Remembrance Day for the Victims of Political Repression


The third Sunday in May this year coincides with another terrible anniversary – the Deportation of the Crimean Tatars in 1944.  It is also seventy years since the worst wave of killings in what is known as the Terror of 1937-1938. 

Services and remembrance ceremonies will be held throughout the Crimea in memory of all those who perished in those May days 64 years ago, after Stalin issued a decree to deport the Crimean Tatar people to Central Asia. 

They will be held too near Kyiv in the Bykivnya Forest where the last remains of as many as 100 thousand victims of the Terror lie.  

And there will be personal acts of remembrance by all those who do not know, and perhaps never will, where their relatives’ bodies were thrown into unmarked graves by a regime that understood only barbaric carnage and brutality.

In his first ever visit to Kharkiv a month ago, Polish film director Andrzej Wajda explained that it was only having made his film Katyń that he had the right to visit this Ukrainian city.  It was in Kharkiv in 1940 that pan Wajda’s father was shot, one of the 22 thousand victims of what the world knows as the Katyń Massacre.  The film is his act of remembrance to a father he never knew, and his mother who one way or another waited for her husband’s return to the last day of her life.

It is no wonder that in a Radio Svoboda survey on its Ukrainian site, more than half those who answered named the opening of all archives as the most important way of honouring the memory of the victims of political repression.  

Вічна пам’ять  - Eternal Memory



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