Human Rights in Ukraine


To the terrible truth of Holodomor


On 20 November 2006 an exhibition was opened in the Kharkiv History Museum. Entitled “Candle of Sorrow”, it is dedicated to the Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Holodomor and Political Repression (25 November). Given that for our people this subject was taboo during the years of Soviet rule, the Head of the Department of Culture and Tourism Nina Suprunenko says that the exhibition cannot claim to a wide view of this terrible tragedy in the history of the Ukrainian people.

The exhibits are therefore limited to material about the Kharkiv region from the History Museum and to that provided by the Kyiv City branch of the Vasyl StusĀ  “Memorial” Society. However, even such a limited exhibition will enable visitors to gain some sense of the horror of one of the most tragic pages in the history of the Ukrainian people and of the Kharkiv region.

Throughout the XX century the Ukrainian people experienced three terrible famines, in 1920-1921, in 1932-1933 and 1946-1947. According to various estimates of scholars and researchers, the losses from famine were between 3 and 10 million, with over a third of the victims being children, the future of the nation. It has been irrevocably established that the cause of famine was not natural disasters, but the physical extermination of the Ukrainian peasants through manmade famine. The reasons and consequences of the tragedy of Holodmor in Ukraine have been established by the public and recognized by the Ukrainian state.

Holodomor in the Kharkiv region, especially in 1932-1933, had serious consequences which to some extent touched on all aspects of socio-economic and cultural life in the region and left their mark on the moral and psychological state of the population. According to estimates around two million people in the region died from the famine.

It was this which was discussed at a roundtable “The Terrible truth of Holodomor” which began after the opening of the exhibition. Those participating included members of civic organizations in the region, people from the academic publication editorial office of the Kharkiv volume of “Rehabilitated History”, research assistants of the State Archive of the Kharkiv region and the Kharkiv History Museum.

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