'More bones, more tragedy' come to light every day:
Bryant Avery, Journal Staff Writer
The Edmonton Journal, Edmonton, British Columbia, Canada
Sunday, November 10, 2002
Survivors of imposed starvation in Ukraine during 1932 and 1933 are
dwindling in number now, but evidence is still growing about the genocidal
Soviet policy and its catastrophic effect on millions of people.
"In life, many things happen and usually you can forget them," Ukrainian
Canadian Congress president Mykola Vorotylenko said at the 69th annual
memorial service on Saturday. "But every day there are more bones, more
evidence, more tragedy."
In the mid-'30s, Soviet Union dictator Josef Stalin sent troops into Ukraine
to collect 1.7 million tons of grain for lucrative Western markets, causing
a massive famine. Vorotylenko's mother survived.
"The breadbasket of Europe became one massive graveyard," Congress
vice-president Luba Boyko-Bell told the crowd of about 300 at a sombre
service in City Hall and in front of the Ukrainian famine memorial
The number of people who died is not known, but estimates range from eight
million to 10 million.
There are now fewer than 100 survivors in the Edmonton area's large
Ukrainian community, Vorotylenko said.
Teens Krysta Czar and Laryssa Szmihelsky have heard the story many times, in
school, home and Saturday language classes. They also attend the remembrance
event every year.
"It's the same thing over and over," Czar said with a 14-year-old's smile,
"but it's also good to be reminded. It's hard to put yourself in their
Vorotylenko agreed. "For most people, it is difficult to understand how
people could eat other people," he said. "But if people don't have any food,
their minds go crazy."
Vorotylenko emigrated to Canada four years ago and is a safety worker for a
petroleum company. Now 46, he recalled how his mother was tight-lipped on
the atrocity for years in Ukraine. "She didn't tell me much because it was
dangerous to tell," he said. "Somebody did these things, and some of them
are still in power. We need to remember that."
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