November 26, 2020

Holodomor Descendants Network is formed


The family of Olya Soroka, the chairperson of the Holodomor Descendants Network: pictured in front row are Motria and Stefan Holowchenko (grandparents); standing, from left, are Anna Holowchenko Karpluk (aunt) and Maria Holowchenko Soroka (mother). All survived the Holodomor.

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Committee for Ukrainian Holodomor-Genocide Awareness (U.S. Holodomor Committee) announced the establishment of the Holodomor Descendants Network to bring together the descendants of the Soviet famine-genocide against the Ukrainian nation in 1932-1933. Its goal is to remember and share the personal family stories of this horror during which 10 million people, including children, died of starvation in the country known as “The Breadbasket of Europe.”

“The Descendants Network is a natural evolution of the work of our organization, whose mission is to promote and spread the truth about one of the least-known genocides in the world. I am pleased to announce that Olya Soroka, a member of our committee, whose mother, grandparents and aunt survived the Holodomor, will chair the newly formed network,” commented Michael Sawkiw Jr., chairman of the U.S. Holodomor Committee.


Impact of the genocide

The Holodomor genocide has left life-long aftereffects on the survivors and perhaps their descendants; the results this trauma are currently being studied.

“While many of the survivors of the Holodomor have departed this life, their experience and suffering has been captured in the familial stories they shared with family and friends in the quiet safety of their homes. Growing up, I listened to the whispers about the horrors of what my mother’s family had to endure and I am committed to helping make sure the world not only knows about the Holodomor-genocide, but never forgets. For me and countless other Holodomor Descendants, the stories still cause pain,” said Ms. Soroka, chair of the Holodomor Descendants Network.


Focus of work

The Holodomor Descendants Network is a subcommittee of the U.S. Committee for Ukrainian Holodomor-Genocide Awareness in alignment with the Ukrainian World Congress International Holodomor Committee. Efforts have been initiated to “identify descendants and create a personal and unending voice for those Holodomor victims that can no longer speak for themselves in order to ensure the story of the Holodomor continues to be shared by future generations,” said Ms. Soroka.

The Holodomor Descendants Network is based on the belief that the “descendants of victims of the Holodomor have a unique opportunity to ensure their families’ suffering is known so that no other political regime ever imposes this horror as a way to enforce their policies upon an unwilling nation,” stated U.S. Holodomor Committee Chairman Sawkiw.

The Holodomor Descendants Network will launch a webpage on the U.S. Committee for Ukrainian Holodomor-Genocide Awareness’ website in December 2020.

Founded in 2006, the U.S. Committee for Ukrainian Holodomor-Genocide Awareness is an organization staffed with volunteers from across the United States. Their varied activities are focused on promoting Holodomor education in school curricula, genocide recognition by state governments, exhibits, media outreach, film productions, a campaign for the revocation of Walter Duranty’s Pulitzer Prize, and mandating genocide studies in high schools.

The year 2015 saw the U.S. Holodomor Committee’s most notable accomplishment: the unveiling of the Holodomor Memorial in Washington, a project approved by the U.S. Congress in 2006.