The Holodomor Mobile Classroom’s role in community events is to inform Canadians about this largely unknown genocide that happened in Ukraine during the 1930’s. Unlike our Canadian democratic government, the USSR was a totalitarian state led by dictator Joseph Stalin. As a historical event, this genocide was perpetrated at a time when the USSR was at peace, which made it all the more unfathomable. The borders to the USSR where closed and media was managed to deny and cover up this man made famine. Some neighbouring countries tried to send aid to the Ukrainians but were denied entry. Joseph Stalin, the leader of the USSR had vehemently denied the famine and publicly stated that aid was not necessary in Ukraine. Stalin instead continued to flood world markets with grain collected via forced quotas out of Ukraine. He undermined the price of grain on the world market to help him achieve what was known as the Five-Year Plan. Its aim was to diminish a large population of those he called “enemies of the state” (farmers of Ukraine), and to make enough money to bring the USSR into the era of industrialization.
The Ukrainian Genocide, known as the Holodomor (Ukrainian meaning “inflicted death by starvation”) was orchestrated by using food as a weapon against the USSR’s citizens, resulting in the death of millions by starvation in 1932-1933.
There are many descendants of Ukraine living in Canada today, many of who’s family survived this tragic event. However, because the Ukrainians that had survived this were kept from ever speaking about it, many of their descendants have only started to learn about it in the last 20 years.
Canada’s farmers also suffered as a direct result of Stalin’s Five-Year Plan, the grain that was exported from Ukraine’s rich soil into western markets undercut the cost of grain making it difficult for Canadian farmers to competitively sell their grain at cost. Given that this was during the Great Depression (1929- late 1930’s) this further incapacitated Canadian farmers.
The Holodomor was one of the USSR’s best kept secrets, and it’s the Holodomor National Awareness Tour’s mission to make sure that Canadians have the opportunity to learn about this tragic event in world history and to reflect on and reinforce Canadian values of civil rights, tolerance, equality and social justice in today’s society.
In the past we have attended community events like:
- City/Town Fairs, Exhibitions
- City Halls showcasing the Holodomor
- Home fundraising events
- Summer camps
- Promoting freedom, respect, human rights
- Civic and Religious holidays
- Memorial ceremonies
“We in Canada are bonded to this dark chapter in human history by more than a million Canadians of Ukrainian descent, many of whom lost loved ones in the Holodomor. And so, all Canadians join us in commemorating this 75th anniversary of the terrible famine of 1932-33. Because what was done to the Ukrainian people was a mortal offence against the values we hold dearest; freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.”
Prime Minister Stephen Harper National Holodomor Commemoration Ceremony Ottawa, November 28, 2007