President Yushchenko inaugurates a Memorial to the Victims of Holodomor in the village of Serhiyivka in the Chernihiv region
The Monument is in the form of a wooden cross covered in barbed wire.
In his address to the local community, the Head of State stressed that it was vital to honour the victims of 1932 – 1933 in order to preserve the national memory.
“Such memorials are needed in thousands of Ukrainian villages. It is our shared duty to remember what happened to our grandparents and great grandparents”, Viktor Yushchenko affirmed.
He thanked local residents for their concern over the tragic events of the past. He mentioned also than both in this, and in other Ukrainian villages, the places where the victims of Holodomor lie buried needed to be put in order.
In speaking of the events of 1932-1933 Viktor Yushchenko emphasised that the responsibility for what had been perpetrated lay with the Stalinist communist regime. He was convinced that the fact of the genocide of the Ukrainian people could not today be questioned.
“One wishes that the nation and politicians could understand this. The responsibility for the fact that there are now in Ukraine politicians who do not recognize the genocide lies first of all with the voters themselves.”
The President also called on witnesses of these events to share their memories with those studying Holodomor.
Those present held a minutes silence to honour the memory of the Victims of Holodomor. A service was also held for those who died. Near the Memorial on Friday, 24 November, a snowball tree grove was also opened, with the President and children from a local school tying ribbons with the national colours to the branches of the trees.
The ceremony was attended by the head of the Chernihiv Regional State Administration Mykola Lavryk, the Head of the Service on the Preservation of National Cultural Heritage of the Presidential Secretariat Ihor Likhovy, the Head of the Society for Contacts with Ukrainians outside Ukraine Ivan Drach, and the Head of the All-Ukrainian Society “Prosvita” Pavlo Movchan.
The height of the Famine in the village of Serhiyivka was in January – February 1933, and the largest number of deaths came from March to June 1933. Overall, in 1932 – 1933, in the village more than a thousand people died of starvation, more than half of them children. That was double the number who died during World War II.