THE 70th ANNIVERSARY OF THE FAMINE-GENOCIDE IN UKRAINE
by Mykola Danchuk
MUNICH - Germany commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Ukrainian Famine. Dr. Ivan Myhul, dean of the Faculty of Government and Political Economy, opened the solemn occasion and introduced the key note speaker, Dr. Mykola Shafowal.
Dr. Shafowal's discourse, titled "The Year 1933," presented the Famine-Genocide in a broad perspective of events which occurred that very year simultaneously in Soviet and western Ukraine. The UFU Registrar underlined that all nations of the world have crucial breaking points in their history. If for Americans the year is 1776, for the French 1789, and the Italians 1870, indisputably, for the Ukrainian nation, 1933 is a crucial date.
Dr. Shafowal stressed that, despite a good harvest in 1932, forced requisition of foodstuffs and grain by the Soviet regime contributed to massive deaths. One out of every five Ukrainians perished during the first five months of 1933.
Furthermore, asserted Dr. Shafowal, 1933 also signaled the death of a specific Ukrainian political utopia, that of Ukrainian national communism. Moscow decimated the Communist Party (Bolshevik) of Ukraine. Regular members of the party, as well as cadres, were purged and liquidated. Key Ukrainian Communists, who attempted to implement the by then discredited policy of Ukrainization, committed suicide. The speaker reminded those present of the reaction to the Famine outside of the USSR - or as was the case more often, the lack of it.
Dr. Shafowal pointed out that it would be too easy, but erroneous, to place the entire blame of the Great-Famine on Stalin, and his personality. The true culprit, he argued, is the Russian messianic imperial idea, of which Stalinism was but a variant.
In his concluding statement Dr. Shafowal read moving statements and recollections of witnesses and survivors of the Famine. Finally, the speaker quoted Mother Theresa of Calcutta who said the worst suffering that humans can endure is hunger or famine.
The commemoration of the Famine-Genocide was held in the main hall of UFU, and was well attended by Ukrainians, Germans and Ukrainians of the Jewish faith.
Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, December 14, 2003, No. 50, Vol. LXXI
| Home Page |