Our society is composed of people from diverse linguistic and cultural origins. It is important that all Manitobans have a good understanding and appreciation of the richness of our human diversity, our roots, and our people’s stories, in order to develop a sense of community and intercultural understanding. This should include an awareness of how issues of contemporary oppression and inequality are rooted in our history.
Within this context, it is important that all students know and understand some of the more important aspects of the Holodomor. The Holodomor and other examples of genocide are of enduring significance to Canadians and the world as a whole because there are important lessons to be learned about human rights and responsibilities, oppression, and the challenge of democracy in multi-ethnic and multicultural societies.
During the 70 years of communist rule in Ukraine, this former soviet republic suffered several severe famines, the most destructive of which was the great famine now known as the Holodomor of 1932-1933, which affected Ukraine, the Northern Caucasus, and the lower Volga River area. Recent research based on documentation released since the fall of communism and the breakup of the Soviet Union shows clearly that this great famine was manufactured or planned. It is now evident that throughout the whole period, the Ukrainian Soviet Republic produced enough food to be able to feed all of its inhabitants. The Famine was the direct result of Moscow’s decision to divert Ukrainian resources to other regions and withhold food from the Ukrainian population that led to mass-starvation. While there is some debate about the number of persons affected, it is estimated and generally accepted that 7-10 Million persons died in Ukraine alone from starvation during this period, because of the forced famine.
Today many countries, organizations, and scholars recognize that the Holodomor is a crime against humanity and is an act of genocide.
The term “Holodomor” originated from the Ukrainian noun “holod” (hunger, starvation, famine) and verb “moryty” (to cause to be wasted, to kill).
Through a study of the Holodomor, students can come to realize that
The Manitoba Social Studies curriculum supports the continued development of the multicultural, multiracial, and pluralistic democracy that is Canada. The events that take place in our classrooms shape, and are shaped by, larger social currents that define who we are and where we are headed as a society. To be successful, schools in general, and social studies classrooms in particular, must be guided by democratic social goals and values that affirm our human diversity and dignity, and that demonstrate a quest for greater equity in our institutions and in society as a whole.
There are specific grade levels and elements of the Manitoba Social Studies curriculum that are particularly relevant to the Holodomor, the history of Ukraine, and the history of Ukrainian-Canadians. These are:
Ukrainian-Canadian communities throughout Manitoba and Canada include many individuals and families who are survivors of the Holodomor, are related to survivors, and/or lost family members and loved ones during the Holodomor. While the Ukrainian-Canadian community in Manitoba is diverse and composed of families and individuals who themselves immigrated or are descents of immigrants to Canada from many different parts of the world and who arrived in Canada before, during, and after the Holodomor, it has affected all.
The Ukrainian-Canadian community has long striven to have Canada and the world recognize the Holodomor as an act of Genocide. The National Holodomor Awareness Week is an annual educational outreach initiative intended to remember the Holodomor and to encourage Canadians to take the lessons learned from the Holodomor so that we can all work that this never again.
There are many websites with information on the Holodomor and related educational resources. The following is a sample of some of the sites available that may be of interest to teachers and students. The sites are organized into four categories: Historical Resources, Lesson Plans and Teachers’ Guides, and Other International and Related Sites.
The Artificial Famine/Genocide (Holodomor) in Ukraine 1932-33: Is a section of the InfoUkes (site dedicated to information on the Ukrainian Diaspora) website which provides a range of resources related to the history of the Holodomor.
