The Fourth Generation Speaks




Maria Pidkowich,
Vera Malanczyj 

The 24th WFUWO (World Federation of Ukrainian Women's Organizations) Literary Competition founded and sponsored by Dr. Marusia Beck was extraordinary compared to all the other competitions held to date, in that it was expanded to include children and young people in Ukraine. Participation mushroomed to 93 and so many good works were submitted that the jurors - Dr. Oleksandra Kopach, Jaroslava Zorych and Lesia Chraplyva-Shchur - agreed to give several awards to first, second and third places. 

Book CoverThe theme of the 24th Competition [1993] was "The Great Famine of 1932 - 1933 in Ukraine - Through My Eyes." It was chosen to commemorate 60 years since the Famine occurred, and to encourage Ukrainian children to become familiar with this tragic event, and the genocidal policies of Moscow against the Ukrainian populace. For the children in Ukraine, it was especially moving to research and study the atrocities committed by Soviet authorities. Reports about the Famine had been suppressed, and generations of Ukrainians were deprived of learning the true facts about this heinous crime perpetrated against their own people. Since Ukraine declared its independence upon the collapse of the Soviet Union, archival material is presently accessible, and tile young people of Ukraine are becoming knowledgeable about their past history. 

Participants of the competition fell into four categories:

    1. 7 - 11 year-olds,
    2. 12 - 14 year-olds,
    3. 15 - 18 year-olds,
    4. 19 - 23 year-olds.

Presented is a selection of five compositions.

    1. Voice of Hope
    2. The Famine
    3. The Candle
    4. Through My Eyes
    5. The Cry of Famine

The awards were presented at a special evening held on June 15, 1994, at the Ukrainian Canadian Art Foundation in Toronto. The guest of honour was Dr. Marusia Beck, founder and patron of the Literary Competition Fund of WFUWO. Three outstanding selections submitted in the competition were read by Volodymyra Luchkiw and Myroslava Zahrebelna. 

In her speech, Dr. Marusia Beck talked about her childhood days and her work in the Ukrainian and non-Ukrainian communities. She stressed that she was able to achieve her objectives through her vision, her hard work, and her commitment. She ended by saying that everyone likes to leave a legacy, and for her it is this Literary Competition. She also appealed to young people to engage themselves in community work. 

After her speech, Dr. Marusia Beck gave out the awards to the winners. It was an honour and an inspiration to have her at the award presentations. 

Source: 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. Edited by Lesia Khraplyva-Shchur, Published by the World Federation of Ukrainian Women's Organization, Toronto, 1997

Reprinted with the permission of the World Federation of Ukrainian Women's Organizations (WFUWO), Toronto, Canada

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