“Descended from the survivors of the forgotten genocide”

  • Modern art dedicated to Ukrainian famine genocide Holodomor
  • holodomor-modern-art
  • holodomor-portrait

“Descended from the survivors of the forgotten genocide”

(collage painting on cardboard, 28″X34″)

The idea for this painting came from my work raising awareness of the Holodomor. ‘Holodomor’ is a term that refers to a very dark period in the history of my people, when millions of innocent Ukrainians were starved to death by the Soviets.  The word itself literally means ‘Death by Starvation’.

In the early 1933 Ukrainians were starving to death at a rate of 25,000 a day. Half of them were kids. There are survivor accounts of people hunting for mice, eating their pets and, as horrifying as it sounds, even the corpses of their own children.

Starvation is a good way to control people. It’s hard to have an upraising when you’re weak from hunger and preoccupied with how you’re going to feed your family.

During the Holodomor, the Soviet Union was exporting enough grain from Ukraine to feed the entire population. It’s mind-blowing to know that Ukraine, known as the breadbasket of Europe lost millions of its citizens to starvation.

The artificially created famine was largely ignored by the West. Very few Western journalists were allowed into the Soviet Union to begin with, and the few that were had to sell their souls to remain there.  For example, the Moscow Bureau Chief of The New York Times Walter Duranty, chose to cover up the Holodomor and other Communist atrocities to remain on good terms with Stalin. He got a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting on the Soviet Union….

Eventually, the Holodomor was erased from history by the Soviet government and those in the West who chose to remain silent. Growing up in Ukraine I’ve never heard of it until I was in my teens.

The truth always comes out

The Communists destroyed the death records and silenced anyone who dared to mention it.  Only after the Soviet Union fell apart the survivors felt safe enough to share their accounts. I was shocked when my grandfather mentioned how common it was back in 1933 to see starved villagers drop dead from hunger in a middle of the street. Ironically enough, at the same time the party leaders feasted on champagne and caviar…

After it became safe to talk about the Holodomor, I also found out from my mom that her father’s family survived by sheer luck.  Apparently, a family member worked at a glue factory and was able to sneak out some horse parts the family turned into broth.  Back then they made glue from horses…

So my family survived. Millions of others didn’t. Without a documented death toll there is no accurate way to know how many lives were lost. However, it is estimated that anywhere from 7 to 10 million people perished.

While the number of people who starved to death during the Holodomor is estimated to be no less than the number of people who lost their lives during the Holocaust, the former still remains relatively unknown in the West. 

It is important to me to educate people about the Holodomor.  I don’t want history to repeat itself (although it is already happening in North Korea).

I feel I have a duty to speak up for people who lost their lives and don’t have a voice anymore, and I have to stay vocal because my ancestors were silenced.

Learn more at: http://holodomorct.org