above: Ukrainian World Congress Committee for International Holodomor Awareness and Ukrainian Canadian Congress card asking Ukraine's own President, Viktor Yanukovych (see photo at bottom for an explanation) to publicly recognize the Holodomor as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people.
[Also see http://www.ukrainianworldcongress.org/]
Don Fraser wrote in "A tale of famine survival" (St.Catharines Standard, Nov.24, 2010):
"Intense hunger had driven the Neufeld family in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, to the brink.
Every grinding day brought an overwhelming need to find something to fill their stomachs.
Jacob Neufeld was born during those awful times of the Holodomor in 1933.
That year and the year before, a Soviet-created famine likely killed between seven million and 10 million people in the Ukraine.
People on Soviet-controlled collective farms starved and died as food was confiscated and exported from the region.
Countless others were executed or exiled to the Gulags for food possession, private land owning or farming crimes and trumped-up political charges.
It is an atrocity, recounted by Neufeld's late parents Jacob and Helen, that the St. Catharines resident will never forget.
"It all led to an unbelievable path of misery and suffering," said Neufeld, whose Mennonite German family were longtime inhabitants of that part of Ukraine. "Men, women, children all died by the millions."
His father was a bookkeeper and the family of one sister and three brothers lived decent lives.
Things went downhill after Jacob Sr. was arrested by the Soviets as an enemy of the state and sent to a slave labour camp in Siberia. This was also during the Holodomor.
Helen, who lost her privileges to work in a collective farm because of her husband's "crime," acted heroically to keep the family alive.
In an interview inside his home, Jacob Jr., 77, grows quiet and steels himself for an intense story of survival, family separation and finally emigration to St. Catharines.
"Hunger set in, we lived very poorly," he said. "My mother went from door to door to ask for milk.
"It was difficult for our family and there were millions of others that went through hard or harder times -- many died."
He remembers the kindness of the Ukrainian village baker Anton, who saw the family's plight and slipped them a loaf of bread every so often.
"That was a fantastic deed," he said. "We have to remember there were many people who were also very compassionate."
Neufeld is still in contact with the late Anton's family.
In the end, only nine-month-old twin brother John died of unknown causes. Years later, Jacob Sr. was released, a physically broken man.
By the early part of the Second World War, there were more family arrests and the conscription of his mother and sister to dig trenches.
The turning point came as an eight-year-old, then living in the care of two women.
He remembers strolling inconsolably through his farmhouse.
"I walked through that empty house," Jacob said. "I sat down on the front porch and cried. I wondered what had happened to my family; where they had gone to."
At that moment, his father and brother Andrey -- unexpectedly freed following an arrest -- returned to the home. His mother and sister soon followed.
In 1949, the family immigrated to Niagara -- all except for Andrey, who was arrested again by the Soviets, sent to a Gulag and reappeared 13 years later in Kazakhstan. Henry now lives in Hamburg, Germany.
Jacob Jr. created a new life in Canada as a home builder. He is married to Frida, and the couple have three adult children.
They, too, will be remembering National Holodomor Awareness Week, which continues until Sunday. Numerous events, including some in St. Catharines, will mark the 77th anniversary of the famine genocide.
Neufeld says one very proud moment was being part of the 2009 Ukraine memorial set up by Canadian Mennonites to also remember those who died in Soviet times.
"We must never forget what has happened," he said, his voice thick. "Our children will learn from that, and they do."
People should appreciate living in Canada, he added.
"We have had many Thanksgiving days, where we thank God we're able to live in this country and have the freedom that thousands still don't have."
Alexandra Sawchuk, a local representative of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, said it's essential to pass on these stories.
Otherwise, its true horror gets lost and diluted through the passage of time and the loss of survivors.
"It's very important for us to always remember them," she said.""
Yet, George Bernard Shaw - socialist hero; Stalin admirer - denied that any genocide happened in the Great Soviet Socialist Experiment.
Also noteworthy is that on Jun.2, 2010, Quebec's National Assembly unanimously passed a bill which recognizes that the Holodomor was an act of genocide.
Below is an excerpt from The Ukrainian Weekly, Jun.13, 2010, of Stephen Bandera's take on Yanukovych being the first Ukrainian president to DENY the Holdomor:.