ePoshta | 22Nov2009 | Bohdan Kohut
Holodomor awareness in schools
Professional Teachers Association of Ontario Newsletter, November 2009
Friday November 27, 2009 has been designated Holodomor Memorial Day in
all Toronto District School Board schools. Superintendent Christopher
Usih has sent out to principals an announcement, which is to be read
that morning in all schools.
If you teach in a TDSB school, offer your help with preparations for
this Memorial event in your school and ensure that your principal
follows the Board directive and that the announcement is read over the
Here is the full text of the announcement:
Announcement for Toronto District School Board schools to
commemorate the Ukrainian Genocide - the Holdomor Friday, November 27,
A great many genocides and other terrible atrocities occurred during
the twentieth century.
Today, we commemorate the Holodomor, the Ukrainian Famine/Genocide of
the 1930s. The word "Holodomor" means murder by starvation. Between
five and ten million men, women and children starved to death in
Ukraine during the artificial famine created by Soviet dictator Joseph
Stalin destroyed the Ukrainian church; he deliberately murdered or
deported Ukrainian intellectuals, educational, cultural and religious
leaders and finally wiped out the independent Ukrainian farmers.
Through a harsh policy of collectivization, all privately owned land
was confiscated and Ukrainian farmers were forced to work on collective
Secret Police and Red Army units were sent to villages to gather the
impossibly high grain quotas set by the Communist regime. They
collected not only the grain but also all the food found in homes of
villagers. The Soviet police and soldiers executed anyone who tried to
obtain food and punished those who attempted to flee. Fully one quarter
of the Ukrainian population starved to death.
This genocide is unique in that food was used as a weapon to destroy
the population of a country. Few accounts of the Ukrainian Genocide
ever reached the West; reports that filtered through were ridiculed or
ignored. The Soviet government repeatedly denied the existence of any
famine in Ukraine as millions were dying.
Today, we commemorate the 76th Anniversary of this tragic event. The
Toronto District School Board, along with the Government of Canada, the
Government of Ontario and the Ukrainian Canadian community want all of
us to remember this terrible genocide in a hope that similar events
will not be allowed to happen in the future.
There are just too many to forget.