The Holodmor will be recognized at TDSB

Genocide killed five million Ukrainians
September 9, 2008 11:05 AM



The Holodomor, an event during the early 1930s in the Ukraine where millions died of famine, will now be recognized on the fourth Friday of November in all Toronto public schools starting this year.

The motion by Ward 12 (Willowdale) Trustee Mari Rutka to honour those who died during the Holodomor was unanimously approved at the last Toronto District School Board meeting in late August.

Several countries, including Canada, recognized the Holodomor as an act of genocide caused by the Soviet regime under Joseph Stalin to "systematically destroy the Ukrainian people's aspirations for a free and independent Ukraine, and subsequently caused the death of millions of Ukrainians in 1932 and 1933."

"A lot of people don't know about it," said Rutka, noting the old Soviet government had suppressed the information until recently. "At least five million died as a result of Stalin's policy."

But recognizing the Holodomor at the TDSB is just the first step, Rutka said, acknowledging the Ukrainian-Canadian community in Toronto for bringing the Holodomor to the attention of the school board.

"In order to support that (motion), there will be another motion to the programs committee this month to develop resource materials for teachers so they can discuss this issue with their students," she said.

Eugene Yakovtich, chair of the famine genocide committee with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress - Toronto Branch, said he hoped the school board will vote to see the Holodomor in the history curriculum as early as next school year.

"It's a significant part of history in the last 100 years," said Yakovitch, adding more documentation of the Holodomor is being revealed since Ukraine declared independence from the former Soviet Union in the early 1990s. "This could be a lesson from history."

The motion to include the Holodomor into the public school board's curriculum will be brought forward to the program and school services committee Wednesday, Sept. 10.