Famine: Genocide in Ukraine 1932-1933: This website originated with a conference commemorating the 65th anniversary of the 1933 Famine-Genocide in Ukraine. Participants included survivors, scholars, students, parliamentarians, clergy, and the Ukrainian community in the Greater Toronto Area. The events of that week revealed a need for an accessible introductory resource, especially for students on the Holodomor that became this website. The site provides a variety of resources including historical facts, memoirs of survivors, articles, and educational resources for teachers. Lesson Plans and Background information for Teachers on the Holodomor - presented at the OHASSTA (Ontario History and Social Sciences Teachers' Association) Conference in 2008 by Valentina Kuryliw are available at The Unknown Genocide - Ukrainian Holodomor 1932 - 1933
Holodomor: Genocide by Famine This website is dedicated to building awareness and understanding of the Holodomor as genocide by famine against the Ukrainian people by perpetuating an education and information program; and to memorialize the victims of the Holodomor and preserve the legacy of its survivors. Information on the exhibit and the DVD that was created based on the exhibit is available on the site as well as other information related to Holodomor remembrance.
Holodomor Survivors is a Canadian site dedicated to the survivors of the Holodomor. A variety of resources are provided including video clips of survivors stories.
Holodomor Ukrainian Genocide in the Early 1930s (booklet), Ukrainian Canadian Congress, Published by Ukrainian Canadian Congress. (Electronic version available.
Ukraine’s Genocide of 1932-33: A informative and useful site initiated by the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, the National Committee to Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Ukrainian Genocide of 1932-1933 is comprised of leading Ukrainian American organizations, who have joined together to shed light on Ukraine's Genocide of 1932-1933.
Ukrainian Canadian Research & Documentation Centre (UCRDC) is a community centre, which collects, catalogues, and preserves material documenting the history, culture, and contributions of Ukrainians throughout the world. The web site features a variety of materials related to the Holodomor and other aspects of Ukrainian history. Harvest of Despair is a documentary produced by the Centre that can be found on the documentaries part of the site.
Ukrainian Government Portal: Golodomor: Is the official Ukrainian government internet portal for the “Golodomor of 1932 – 1933." Kharkov oblast” may be accessed in English and Ukrainian. The site features archival documents, photo materials, memoirs of people who survived one of the most terrible Ukrainian history periods will contribute to distribution of information about Golodomor of 1932 – 1933 in Ukraine.
Ukrainian "Memorial" Society: Ukrainian language website dedicated to the Holodomor.
Ukrainian State Archives of the Ukrainian Genocide Famine: Features a collection of archival photos and documents in English and Ukrainian related to the Holodomor.
Ukrainian World Congress: provides information and resources about the Holodomor from around the World. Lesson Plans in Ukrainian and other teaching resources are available at http://www.ukrainianworldcongress.com/committees/SKVOR/Index_SKVOR/index_ua.html
Ukrainian Holodomor/Genocide Resources - Prevent Genocide International: Prevent Genocide International, established in 1998, is a global education and action network for the prevention of genocide and crimes against humanity. This section is dedicated to information on the Holodomor.
CBC Series The Great Hunger; Looks at the famines in Ireland and Ukraine
The Living: International Charitable Fund “Ukraine 3000” presents a documentary film “The Living” directed by Sergiy Bukovsky. The characters of the film were children when everything was taken away from their parents. This film tells the story of how they survived the Great Ukrainian Famine (Holodomor) of 1932-33. It also tells the story of British journalist Gareth Jones, whose truthful reports about the Ukrainian tragedy were never heard in the West.
As We Slept Exhibition: The Ukrainian Cultural and Educational Centre is pleased to present an exhibition of drawings by Olexander Wlasenko: As We Slept that explores the portrayal of illusion as reality and juxtaposes it with images of reality as illusion.
Toronto District School Board (TDSB) -Teaching the Holodomor in Ukraine in Grade 12 History and Politics © 2010: This resource was developed by TDSB to assist teachers in the integration of the study of the Holodomor into the current Ontario Canadian and World Studies curriculum with a focus on the Grade 12 History and Politics .Teachers in Manitoba may also find the resource useful for similar purposes with respect to Manitoba's social studies curricula. The new resource provides strategies to integrate the Holodomor into the aforementioned courses. Detailed lesson plans and assessment and evaluation strategies for units and courses are suggested, along with excellent resources. For ordering information see:
Canadian Friends of Ukraine Holodomor awareness initiatives
Genocide: This is an extensive and well-developed unit on Genocide in the 20th Century. This unit was developed through the Urban Dreams project of the Oakland Unified School District Office of Instructional Technology. It is one of several resources designed to support the work of History and English teachers, grades 9-12, by providing access to appropriate technology tools and professional development opportunities. Its focus on teaching and learning about Human Rights and Civil Rights provided the thematic context through which students worked to improve their skills as readers and writers.
