to the cities or from Ukraine were imprisoned.

From 1932 to 1933, almost three million tons of grain were exported from Ukraine by Soviet authorities and dumped on world markets.  In Ukraine, known as the “Breadbasket of Europe”, one quarter of Ukraine’s population, between seven and ten million men, women and children starved to death.

This is a day we solemnly acknowledge as we work toward a better future for all mankind.