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THE FOURTH GENERATION SPEAKS

THE FAMINE OF 1933 IN UKRAINE
THROUGH MY EYES

 

ESSAYS BY WINNERS OF THE XXIVTH MARUSIA BECK LITERARY COMPETITION
FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE

Maria Pidkowich,
Vera Malanczyj 

Below is the work submitted by Sofia Petrenko from Canada, a third-place winner, in the 15 - 18 year old category.

 

THE FAMINE
Sofia Petrenko
Translated by Vera Malanczyj 

During the years 1932-1933, there was a genocidal famine in Ukraine. People were dying from hunger all over the country. This happened almost 60 years ago. Nevertheless, Ukrainians all over the world will never forget about this Famine. 

I first heard about the Famine six years ago when I was ten. I asked my dad about it. He became very serious and turning towards me asked: 

"Have you ever heard about the Jewish Holocaust that happened during the Second World War?" 

"Yes, Dad. It was terrible." 

"Well, something very similar happened in Ukraine in 1932." 

Dad began to tell me about how my grandmother and grandfather were in Ukraine during the Famine, and how terrible it was. He continued to explain that the Famine was caused by the communists. There was nothing to eat in Ukraine and many people died from hunger. He took out a large album and showed me some pictures. There were dead people lying everywhere along the road. No one had the strength to bury them. I had never seen anything like that. 

I was completely shocked. I couldn't believe that the communists could do something like that to Ukrainians. But it happened. Everybody knows about the Holocaust, but almost no one that isn't Ukrainian knows about the Famine. My father called the Famine the "Holocaust of the Ukrainians" because so many Ukrainians died for no reason. I don't think the Famine will ever be forgotten: it will remain in the minds of Ukrainians forever.

 

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