On October 13, 2018, a scientific conference devoted to the 85th anniversary of the Holodomor-genocide was held in Düsseldorf, Germany. The organizers of the event were the Ukrainian Cultural-Educational Organization “Ukrainian House of Dusseldorf” and the International NGO “Fourth Wave”, whose leader Irina Yastreb opened the conference with greetings to the participants.
President of the World Congress of Ukrainians Eugene Czolij also congratulated those present on the opening of the conference. In his speech, he addressed the issue of the cause of the Holodomor – preventing the exit of Ukraine from the USSR and restoration of state independence. It is known that the Ukrainian nation was the only force that could eventually destroy the USSR, the only one that had strong aspirations for secession, free living and economic activity on its own land. President of the UWC recalled the famous scholar of the Holodomor Robert Conquest: “The famine was planned by Moscow to exterminate the Ukrainian peasantry as a national bastion.”
“It’s hard to imagine Holodomor’s horror today, in 2018. If all this was so terrible, then why mention it? Perhaps it is no longer necessary to return to this grief that happened almost 100 years ago. Maybe it’s better to let it be forgotten? But my answer to this rhetorical question is “No!” – Gerhard Zimon, a professor at the University of Cologne, addressed the audience. His speech addressed the memory culture in Ukraine, Germany and Russia and the need for a constant reminder of the Holodomor. The professor stressed that Stalin had committed the Holodomor against the Ukrainian nation and this is the greatest crime of the Stalinist regime. According to the scientist, the commemoration of the victims of the genocide is the overcoming of the totalitarian past and the road to the construction of a better world.
Olesia Stasiuk, General Director of the National Museum Holodomor Victims’ Memorial, emphasized the importance of research and understanding of the Holodomor-genocide and the recognition of the Holodomor as a crime of genocide by other countries. After all, the memory of the Holodomor in Ukraine was under severe prohibition for more than half a century. The world received only part of the information on events in Ukraine in 1932-1933 due to individuals, because the Soviet Union officially denied the fact of the famine and distributed false information.
Ukraine had a long and difficult way to restore the truth about the Holodomor. During the years of independence, the foundations for the return of memory of the Holodomor were laid down: thousands of scientific researches on the history of the Holodomor have been carried out, more than a hundred monuments to the victims of the Holodomor in Ukraine were installed, every fourth Saturday of November, on the National Memorial Day, Ukrainians around the world commemorate the memory of ” victims of genocide”. Recognition of the Holodomor as genocide and commemoration of the victims of other countries is a symbol of sympathy and support for the Ukrainian people.
Of great significance was the statement of Profes
sor of the University of Munich Dmitry Zlepko on the issue of the Echoes of the Holodomor in Germany (1933-1934). Professor Zlepko focused on analyzing the reports of German diplomats on the social and political situation in Ukraine in the 1930s.
Ukrainian colleague Professor Vasyl Marochko, who heads the Association of Holodomor Researchers, continued the discussion on this topic. Vasyl Marochko also spoke on the study of the issue of human losses from the Holodomor-genocide.
Professor Arsen Zinchenko, senior researcher at the Memorial to the Holodomor victims, described the prerequisites for the Holodomor, focusing on the use of Soviet propaganda against Ukrainians, the formation of the enemy’s image and calls for the genocide to be committed. The report of Professor of the Institute of Art Studies, Folklore and Ethnology Valentina Borisenko was devoted to the topic of oral history as a source for the study of the Holodomor.
The exhibition “Executed by Famine: Unknown Genocide of Ukrainians” was exhibited at the conference, which details the history of the Holodomor: the causes, preconditions, the commission of the crime and the consequences of the genocide.