Holodomor torch burns in Red Deer

The Red Deer Advocate picked up a story on the Holodomor Remembrance Flame in Red Deer, Alberta yesterday:

“He (Stalin) didn’t want them to fight for independence,” Horlatsch said. Among the millions killed were Horlatsch’s cousins. The family of 11 all starved to death.

The Toronto man told students how officials would prevent people from getting food. “They would tear down the walls of your house or dig up your gardens looking for hidden food,” he said.

“We would get two spoonfuls of bread crumbs with water and it kept us alive,” he said. By January 1933, Horlatsch was too weak from hunger to go to school. When he returned the next year, a third of his class had died. Grade 12 student Robyn Holitski said she was not aware of the famine before Friday’s presentation. “I’m surprised more people don’t know, it sounds like something that should be part of our textbooks somewhere.”

“So many people died, we want people to know about it and recognize it,” Horlatsch said.

The tour returned to Edmonton this morning and will be in Vancouver this evening before heading to the US.

Holodomor Flame tours the USA

Courtesy UkraineGenocide.org’s calendar

UPDATE: Added some newspaper articles going into more details of upcoming tours in various cities. Also follow the Flame on Google Maps!

Holodomor Remembrance Flame in Alberta

The Edmonton Journal (and to a lesser extent the Edmonton Sun) ran articles of the Holodomor Remembrance Flame coming to Edmonton as part of its Canadian, American and World Tour of 33 countries. The day prior the Flame was in Vegreville. Presenting the flame in Canada is 87-year old Holodomor survivor Stefan Horlatsch who was 12 during the famine:

“There were many sad moments,” Horlatsch said, addressing students at Balwin. “I hope I can awaken us about what happened 75 years ago.”

Horlatsch spoke of the agony of losing 11 family members during the famine, while eating anything he could find in the woods to survive.

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“When I one day visited the house, there were three dead bodies already in the house and nobody was even planning to bury them because they were not strong enough,” said Horlatsch, who now lives in Toronto.

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The tour continues on to Red Deer and Calgary tonight.

UPDATE: The flame double-backed to Edmonton on Saturday, being presented at the Alberta Legislature. Pictures are available here and here (thanks CyberCossack).

UPDATE #2: Pictures from Calgary are here!

UPDATE #3: Found some more pictures from the Alberta Legislature in Edmonton on Flickr.

Holodomor Remembrance Flame in Regina

The Holodomor Remembrance Flame wrapped up its toured through the prairies this week. The Regina Leader Post posted an article on it with an interview with Stefan Horlatsch, a Holodomor survivor who has been representing the flame in Canada:

Horlatsch was 12 in 1932 and has vivid memories of the famine. When the famine-genocide began, Horlatsch and his family were living in Zaporizhia in the eastern region of Ukraine near the Black Sea. His family’s land, livestock and grain were seized by Soviet authorities. His father was sent to Siberia like most of the men during this time.

The Ukrainian Canadian Congress estimates that one-third of Holodomor victims were children. In that short period of time, one-quarter of the Ukrainian population died. The genocide policy introduced by then-Soviet leader Joseph Stalin included confiscation of all food both inside and outside the homes. Ukrainian people were forced to stay within their communities, therefore making it impossible to search for food.

The tour now heads to Alberta over the weekend, and then off to the US.

UPDATE: Click Here for pictures of this event

Support Bill 61 in Ontario – the Holodomor Memorial Day Act 2008

Dave Levac, MPP of Brantford introduced Bill 61 to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario to make the 4th Saturday in November in each year Holodomor Memorial Day


The Holodomor is the name given to the genocide by famine that occurred in Ukraine from 1932 to 1933. As many as 10 million Ukrainians perished as victims of a man-made famine under Joseph Stalin’s regime, with 25,000 dying each day at the peak of the famine.

The Government of Ukraine, the United States House of Representatives, the United States Senate, the Senate of Canada, UNESCO, the United Nations and over 40 other jurisdictions around the world have officially condemned the Holodomor or recognized it as genocide. Ukraine has established the fourth Saturday in November in each year as the annual day to commemorate the victims of the Holodomor.

It is appropriate to extend the annual commemoration of the victims of the Holodomor to Ontario. A memorial day provides an opportunity to reflect on and to educate the public about the enduring lessons of the Holodomor and other crimes against humanity.

Therefore, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, enacts as follows:

Holodomor Memorial Day

1. The fourth Saturday in November in each year is proclaimed Holodomor Memorial Day to commemorate the genocide by famine that occurred in Ukraine from 1932 to 1933.


2. This Act comes into force on the day it receives Royal Assent.

Short title

3. The short title of this Act is the Holodomor Memorial Day Act, 2008.

If you live in Ontario, contact your MPP and tell them to support this bill! Manitoba already passed introduced legislation on the 4th Saturday in November to be known as Ukrainian Famine and Genocide Memorial Day! On Tuesday, the bill passed its second reading!

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