Every November, Leoniv Korownyk revisits one of the darkest periods in Ukrainian history.

Korownyk, officials and supporters gathered at the legislature yesterday for a service that recognized Bill 37 and commemorated those who died as a result of the man-made famine and genocide of 1932-1933 in the Ukraine.

Bill 37, passed on Nov. 4, 2008, declared every fourth Saturday in November as Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (Holodomor) Memorial Day in Alberta. The service was hosted by Ken Kowalski, speaker of the legislative assembly of Alberta, and featured Premier Ed Stelmach along with other officials and survivors of the genocide.

“It was and always will be an unyielding wound in the memory of the Ukrainian nation,” said Korownyk, a Holodomor survivor.

“I am grateful that I survived the Holodomor and in the 80th year of my life was able to speak to you today regarding this horrible and unjust evil,” stated Korownyk in his sombre speech.

Korownyk first fled to Germany to escape the genocide and finally made his home in Canada.

Stelmach, who helped pass Bill 37, also spoke at the ceremony.

“It was not just an assault on Ukrainian farmers, it was almost as if a war had been declared on all Ukrainians, and it is estimated anywhere from seven to 10 million Ukrainians perished during the famine, and perhaps even more,” he said.

“But thankfully some survived, and it is because of those survivors that the horror of the Ukrainian famine and the genocide is known despite the efforts of the Soviet authorities to conceal the truth of what happened in Ukraine.”

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