The unit explores seven examples of genocide including:
Genocide Never Again: A teacher guide presented at a conference of the North Carolina Council of high school Social Studies teachers, by Mrs. Vera A Bej, Distinguished Educator from
Pennsylvania, designed for the study of the Holodomor and other lesser known genocides.
Harvest of Despair: Is a 54 Minute video on the Great Famine, which may be downloaded to IPods or PSPs.
Holodomor 1932-33: PowerPoint presentation and other resources prepared by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Education.
HistoryWiz: is an award-winning site dedicated to teaching history. It features a section devoted to the Holodomor.
Teaching Genocide: Is a web site developed by the Genocide Education Project. It is a nonprofit organization that assists educators in teaching about human rights and genocide, particularly the Armenian Genocide, by developing and distributing instructional materials, providing access to teaching resources and organizing educational workshops. The site provides an overview of examples of genocide in World History including the Slave Trade, Genocide of the Native Americans, the Great Famine in the Ukraine, the Rape of Nanking, the Holocaust, the Cambodian Genocide, Ethnic Cleansing in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Rwandan Genocide.
Art Ukraine: Ukrainian Genocide Gallery: The Ukrainian genocide element of Art Ukraine, features artwork and other resources related to the Holodomor.
Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain: Features a section on Holodomor awareness activities and resources in the United Kingdom.
Australian Federation of Ukrainian Organisations - Ozeukes: The web site provides information on Ukrainians in Australia, Holodomor remembrance activities, Holodomor educational resources.
The Holodomor Memorial Website: Is dedicated to proving information from scholars around the world on the Holodomor and ensuring that the lessons of the Holodomor are remembered.
The Shevchenko Scientific Society: Annotated Bibliography of Holodomor resources. (British website)
Ukemonde: Provides two resource lists and links to Ukrainian Genocide Famine Information, with one focused on Stalin and the other on the Holodomor itself.
Ukrainian Weekly, Ukrainian Genocide Famine Archives: The Ukrainian Weekly was founded in 1933 to serve the Ukrainian American community and features two archives or articles and resources related to the Holodomor.
Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation Established by Congressional Res. H.R. 3000 (Oct. 21, 1998) & Presidential Approval, Public Law 103-199 (Dec 17, 1993). This law authorized The National Captive Nations Committee, Inc. to construct, maintain, and operate in Wash., D.C. an appropriate international memorial to honor victims of communism, tragically numbering more than 100 million, struck down in an unprecedented imperial communist holocaust through conquests, revolutions, civil wars, purges, wars by proxy, and other violent means.
Teaching the Holodomor or other examples of genocide can be a very demanding, challenging, and emotional experience for teachers, students, and their families. It is more common than one may expect, that teachers and students and their respective families to be survivors or related to survivors of genocide or of war and social upheaval. In many classrooms today we can expect that some children have themselves and/or their families been refugees from war and oppression. Therefore, the study of the Holodomor can ‘awaken’ memories of such past experiences for both for those who have a direct connection to the Jewish community and survivors of the Holodomor and recent survivors of war and contemporary experiences with attempts at genocide or ‘ethnic cleansing’.
Therefore, it may be useful for teacher to draw on resources and guides related to working with war affected children and survivors, as well as resources related to teaching about genocide that may assist them in preparing for and teaching the Holodomor. The list that follows provides some useful websites for these purposes.
Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture (CCVT) is a non-profit, registered charitable organization, founded by several Toronto doctors, lawyers and social service professionals, many of whom were associated with Amnesty International. The Centre offers a variety of online, print and media resources related to supporting victims of war and torture.
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