A Memorial in D.C. Will Commemorate the Victims of the Famine in Ukraine

The devastating famine in Ukraine from 1932 to 1933 is not well known to most Americans. Called “Holodomor,” which literally means “killing by hunger,” it left millions dead and traumatized the entire country. The famine was a man-made tragedy resulting from Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s ruthless policy of farm collectivization. Ukraine not only had enough grain to feed its people, it even exported grain abroad. Yet Stalin’s system siphoned most of the grain out of Ukraine in a brutal crackdown on Ukraine’s movement for independence.

It was also a terrible prelude to the Great Terror, when Stalin launched a murderous campaign of repression that resulted in the deaths of millions more, purging the Soviet Union and Ukraine of artists and intellectuals.

The Government of Ukraine today is committed to preserving the historical memory of the Holodomor’s victims as a moral and national duty. In 2006, Ukraine adopted a law that recognized Holodomor as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people, an effort that garnered international support.

The Government of Ukraine is thankful to the U.S. Congress for adopting a law in 2006 to establish the Holodomor Memorial in Washington, D.C. This memorial is a top priority for the President of Ukraine. The government views this project as extremely important, because it spreads the truth about this crime against the Ukrainian people, and against humanity. The Holodomor memorial is also an opportunity to bring Ukrainians and Americans closer.

The objective is to build and open the memorial, which will be located on the northwest triangle formed between F Street, N.W., Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., and North Capitol Street, Washington D.C., by the end of 2012. Establishing the Holodomor Memorial here in the capital of the United States will give a strong signal to the world that both nations share the same values as we remember those who sacrificed their lives to defend freedom.

This article was published in the special supplement to the Washington Post on February, 1, 2012.