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5 Stalks of Wheat: Letter to the Danish Parliament on Recognition of the Holodomor as Genocide

Dear Member of the Danish Parliament,
We, Ukrainian people, who were fortunate enough to be born despite Soviet attempts to kill our grandparents in starvation, address you with this letter and want to appeal to you to recognise Holodomor of 1932-33 as genocide of Ukrainian people.

Why is it important to us at this moment?

We know the price of unpunished evil. Impunity has enabled the russian federation, a direct successor of the Soviet Union, to continue extermination of our people 90 years after it purposefully starved millions of Ukrainians by a man-made famine and this crime was left unpunished.

Today, russians are killing our kids. They shell residential buildings, schools and hospitals. They are destroying critical infrastructure to leave Ukrainians with no power or heat in the coldest period of the year. Having previously used food as a weapon, russia is doing it again 90 years later by threatening the global food supply when it's stealing and destroying millions of tons of the Ukrainian grain. The repetition of history must be condemned and justice must be restored in the name of russia's victims.

What is Holodomor and why have you received 5 stalks of wheat?

When the Soviet state decided to submit and indeed exterminate the Ukrainian nation 90 years ago, it organized an artificial famine over the territory of Ukraine. The name Holodomor comes from the Ukrainian holod (famine), mor (murrain) and means killing by starvation.

These 5 stalks of wheat are a symbolic representation of the Holodomor tragedy because they are a reference to a law established by the Soviet Union in 1932 that effectively declared every piece of food to be the property of the state. To make people submit to the new rule of collectivisation, not only was the harvest from the field expropriated by the state, but also every piece of provision was taken from the people. As little as 5 stalks of grain would be enough to call a starved person an “enemy of the state” and to execute them. With possession of food made illegal and escape from villages made impossible, the artificial famine of Holodomor killed at least 4 million Ukrainians all over Ukraine.

Tatiana Pawlichka, a survivor, recalled in 1986:“In 1932, I was 10 years old, and I remember well what happened in my native village in the Kyiv region. In the spring of that year, we had virtually no seed. The Communists had taken all the grain, and although they saw that we were weak and hungry, they came and searched for more grain. My mother had stashed away some corn that had already sprouted, but they found that, too, and took it. What we did manage to sow, the starving people pulled up out of the ground and ate.”

“I remain convinced that, for Stalin to have complete centralized power in his hands, he found it necessary to physically destroy the second-largest Soviet republic, meaning the annihilation of the Ukrainian peasantry, Ukrainian intelligentsia, Ukrainian language, and history as understood by the people; to do away with Ukraine and things Ukrainian as such. The calculation was very simple, very primitive: no people, therefore, no separate country, and thus no problem. Such a policy is GENOCIDE in the classic sense of the word,” wrote James Mace, historian, professor, and researcher of Holodomor.

The famine caused unimaginable trauma and damage to our national consciousness, our culture, our memory. Only decades after the famine survivors could tell their story, since the Soviet Union was not only taking the lives of our people, it also took our right to even mourn and remember them.

Our grandparents were starved, their children were made to forget, and we, facing the same enemy, have a duty to remember and remind the world of the truth. Only by remembering we can stop history from repeating, we can recognize terror and make a clear distinction between good and evil.

Therefore, we appeal to the Danish Folketing to join the 36 nations and organizations and recognize Holodomor as the genocide of Ukrainian people.

Such decision by the Danish Parliament would be yet another very powerful and symbolic gesture of recognition by the international democratic community of the horrible truth about the crime against Ukrainian people.


Nataliia Popovych, Ukraine Hus i Danmark, Zhanna Shevchenko, ukrainsk ortodokse samfund, Lesia Ignatyk-Eriksen, Association af Ukrainere i Danmark, Fader Vasyl Tykhovych, Den Ukrainske Græsk-Katolske Kirke i Danmark, Oleg Dudnyk, Forening af Ukrainere i Danmark "Faino", Vasyl Gedz, Lastivka Dansk Ukrainsk Forening, Tanja Korol, Dansk Ukrainsk Forening, Roman Boichuk, Bevar Ukraine, Tetiana Sydorets, Ukrainsk forening i Kolding, Tetiana Matiushchenko, Klub Ukraina, Maryna Hudzyma, Støt Ukraine, Liliya Semenyuk Schmidt, Foreningen for ukrainere i Odense, Tatiana Nielsen, Kulturformidler DK-UA, Olena Kvartskhava, Ukrainsk forening i Naestved.

Among the nations and organizations which already recognized Holodomor as the genocide of Ukrainian people there are: Australia, Baltic Assembly, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Estonia, European Parliament, EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Cooperation Committee, France, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Moldova, Paraguay, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, United States of America, Vatican.

Photos by Alex Benes


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