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Silenced voices of the Starved Children


Lesa Melnyczuk Morgan began her Book Launch presentation for the Commemoration of the 85th Year of The Holodomor of 1932-1933 by reminding everyone that:

At the height of the Holodomor Ukrainian villagers were dying at the rate of:

25,000 per day,

1,000 per hour and  17 per minute.

And yet the Soviet Regime was dumping 1.7 million tons of grain on western markets.

де би ти не був 24 листопада о 16.00

Wherever you are on the 24th November at 4pm

Ми пам'ятаємо! Ми сильні! #Голодомор85

We remember, we are strong, Holodomor 85

The Ministry of Information Policy of Ukraine, with the participation of the Ukrainian Institute of National Remembrance sent out those words to Ukrainians worldwide.

They asked everyone around the world to honour the memory of those who died during the Holodomor, on November 24 each year at 4pm. We will be honouring them today, the 25th, from the church services this morning to this book launch this afternoon.

Lesa thanked the management of Ristorante 1934, Rimon and staff for hosting her Book Launch as well as Rocco Lumbaca a friend and Board Member of the Italian Club, for making it happen.

Tony Krsticevic MP, a wonderful support and friend to our WA Ukrainians honoured her with a speech outlining his presentation to Parliament 29 November and outlining how her book finally gave voice to our Western Australian Holodomor survivors and ensured that their life stories would be heard and remembered.

Publisher and friend Carina Hoang PhD was thanked for her creative preparation and ideas in developing such a moving work.

Christoff Hoppen, photographer and graphics creator brought the work to life with Carina.

Lesa held up one of the books and pointed out some of the beautiful presentations of the stories.

Morgan Williams who wrote the Foreward in her book was also thanked. Morgan Williams is the Director, Government Affairs, Washington Office, SigmaBleyzer and also the President/CEO, U.S. – Ukraine Business Council.

Lesa began the afternoons presentation with the beautiful music of a Ukrainian National Folk Song, ‘Взяв би я бандуру’ sung by well known Ukrainian Baritone soloist Ilya  Meleschenko.

She spoke about Kobzar Bandura players who were Ukraine’s classic travelling folk musicians preserving the Ukrainian songs and music as story tellers. As blind bards they roamed the villages and towns, singing the poignant history and stories of Ukraine and Ukrainians. She told her audience that Stalin rounded up around 338 Banduristi into a large hall and executed them. He wiped the memories and their stories.

The Ukrainian Anthem was sung by one of Ukraine’s National Choirs by video.

Because the Holodomor affected future generations of children and youth of Ukraine she asked 4 children to read 10 names each:

Sofia Holovko, Daniel Jakimowicz, Christina Lipinskiy and Daniel Podgorny read the names.

Victoria Holovko was the MC for the event and was thanks profusely by Dr Lesa Melnyczuk Morgan.

These WA young Ukrainian Australians were very kind to the memory of the people they honoured.

In her first book, Silent Memories… pseudonyms were used for all survivors as a result of 10 people wishing anonymity. In the second publication pseudonyms were only used for the 10 survivors who did not wish to have their names published. Their other details such as year and place of birth etc were however included to substantiate their stories.

Lesa read wishes for success from Liberal Parliamentary MPs who were aware of her book launch.

The Australia, motion to mark the beginning of the two year 85th Anniversary commemoration of the Holodomor of Ukraine (1932-1933) passed the Parliamentary Senate in November 2017 was read out.

Lesa spoke of being finally pleased to be able to uncover the full stories, the silent memories, which were such a harrowing part of her research work for 15 years. This was her small legacy to our WA Ukrainian Holodomor survivors.

Dr Melnyczuk Morgan reminded that as the Ukrainian and Western Australian community we join with the international community in commemorating the Holodomor under the world motto of: Ukraine remembers – the world acknowledges

Mrs Annella Perzylo, a Holodomor survivor sang a poignant song to complete the event.

It was a crowd of just over 120 that attended the event and were greeted with sandwiches, cakes, tea and coffee. This was a welcome respite before the presentation and video shown of the Holodomor:

It was Dr Melnyczuk Morgan’s usual high quality of presentation of her work.

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© 2022  by Ukrainian Association of WA  Inc.

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