Ukrainians in Alberta gather to remember Holodomor
CALGARY – Members of the city's Ukrainian community gathered in northeast Calgary Saturday to honour the millions of people who lost their lives in a genocide orchestrated by the Russian government.
The event, named Holodomor, was an artificial famine-genocide that took place 86 years ago in Ukraine.
The actions by the Stalin government between 1932 and 1933 ended up killing millions of Ukrainians.
"We do this, as a community, every year on the fourth Saturday of November so that we don't forget and that the world remembers and that this type of heinous crime never happens again," said Elaine Holowach-Amiot, a parishioner at St. Vladmir's Ukrainian Orthodox Church, where the memorial took place.
Premier Jason Kenney and Ward 11 councillor Jeromy Farkas both attended the event.
In a statement released by the premier's office Saturday morning, he said Holodomor was a true act of genocide against the Ukrainian people.
"In 1932-33, the communist regime of Joseph Stalin instigated a deliberate mass starvation of the Ukrainian people. Soviet forces removed all food from the country," he said.
"Stalin suppressed and destroyed famine information. When the Soviet Union fell in 1991, records were discovered that gave an account of the staggering number of people who had perished," Kenney continued. "Today, we stand with our neighbours of Ukrainian heritage to acknowledge this genocide. May we ever avow such tragedies for the crimes they are."
The name of the atrocity comes from the Ukrainian words 'holod' for hunger and 'mortyr' for slow, cruel death.
Organizers of the commemoration also held a food drive for the Calgary Food Bank to help support those in need in the city.