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Ukraine: Kiev - Famine Memorial - Memories Of Hell

Published: 28.9.2011
Ukraine, as one of the union republics of the USSR, was a direct witness to the atrocities that communist regime committed on its inhabitants. Ukraine left to build an impressive monument that reminds one of the greatest crimes in history.

The memorial to victims of famine in Ukraine – it is a memorial, which is located in Kiev and dedicated to the tragic period of famine in Ukraine in 1932-1933. It was built in 2009 and in 2010 gained the status of national monument.

During thirty years Ukraine has experienced with three major famines: in 1921-1922, 1932-1933 and 1946. It should be included a violent collectivization in the years 1928-1931 and permanent war the Bolshevik regime against the peasants, which led to the planned extermination by famine in 1932-1933. Due to the hunger died 3.4 million people and it is estimated, that 1,1 million children didn´t born due to the same reason.   

Near the entrance to the monument area you can see the statues angel guards the soul of the deceased. In the middle of the Memorial square is a statue of a girl with five spikelets, which should remainds the tragic destiny of the most vulnerable victims of the famine - children. Five spikelets in the hands of a little girl symbolizes the Law of five spikelests, which was the name that peasants gave to the government resolution, according to the Stalinist regime sent people into camps just for collecting the cobs in the field, what remained after the harvest. The square is surrounded by 24 stones symbolizing the millstones of history that destroyed 24 000 lives each day.

The main part of the monument is the Candle of memory, 32-meter high concrete chapel in the form of white candlesticks with gilt azure flame. The edges of the candlestick are decorated by ornaments, which resembles Ukrainian embroidery. The cut window-crosses symbolizes the spirit of Ukrainians died of starvation. Small crosses are the souls of little children, a large cross marks the souls of adults.

A candlestick is from the bottom hemmed by four crosses, which resemble mill bucket for each period of famine (1921-22, 1932-33, 1946-47), one of them, the fourth cross is dedicated to all the famines in Ukraine. Cross-cages at the foot of the candlestick are decorated with golden statues of cranes, which are hammered in cages, but one of them was successful to escape, it means rebirth of the Ukrainian nation.

The National Museum is located underneath the Candlestick of memory. A long staircase lined with the black stone leads inside. A stone symbolizes the furrowed ground, harvest, from which the villagers could not use anything at the time of terror. The museum is conceived as a large space, in the middle a symbolic altar, where each of visitors can light a candle in memory of deceased victims. There are also items from the life of the Ukrainian village of 20 - 30 of the 20 century from villages that were affected by famine. The pedestals placed around the hall is located 19 separate volumes, which together form the National book memory of victims of the famine years of 1932-1933, containing information about nearly 900,000 dead in that period.

On the walls are constantly showed documents and photographs that informs about the causes, course and consequences of famine, appears the names of victims. There is located also the bell. Every visitor here can get the information about victims of famine and provide information about their relatives who died of hunger.

From the Hall you can walk up on the Steps of memories to the alley with memorable black boards to be recorded entirely extinct villages, where the majority of the population died. Their total number is 14 000.

Museum Address: Ukraine, Kiev, Ivan Mazepy street, park of Eternal glory, Metro Arsenalnaja

Text/photo: Maxim Kucer

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