Released on November 14, 2013
This year marks the 80th anniversary of Holodomor, the man-made famine that devastated Ukraine during the 1930s.
Today Deputy Premier Ken Krawetz led a commemoration at the Saskatchewan Legislative Building to mark International Holodomor Remembrance Week, which occurs November 19 to 25. Krawetz joined members of the local Ukrainian community to light a memorial candle honouring the millions of victims who died during the mass starvation in the former Soviet Union.
“We must never forget the agony Ukraine suffered during those years,” Krawetz said. “Holodomor wasn’t just an act of suppression - it was an attack on the very soul of the Ukrainian people and humanity itself. Saskatchewan Ukrainians owe a debt to those who suffered and died.”
Holomodor, which translates into “extermination by hunger,” claimed the lives of seven to 10 million people from 1932 to 1933. Historians regard it as a deliberate campaign of terror perpetuated by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.
The candle lighting ceremony at the Legislature is a symbolic gesture of recognition in memory of those whose lives were lost. Similar candle lighting ceremonies will take place at many of the international commemorations. These memorial candles are blessed by the clergy and people are then asked to light their candles at home on Saturday, November 24 (International Holodomor Memorial Day) in memory of the victims.
The Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan on May 8, 2008, was the first jurisdiction in North America to recognize this genocide with The Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (Holodomor) Memorial Day Act. To date, fourteen countries have formally recognized the Holodomor as an act of genocide including Australia, Canada, Colombia, Ecuador, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Poland and the Vatican.
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