Ukrainian journalist: Commemoration of the Holodomor – Munich

I hate beets and don’t eat them. For me, this vegetable is a symbol of our family trauma. The symbol of famine, Holodomor in Ukrainian. When I was little, my grandfather told me how his family survived the terrible hunger between 1931 and 1933. One should eat potato skins, wood bark and earth. Beetroots were a luxury, you could boil them and drink the broth. They gave hope that one can survive the hunger. This story will always be in my heart as a reminder of what was done to my people so many years ago.

My grandfather was a small child when the Soviet government drove Ukraine into starvation. Our family survived, but millions of other Ukrainians didn’t. No one can say exactly how many of my countrymen starved to death. Estimates by historians vary between four and ten million. In order not to forget the victims, the Ukrainians in Bavaria organized a vigil in Munich last Saturday. I’ve been there as well.

On this day, the victims of the Holodomor were remembered all over the world. In Munich, the event was initiated by a group of Ukrainian activists and sponsored by the Ukrainian consulate. Already on December 14, 2018, this group, together with other Ukrainians living in Germany, submitted a petition in the German Bundestag to recognize the Holodomor as genocide, as genocide. So far, 18 states have done so, Consul Yuriy Yarmilko said at the vigil. He hopes that Germany will be the number 19 country. The vote will take place this Wednesday.

On the international commemoration day of the Holodomor, several hundred Ukrainians also come together in Munich to commemorate the victims of the famine in their country ordered by Stalin.

(Photo: Consulate General of Ukraine)

Several hundred Ukrainians had gathered in Munich for the vigil. They came with Ukrainian flags, some also brought posters telling the tragedy of my people. Many Ukrainians carried ears of wheat, a sad symbol of the famine deliberately brought about by Stalin’s Soviet government. The Ukrainians had been stripped of their food down to the last ear of wheat, so that they should die of hunger.

I noticed two women carrying black wheat wreaths on their heads. A strong sign for my country, which is considered the granary of Europe. I came with a Ukraine scarf. My husband used to take it to soccer games. During his visit in the summer he brought the scarf to Pullach for me so that I could have a Ukrainian symbol with me. I helped the organizers of the vigil to set up a mobile exhibition on the Holodomor. The exhibits were provided by the Ukrainian Holodomor Museum.

A woman who attended the vigil carried a placard that read, “We were killed because we are Ukrainians.” This statement not only explains the Holodomor, but also sums up what Putin is now up to in Ukraine.

In 1933 the world was able to stop the tragedy of the Holodomor, but the genocide was not punished. The Bundestag can change that by voting to recognize the Holodomor as genocide. That way he would at least be recorded in historical memory.

Emiliia Dieniezhna, 34, fled from Kyiv to Pullach near Munich with her four-year-old daughter Ewa. From there she works on a voluntary basis for the non-governmental organization NAKO, whose aim is to fight corruption in Ukraine. She also teaches German to Ukrainian refugee children. Once a week she writes a column for the SZ about her view from Munich on the events in her home country.

source site