Photo: Embassy of Ukraine to the UK (c) 2015
Lord Risby’s address to commemorate the victims of Holodomor in London
28 November 2015
The 82nd anniversary of the Holodomor of 1932-1933 in Ukraine was commemorated in London on 28 November, with wreaths laid to the Holodomor memorial at the Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of the Holy Transfiguration, followed by a service of remembrance.
The Chairman of the British Ukrainian Society, Lord Risby, sent his address on this sombre occasion, which was read out during the commemoration ceremony. The address is given below in full.
‘Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am joining you today in commemorating the victims of the Holodomor and applaud the important work of the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain, and the Ukrainian community at large, aimed at raising awareness of this tragedy in the United Kingdom.
It is often said that Ukraine is the breadbasket of Europe, with the richest soil in the world. By the spring of 1933, rural Ukrainians, sturdy, God-fearing and independent, were dying at a rate of 25 thousand a day. That is because of Stalin’s plans to steal their land and collectivise the country’s farms with such sheer brutality, and at any cost. There was a famine, but it was cruelly man-made.
In our Parliament in London, we have several times sought to highlight the sheer unspeakable horror of this induced death of millions of Ukrainians, with exhibitions and speeches. In an assembly building very close to our Houses of Parliament, a most moving ceremony took place, attended by President Yushchenko, clergy and distinguished Ukrainians, to commemorate this terrible blot on Western civilisation.
Of course, the legacy of this terror will forever remain in the historical consciousness of the Ukrainian people, but it left behind the powerful instinct that nothing should ever happen like this again. And for Ukraine never again to be under the yoke of any outsiders’ suppression.
The United Kingdom has been enriched by the arrival of people of Ukrainian origin, who have greatly contributed to our national life. It is therefore fitting that this inspiring memorial stands in the capital city of one of the world’s greatest democracies, whose way of life is underpinned by freedom and human rights, which is the ultimate universal aspiration.
This memorial is a tribute to our Ukrainian brothers and sisters who paid with their lives for their way of life. It is up to us, alive today, to make sure this never ever happens again.