February 28, 2020

Survivor testimonies and presentations on the Holodomor now available online


MML Inc.

The original 1983 Montreal crew following filming of Holodomor survivor testimonies: (front row, from left) Volodymyr Hayduk, Yurij Luhovy, Marco Carynnyk, Shane Wittney, (back row) Petro Blysczak, Bohdan Kerechinsky, Natalka Stiletska, Anatoly Hayduk, Olya Katola, Zorianna Hrycenko and Christopher Hettel.

MONTREAL – The Montreal restoration project of Holodomor resource material for educators and the general public, undertaken by Yurij Luhovy and Zorianna Hrycenko, provides additional resource materials on the Holodomor.

Filmed in 1983, the final two phases of a major three-part project which began in May 2018 and was completed by January 2020, has now been posted online. The Holodomor project, which commemorated the 50th anniversary of the 1932-1933 Great Famine in Soviet Ukraine, leaves an important record of the work done in the diaspora to safeguard historical memory for future generations.

Phase two of the project consisted of filming four presenters, in Ukrainian, at the 1983 Montreal Ukrainian community panel presentation on the Holodomor. The four presenters were Prof. George Shevelov of Columbia University, Prof. Wsevolod Isajiw of the University of Toronto, Dr. Nina Strokata Karavanska, eyewitness to human rights abuses in the Soviet Union, and Prof. Bohdan Krawchenko of the University of Alberta. The panel was chaired by Prof. Roman Serbyn of the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM). A question and answer period followed.

This event ,attended by a capacity-filled hall with over 300 present, was held at the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church hall on Saturday, March 26, 1983. It was organized by the Ukrainian Canadian Professional and Business Association of Montreal and the Montreal Foundation in Commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the 1933 Famine in Soviet Ukraine, under the patronage of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, Montreal branch. Producers of the restoration phase were Mr. Luhovy, Ms. Hrycenko and Volodymyr Hayduk. The four-person panel was organized following the First International Symposium held on March 25-26,1983, at UQAM.

Phase three of the restoration project was the filming of Holodomor survivors’ testimonies. In 1983, Montreal was one of the first communities in the diaspora to begin filming eyewitness accounts. The nine interviews recorded survived over 30 years of storage. These tapes recently underwent a restoration process consisting of color correction due to fading, sound improvement due to the deteriorating condition of the tapes and editing. Originally filmed on U Matic ¾-inch videotape, the tapes were transferred to DVD and were put online as of January.

The 1983 oral- history project was spearheaded by the Montreal Foundation to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1933 man-made Famine. Committee members included Volodymyr Hayduk (chairperson), Lili Mospan, Anatoly Hayduk, Olya Katola and others. Interviews with famine survivors were conducted by Marco Carynnyk. Directed by Mr. Luhovy, the Concordia University-TV film crew, headed by Petro Blysczak, filmed the survivors. The Montreal survivors’ testimonies were filmed at St. Sophia Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral Residence, with space graciously provided by Father Ihor Kutash.

Having just viewed her father’s testimony online, the daughter of survivor Mychailo Hayduk wrote: “I cried when I heard my father’s interview as a witness. It brings back memories of my father and mother (also a famine survivor) reminding us of these horrific events so we would never forget them and teach our children and grandchildren. My father, a true Ukrainian patriot, would have been proud of the work that has been accomplished so far to bring the Holodomor to the world stage.”

In the early 1980s it was most brave of survivors in the diaspora to be interviewed, as they feared reprisals by the Communist regime against family members living in Soviet Ukraine. Speaking about the Holodomor was forbidden. For this reason, many did not give their real names during the interviews, but their names were written on a separate card to be revealed upon Ukraine’s independence.

The 1983 panel presentations, the survivors’ testimonies and the proceedings of First International Symposium on the Famine are all available online at  www.yluhovy.com. Also available are the award-winning documentaries, in Ukrainian, English and French versions, of “Genocide Revealed.”