The word genocide conjures disturbing images of the Holocaust. Yet, another massive but often overlooked extermination of human life also occurred on the European continent. This little known genocide, orchestrated by Josef Stalin’s Soviet regime, is called the Ukrainian Holodomor Famine. The name Holodomor literally translates into “death by forced starvation,” and the death toll from this manmade famine was high–approximately 3,000 to 10,000 deaths, and 7 million victims. The official number however, is unknown today due to cover-ups orchestrated by the Soviet Union. The Holodomor Famine occurred between the years 1932 and 1933, and recently has been recognized as genocide by several nations including the United States, Canada and Mexico.
With the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the reemergence of Ukraine as an autonomous nation, the Ukrainian people have sought to remember the victims of this tragedy by building monuments dedicated to it all over the world. One such monument can be found in Parma, Ohio, on the grounds of a church named Saint Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral. Parma, Ohio may seem like an unlikely destination for a monument dedicated to those who lost their lives in the Holodomor Famine in 1932 and 1933. Yet upon further inspection, it seems to make more sense. The most important reason is tied into immigration. The City of Parma saw a large wave of Ukrainian immigrants during the years between the World Wars, and again after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Furthermore, there are a large number of Ukrainian immigrants the Parma, Ohio that might have been directly affected by the Holodomor Famine. Many knew or were related to someone who was a victim of this tragedy. The monument was created in October 1993 in order to mark the 60th anniversary of the famine.