40 years ago, the first monument to the Holodomor victims opened in Edmonton

23 October 2023

“In memory of the millions who perished in the genocidal famine inflicted upon Ukraine by the Soviet regime in Moscow in 1932-1933. Let’s stand guard against tyranny, violence and cruelty,” the inscription on the world’s first monument to the Holodomor victims says.

The monument was opened exactly 40 years ago — on October 23, 1983, in Edmonton (Alberta, Canada). Its author is the Montreal sculptor Lyudmyla Temertia, whose mother survived the Holodomor. The monument, built on the initiative of the Edmonton branch of the Committee of Ukrainians of Canada, was, for obvious reasons, very harshly perceived by the Soviet authorities. The USSR Embassy in Canada announced an official protest, demanding that all measures be taken to prevent its opening. “This action aims to spoil the historical truth about the collectivization of agriculture in the USSR, to incite enmity against the Soviet people.”

However, the monument was opened – and this may have become the point of no return.

In Ukraine, the Holodomor was talked about loudly and openly already after gaining independence. However, it was the very first small steps towards the triumph of truth that became harbingers of dozens of countries recognizing the great famine of 1932-1933 as genocide against the Ukrainian people.