November 19, 2019

Saskatchewan Recognizes The Holodomor With A Special Service Of Remembrance

Today, during a special service, Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan-Ukraine Relations Greg Ottenbreit, along with members of Saskatchewan’s Ukrainian community, commemorated those who perished during the Ukraine famine in 1932-1933.

“The horrendous acts that took place cannot go unrecognized,” Ottenbreit said.  “For years their stories were denied and their stories were lost.  Through this service we honour and remember the ones who suffered and the ones who perished.  It is through remembrance we learn from the past and their memories live on.”

The memorial service was held in conjunction with Holodomor Memorial Week, November 18 to 24.  A memorial candle was lit and will remain lit during Holodomor Memorial Week to show unity with those around the world marking the Holodomor genocide.

In 1932-1933, the Soviet Union imposed a man-made famine, killing up to 10 million people.  Despite the record grain harvest, crops were confiscated and regulations were imposed preventing people from leaving their communities in search of food.  Holodomor means “extermination by hunger” in Ukrainian.

As a permanent reminder of the tragedy, an exact copy of the statue entitled Bitter Memories of Childhood by sculptor Petro Drozdowsky was officially dedicated on the park grounds of Wascana Centre in 2015.

The Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan was the first jurisdiction in North America to recognize this genocide with the passing of The Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (Holodomor) Memorial Day Act in 2008.  International Holodomor Memorial Day is recognized on the fourth Saturday of November and this year falls on November 23.