Edmonton Holodomor Events - Nov.
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Holodomor Awareness Week 16-23
Most Ukrainian communities around the world are planning events
to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Holodomor -- the
Ukrainian Famine-Genocide of 1932-1933 -- during the week of 16-23
2008. All churches are expected to perform a Panakhyda for the
10 million victims on Sunday, November 23, 2008.
Please make an extra effort to attend these events and encourage
your extended family and friends to do so. When we pray for
the souls of the 10 million dead, we are also nurturing our own souls,
as well as the souls of the Ukrainian people and all of humanity.
In Edmonton, the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, Edmonton Branch,
is sponsoring two events as follows:
Panel Discussion on
Holodomor Denial [jpg Poster] [pdf USS Poster]
4:30 PM, Thursday, 20Nov2008
University of Alberta, Student Union Building “Stage”,
(Convenient parking at 87 Ave. – 116 St. Parkade)
Natalia Talanchuk: Holodomor Survivor
Andriy Semotiuk: Legal Expert
Marko Tymchak: University Student Activist
William Zuzak: Moderator
Holodomor Memorial Service
12:30 PM, Saturday, 22Nov2008
St. John’s Orthodox Cathedral, 10951 – 107 St., Edmonton
Panakhyda: Multiple clergy officiating with Dnipro choir
Keynote address: Andriy Semotiuk on the legal aspects of genocide
(in adjoining Cultural Centre)
Laying of wreaths: at Holodomor Monument on south side of City
Hall, 104 Ave. – 100 St., Edmonton. (Limited busing available.)
Ukrainian Canadian Congress - Edmonton Branch
Luba Feduschak, President
Phone: 780-464-6480, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
C. Report: Panel
Discussion on Holodomor Denial [jpg photo]
About 80 people -- clustered around tables in an informal
cafeteria-style setting -- attended the event hosted by the
Ukrainian Students' Society (USS) at the University of Alberta. After
the formal presentations -- lasting some 40 minutes -- there
were many questions from both students and adults in the audience
directed to the various panelists.
At the conclusion, video excerpts of the film documentary being
produced by Ms. Tomkiw in Los Angeles were shown, while the USS
distributed pizza and chicken wings to the students who had
participated in the 33 hour Holodomor "fast" as part of Holodomor
Awareness Week on Campus.
A CBC cameraman briefly appeared and the event was reported on CBC
The presentations of the moderator and panelists are summarized below:
William Zuzak (moderator):
The purpose of this panel discussion is to examine the
various aspects of the term “Holodomor Denial”.
“denial” has several meanings. In my dictionary,
definition #6 states: “a psychological
defense mechanism in which confrontation with a personal problem or
reality is avoided by denying the existence of the problem or reality.”
Holodomor was a very traumatic experience for
millions of Ukrainians -- for the victims, the survivors, the
the perpetrators. In the former Soviet Union, it was extremely
write or even talk about the Famine-Genocide of 1932-33. It was much
and better for your health -- to pretend or even believe that the
James Mace, who spent the last years of his life
in Ukraine studying the Holodomor, developed the term “post-genocidal
to describe the effects of this phenomenon on present-day Ukrainian
survive, you were forced to live a lie. It is not easy to confront and
habits and beliefs from the past.
I suggest that this term
“post-genocidal” could also be
applied to Ukrainian communities in Canada and the rest of the Diaspora
world -- on the macro level, as well as on the micro level of each
One could apply the term
“Holodomor denial“ to people who:
we seem to have made considerable progress on
these four categories. Virtually all countries now recognize that the
was a deliberate crime against humanity perpetrated by Stalin and the
regime. Several countries, including Canada and three provinces,
it was also genocide.
there are several
organizations and countries that have declined to recognize the
genocide. These include the Russian Federation, Britain and Israel. It
interesting to analyze the reasons for this reluctance.
(1) - deny that the Holodomor ever took place;
(2) - deny that the Holodomor was deliberate;
(3) - deny or quibble about the total number of deaths;
(4) - admit that the Famine-Genocide of 1932-33 was a
deliberate and horrific crime against humanity, but deny that it was a
genocidal act against the Ukrainian people.
