REGINA — A small crowd gathered in Wascana Park to attend the province’s annual ceremony to honour the victims and survivors of the Ukrainian Holodomor.
The Holodomor, which means “extermination by hunger” in Ukrainian, was a man-made famine imposed on the people of the Ukraine in 1932-33 by the Soviet Union, during which an estimated 3.9 to 7 million people tragically perished.
In a short ceremony on Nov. 23 that included words from Legislative Secretary Responsible for Saskatchewan-Ukraine Relations Terry Dennis and Ukrainian Canadian Congress Saskatchewan president John Denysek.
“We are honouring the people that died of starvation during those times, and the people who are survivors and are telling the stories, spreading them in our province,” said Dennis.
In the presence of MLAs, provincial officials and members of the public, representatives from the province and the UCC placed wreaths at the foot of the statue of a girl holding sheaves of wheat.
The statue is a copy of sculptor Preto Drozdowsky’s “Bitter Memories of Childhood,” originally installed in Kyiv, Ukraine to memorialize the tragedy. Saskatchewan dedicated it's own statue in 2015.
Saskatchewan was the first jurisdiction in North America to declare a commemorative week dedicated to Holodomor remembrance, with the passing of legislature in 2008.
Approximately 13 per cent of Saskatchewan’s population is of Ukrainian descent, said Dennis, which makes Holodomor remembrance a very important act to continue.
“It's something we should never forget, the genocide of million of people,” said Dennis.
The ceremony is an annual event held by the province, typically taking place during Holodomor Remembrance Week during the fourth week of November. National Holodomor Remembrance Day takes place on Nov. 27 this year.