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Holodomor 80

Ukrainian World Congress
International Coordinating Committee Holodomor Awareness and Recognition

Holodomor survivor testimonies focus of commemorative project

80 stories mark 80th anniversary

  • will highlight the stories of 80 survivors of the Holodomor - 80 stories for the 80th anniversary. These 80 stories, as told by survivors living around the world, are representative of the stories of so many who experienced the wrath of a genocidal policy deliberately implemented with the goal of destroying a nation.

A survivor's story will be added to this site daily leading up to International Holodomor Memorial Day on November 23 of this year.

Kyiv Post will also be posting the Holodomor survivor testimonies daily. 

Share the story!

A Journey of Remembrance and Triumph
An international project commemorating the 80th anniversary of the Holodomor


We all knew. In 1932 there was a very good harvest. They couldn’t even ship all the [grain] out. At the railroad stations, there were piles of grain that they hadn’t been able to ship out yet. And during the winter of 32-33 this grain lay under the rain and snow, and if someone, hungry, tried to go there and take a handful of grain, they were shot on the spot.

Maria Lysenko
Holodomor survivor

The stories are haunting. The memories difficult
The international community has been enriched over recent years with the courage of individuals who have revisited their painful memories and opened their hearts to the world by sharing their personal experience of the Holodomor, Ukrainian Famine-Genocide of 1932-33. Despite the permanent scar this has left on their life and on the lives of their family members, they have shared their stories. They have understood the need for the world to hear the truth and the impact this truth will have on the future of a nation. For their strength and determination, as a community we are eternally grateful.
In 2013, to mark the 80th anniversary of the Holodomor, the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) is offering descendants of survivors and victims an opportunity to participate in a very unique journey of remembrance and triumph. Remembrance – of the millions of lives lost. Triumph – of those who survived and of the Ukrainian nation’s spirit which has flourished. 
Our goals:
  • to unite Ukrainians around the world in marking the 80th anniversary of the Holodomor;
  • to recognize the important role of descendants of survivors and victims in helping to keep the flame of remembrance alive;
  • to share, through the stories of suffering, a story of hope and promise.
On this journey, descendants will travel to Ukraine, the centre of 80th anniversary commemorations. They will visit Ukrainian oblasts to share the stories of their family members with the people of Ukraine and document the stories of the Ukrainians they meet to share with the diaspora. Along the journey, stalks of wheat will be collected, creating sheaves that will become the focal point of international commemorations around the world.
The sheaves of wheat will be presented to representatives of Ukrainian communities in the diaspora during the X World Congress of Ukrainians scheduled for August 20-22, 2013 in Lviv, Ukraine. International commemorations will culminate with a ceremony in Kyiv, Ukraine on International Holodomor Memorial Day, November 23, 2013.
Wheat – the symbol of life, prosperity, spiritual wealth. It is the grain which, for centuries, has been associated with our nation’s livelihood. During the 1932-33 Holodomor, however, it became a weapon of the genocide orchestrated to destroy the very fabric of that nation.
On August 7, 1932, Joseph Stalin authored a law with a sentence of death or 10 years’ imprisonment for the misappropriation of collective farm property. This law led to mass arrests and executions. Even children caught picking handfuls of grain from fields were convicted. It became known as the law of “Five ears of grain.”
The logo selected for the 80th commemorative year, designed by Ukrainian Canadian artist Oleh Lesiuk, depicts five stalks of wheat delicately bound with a black ribbon. While serving as a reminder of the devastation characterized by the law, the wheat symbolizes the Ukrainian nation’s determination to live and prosper; the nation’s future.
National coordinating bodies will:
  • Inform the community about the project;
  • Compile a list of descendants in their respective countries and contribute to the creation of an international database;
  • Determine which descendants are interested in participating;
  • Submit the descendants’ stories and the stories of their related survivors to the UWC;
  • Assist with the coordination of the participation of their constituents in this project.
  • Individuals interested in participating in this project should submit a completed form expressing interest with no obligation to both UWC and UCC.
  • Although it is preferred that the majority of the participants travel to Ukraine during the same time frame in 2013 taking into account the wheat harvest (July-August) the project does not exclude the possibility of more independent travel.
  • A commemorative ceremony will take place in Lviv (August) during which the sheaves of wheat will be presented to representatives of the diaspora. This ceremony will take place in conjunction with the X World Congress of Ukrainians on 20-22 August, 2013.
  • The international commemoration will be held in Kyiv, Ukraine on November 23, 2013.Travel periods are confirmed and coordinated with the UWC, which will in turn organize the corresponding program in Ukraine.
  • The UWC will document the journey.
Participants will
  • Agree to share their story as well as the story of the related survivor;
  • Agree to be the ambassadors of Holodomor awareness in 2013;
  • Assume all expenses related to their participation in this project;
  • Document their journey.
UWC will:
  • Create a central point of contact for the project;
  • Organize the program in Ukraine, including the commemorations, media relations, transfer of the sheaves of wheat;
  • Develop a template for the program in the diaspora.
Ukraine remembers - World acknowledges!


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