Talanchuk was born in Dnipropetrovsk in 1925, just in time to witness
Holodomor of 1932-33, the Great Terror of 1937-38 and to be sent to
a slave labourer or Ostarbeiter in 1943. There, in a DP camp in 1945,
and married Constantyn Talanchuk, who had been incarcerated in
Auschwitz as a
political prisoner by the Nazis in 1943, subsequently transferred to
and freed at the end of WWII. They immigrated to Canada in 1949.
Her earliest memories were of her father waking her up to say goodbye
as he was arrested by the OGPU in 1928 and incarcerated until 1934. He
was subsequently re-arrested in 1938, sentenced to the Gulags for 10
years "without the right to correspondence" and vanished from her life
forever. She related ...
- her mother forbid her to look out the window to view dead bodies
slumped against their fence,
- carts driving through the village to gather such dead bodies,
- the "Torgsin" stores where you could buy food only for gold or
- rumours that red meat suddenly appearing in the village was
really human flesh,
- watchtowers manned by the militia with rifles at the borders of
Andriy J. Semotiuk (legal
Mr. Semotiuk is an attorney practicing in the area of international law
specializing in immigration. He is a member of the bars of California
York in the United States and Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia in
A former United Nations correspondent stationed in New York, Mr.
written articles for Southam News Services and other newspapers in the
States and Canada. Mr. Semotiuk is a member of the Los Angeles Press
of the law firm of Hansma, Bristow & Finlay in Edmonton and
Marder in Los Angeles.
He presented a condensed version of his presentation prepared for the
Holodomor Memorial Service on 22Nov2008. This included ...
- the wording of the of
the UN Convention on genocide with the key
legal components to the definition -- the actus reus and the mens rea.
for the actus reus, in 1932 - 1933 the
Communist Party of the Soviet Union under the leadership of Joseph
turned the entire country of Ukraine into one big concentration camp.
sealed the borders refusing to allow anyone out and any assistance in.
then requisitioned all the grain and food stock the peasants in Ukraine
the Ukrainian side of the border people starved to death. On the
there was food to eat. These were the essential ingredients of the
terms of the mens rea, one has to identify not only the intention to
also the intention to target a specific nationality. The discussions in
1943 between Stalin and Churchill and the admission of Duranty to
British consular officials that as many as 10 million people perished were reliable "admissions against
interest" that went a long way towards establishing the immensity of
- A reference to the recently uncovered 1953 writings of Raphael
Lemkin, the father
of the Genocide Convention and his conclusion that the 1932-1933 events
amounted to a genocide because they consisted of an attack on the
intelligentsia, on the cultural leadership, on the Ukrainian churches
Tymchak (University student activist):
Mr. Tymchak is in the third year of a degree in Physics at the
Alberta and is very active in Ukrainian affairs and the Ukrainian
Society. He presented the youth perspective --
categorizing the Holodomor amongst the
various genocides throughout the centuries, exploring the views of
on the subject and proposing the appropriate position that youth, in
and Ukrainian Canadian youth, in particular, should take on the
- He stressed the idea
that youth should understand the indignance, grief, and anger
about the Holodomor, but to continue the memory of Holodomor by moving
respect, commemoration, and equal attention to crimes around the globe.
way, Ukrainians can begin to stop
feeling that because they
were once victims they will always be victims. By coming to terms with
event, which means neither forgiving nor forgetting, we
strengthen respect for and energy towards our culture.
should be the
spark that ignites a flame of refusal to ignore any crimes against
past, present or future.
Holodomor Memorial Service
John's Cathedral was filled to overflowing for the "panakhyda" at which
some 20 priests of the Ukrainian Catholic and Orthodox churches
officiated. Both Bishops Ilarion (Orthodox, speaking Ukrainian) and
David (Catholic, speaking English) spoke on the Holodomor after the
was standing room only in the Cultural Centre, where the official
program included greetings/speeches from dignitaries
MLA Gene Zwozdesky and Mayor Stephen Mandel. The keynote speaker,
Andriy Semotiuk spoke on the legal aspects of the Holodomor as a
genocide. (See summary above.)
A large fraction of the attending
public travelled to the Holodomor monument at Edmonton City
for the wreath-laying ceremony.
CTV filmed the event and
interviewed Holodomor survivor Natalia Talanchuk which was broadcast
that evening as a lead story. Unfortunately, the video clip no longer
seems to be available on their website.