rohdale-holodomor-2012.jpg Taras Melnyk

On 23rd November the Ukrainian flag flew at half mast from the Rochdale Town Hall to commemorate the 79th Anniversary of the Holodomor – Famine Genocide in Ukraine of1932–1933. 

The Ceremony of Remembrance began with a procession from the Town Hall to the Holodomor Memorial Stone in Rochdale's Memorial Gardens. It was led by priests from the Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church (UAOC), the Ukrainian Catholic Church (UCC) the Church of England, the Mayor and Mayoress of Rochdale, Councillors from Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council, a representative of the AUGB General Council and invited guests. About 60 people from Rochdale and the North West attended the ceremony.

Anna Kecyk, Chair of The Friends of Lviv, opened proceedings with a short speech after which wreaths were laid by the Mayor and Mayoress of Rochdale Councillors James and Jane Gartside, Councillors Andy Kelly and Billy Sheerin and by Mr. Bohdan Ratych of the AUGB General Council. A minute's silence was observed and was folled by a "Panachydia" memorial service led by the Very Rev. Bohdan Matwijczuk. 

The commemoration then continued at the Ukrainian Cultural Centre. Maria Kopczyk, deputy chair of AUGB Rochdale Branch, lit a candle in memory of the victims of the Holodomor before the screening of a film:  “Holodomor - Ukraine’s Genocide” .  

During a brief speech, the Mayor of Rochdale stressed that “the atrocities that took place must never be allowed to happen again”.

Former Leader of the Council, Irene Davidson, recalled how in 2009, as a Councillor of Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council, she put forward a motion that Rochdale Council recognises the Holodomor as an Act of Genocide against the Ukrainian Nation. At the time she called on the three party leaders and MP to write to the Government with the request that Britain also officially recognises the Holodomor as an Act of Genocide. The motion was passed unanimously and before long, following a request from the Rochdale Friends of Lviv, a Holodomor Memorial was erected in the Memorial Gardens.  Mrs Davidson reminded everyone that Rochdale was only the second in the UK to recognise the Holodomor as Genocide, but first amongst all Metropolitan Borough Councils in Great Britain.

AUGB representative Bohdan Ratych compared the scale of the 1932-33 attrocities to the the population of Rochdale.  At its peak, in the space of just 9 days, the equivalent of the whole of the population of Rochdale were forcibly starved to death.

The solemn event ended with “A Prayer for Ukraine”.

Film footage of the commemoration can now be viewed on youtube



Ukrayinska Dumka


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