- Posted November 18, 2012 by
New York, New York
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Photo essays: Your stories in pictures
Commemorating a Forgotten Genocide
- Anika3, CNN iReport producer
If you were to ask a friend to list the genocides that occurred during the 20th century, other than Hitler’s slaughter of six million Jews, they might mention the killing of Hutus by Tutsis in Rwanda, the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, the Armenian Genocide during World War I, or the widespread killings in Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge. Often forgotten in this sad list of man’s inhumanity to man is a genocide that killed more than twice as many people as all of these atrocities put together. That tragedy was the Ukrainian Genocide or Holodomar, which translates to murder by starvation.
Yesterday in New York City, the March of Remembrance took place to commemorate the 80th anniversary of Josef Stalin’s campaign to break the resistance of the Ukrainian people to incorporation of their country into the Soviet Union. In one short year, from 1932-1933, Stalin boasted of his responsibility for the deaths of upwards of 10 million Ukrainians−three million of them children. While many scholars put the number closer to six million, it’s almost inconceivable that this event could go largely unnoticed today.
But many New Yorkers did take notice on Saturday as hundreds of marchers made there way up Third Avenue from St. George Ukranian Catholic Church on East 7th Street to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. These people, fiercely proud of their heritage, included an 83-year-old woman who told me she had missed this annual march only once since she came to the U.S. in 1960. Yesterday she again stepped lively the entire way, preceded by her rollator. I talked to a man who’s clean, crisp white hat identified him as a Ukrainian American Veteran. He had served in the U.S. Air Force for four years in the late 1960s. And I also had a conversation with the President of the Ukrainian Congress Committee, who told me that the group had purchased a piece of land near Union Station in Washington, DC and planned to soon erect a monument to the Genocide.
People came to participate in this event, so obviously of tremendous meaning to them, by car, subway and chartered bus. Many knew each other and there was a great deal of hugging and kissing as they assembled at St. George’s in the East Village. They were doing their heartfelt best to keep the memory of this seemingly underreported chapter of Ukrainian history alive. As a person of Jewish descent, I greatly empathized with their cause and one sign held high struck a particular chord in me. It said, Never Again!