New York, NY (UCCA) -- In what has become an annual traditional commemoration at St. Patrick’s Cathedral for the Ukrainian Genocide, this year Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) highlighted the event with his stunning comments:  “10 million people died - more people died in the Ukrainian Holocaust than in any other, past or present. It was the greatest killing of a people because of their nationality that man has ever known.” 

 

Thousands of Ukrainian Americans gathered at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on November 14, 2009 in New York City to commemorate Ukraine’s Genocide of 1932-1933.  The hour-long event started with a solemn and emotional recount of the Holodomor by His Eminence Archbishop Antony of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the USA, followed by a requiem service con-celebrated by the hierarchy of the Ukrainian Catholic and Orthodox Churches.  The beautiful voices of the Dumka Choir of New York, under the direction of Vasyl Hrechinsky, sang the responses to the requiem service.

Tamara Olexy, President of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (sponsor of the commemoration) opened the program by stating, “The torment that these victims endured is now over, and their crying has ceased – yet their story endures… On this 76th anniversary year, let us pledge here – within this great Cathedral – to continue our work on behalf of the innocent victims of Ukraine’s Genocide of 1932-1933, and in their name and memory educate the public about this heinous crime against humanity.  Perhaps that is their message to us today – to spread the truth to the world in the hope that such crimes never happen again.”

Of particular interest was a statement read by William Pope, Senior Advisor for Europe at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, who read President Barak Obama’s message on the Ukrainian Holodomor Remembrance Day [text is attached].

In his eloquent and rousing voice, Sen. Schumer rose to the podium and thanked the Ukrainian American community for annually commemorating the victims of the Holodomor at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  “The effort of the Ukrainian community here and abroad has made us remember,” noted the senator.  “It [the service] makes the whole world remember.”

He expressed his gratitude for being given the opportunity to give his remarks, stating that it is his desire to speak here every year as this tragedy in Ukraine’s history is extremely important and concluded his statement with a message of hope and perseverance… “Today the American Ukrainian community lives despite Stalin’s efforts. We see it everywhere. We see it in a free and democratic Ukraine and we must never let Russia remove that freedom from Ukraine, by any means. The United States must stand with Ukraine to keep it free…I am so proud that there are so many Ukrainian Americans here in New York and I am equally proud that the community has been replenished by the new waves of immigrants… So we say to the evil tyrants, we say to Stalin, you may have tried to annihilate the Ukrainian people, but the Ukrainian people live. God bless them.”

Two of Ukraine’s diplomats also addressed the commemorative gathering.  H.E. Oleh Shamshur, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United States, mentioned that much has been done around the world to “spread the truth about the Holodomor across the world, but we are conscious that much more is yet to be done to achieve even wider international recognition of the genocidal character of the famine of 1932-1933.”  The ambassador also announced “the construction of the memorial dedicated to the victims of the Ukrainian famine-genocide just few blocks from the U.S. Capitol,” which is intended to be dedicated by the year 2013. 

H.E. Yuriy Sergeyev, Ukraine’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, then spoke affirming “the Holodomor is one of the darkest pages in Ukraine’s history, during which millions of innocent victims were starved to death.”  He acknowledged the attendance of several UN Member States and thanked them for their support, stating, “We highly value those important signs of worldwide solidarity and support.  We are grateful to all the parliamentarians and governments who have already shown us their understanding…I am confident that the process that has started will not be stopped by anybody, and the international recognition of the Holodomor will continue to grow.  Let us remember about this tragedy, which is a tragedy to not only Ukraine, but the entire mankind.”

Working as the producer of the recently released documentary film, “The Living” Mr. Edwards provided a different perspective of the Holodomor, recounting how he became acquainted with the Ukrainian Genocide and how he bore witness to the tragedy through the words of the survivors, sixty of which were interview throughout Ukraine during the making of this documentary.

As with each year’s program, friends of Ukraine in the United States Congress also expressed their remarks regarding the tragic chapter in Ukraine’s history.  During this First Session of the 111th Congress, statements were provided by Senator Kiersten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Representative Sander Levin (D-MI), co-chair of the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus and main sponsor of the Ukrainian Famine-Genocide Memorial in Washington, DC [copies attached].  

In conclusion, His Grace Metropolitan-Archbishop Stefan Soroka of the Ukrainian Catholic Church concluded the requiem service by reflecting on the Holodomor and expressing his gratitude to His Excellency Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York and the entire staff for their permission to utilize St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which certainly brought much significant attention to the commemoration. "A Prayer for Ukraine" was sung by the Dumka Choir to close the program.  Special thanks goes to the U.S. Committee for Ukrainian Holodomor-Genocide Awareness 1932-33 for sponsorship of this year’s program.

November 17, 2009

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