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Holodomor genocide: Ukrainian Ambassador says neighbors tried to boil her aunt alive

From 1932-1933, a great genocide took place in Ukraine, killing millions through a mass starvation by the Soviet Union. Now, 85 years later, the horrific memory is still very much alive in their hearts.

Ukrainian Ambassador to the Holy See
“It was a deliberate policy of the communist regime, of the Stalinist regime just to cleanse Ukrainian territories and to eliminate Ukrainians from these territories. In other words, the deprivation of food was used as a weapon to kill Ukrainians.”

During this mass starvation, the government confiscated all grain, seeds and potatoes from households. It then sold more than 1.7 million tons of grain to western markets during that year. 

Civilians, even children, would be severely punished if caught eating. So people resorted to searching for plants, twigs, herbs and insects, anything they could find to consume. 

Ukrainian Ambassador to the Holy See
“The family of my mother lived in the center of Ukraine and there were many children in the family. Her youngest sister, she was about three years old and she was just playing out of the house. When the mother came out of the house she couldn't find the child. They managed to find her. She was taken by other people. They took her into the house and just 10 minutes more and... they prepared for her a big pan with the boiling water. They were ready to cook and to eat this small child. You couldn't imagine. My mother told me this story.”

Ambassador Izhevska said not many journalists reported the truth about the situation. Yet the Vatican's own L'Osservatore Romano published an article in July 1933 titled, “Poverty and religious persecutions in Soviet Russia” with the subtitle - "Ukraine in terror." She said this brief article explained the situation.

The Vatican now continues to condemn this tragedy and Pope Francis has even written about it in his book, “Heaven and Earth.”

Ukrainian Ambassador to the Holy See
“He mentions Holodomor. Not as Holodomor, but he mentions different genocides of the last century. Yes, it is very important for all Ukrainian people that the pope recognizes it in such a way. Because Ukrainian people have a very great respect for the pope, for his words, his statements.”

Pope Francis' words, and those of previous popes, spread the reality of this devastation caused by the Soviet Union. 

Now, researchers estimate the slow starvation killed 24 people every minute, 1,440 every hour and 34,560 every day. This demonstrates the shocking reality the famished Ukrainians lived and remember 85 years later.