President of the Republic of Poland / News / President’s letter on the observances marking the 85th anniversary of the Holodomor

Source: Republic of Poland in English

His ExcellencyMr Petro PoroshenkoPresident of UkraineKiev 

Distinguished Mr President,
These days, when Ukraine is commemorating the victims of the Great Famine from the years 1932-1933, I wish to offer to You, Sir, and to the Ukrainian Nation, the assurances of our friendship and solidarity. Poles along with Ukrainians want to remind the world about the boundless suffering of millions of people doomed by the totalitarian communist regime to die from starvation. Preserving the memory of this genocide is a warning against totalitarian ideologies which trample on human dignity and human rights, both now and in the future.
When thinking about millions of victims of the famine, which is symbolically referred to as the Holodomor – a combination of Ukrainian words standing for hunger and death, it is worth considering what death of starvation means for man.
“Those killed by the sword are better off than those who die of famine; racked with hunger, they waste away for lack of food from the field”. These words from the biblical Book of Lamentations reveal the very core of the cruelty and the dramatism of the Holodomor. Death of starvation deprives man of his dignity to the highest possible extent, since he is unable to oppose it. When threated by sword, we are at least able to put up physical resistance, even if it is hopeless. When faced with hunger, the only thing left to do is to die in silence.
That was exactly how the streets of Ukrainian villages and towns looked at the turn of 1932 and 1933. They were filled with those who had already died or those waiting for their end to come. The dreadful hopelessness of such waiting is bluntly reflected by the story of Petro Veldii, who confronted with the sight of dozens of dead bodies lying on the streets unburied, wanted to preserve the last shreds of his dignity and dug out his own grave. When, after some time, he approached it, feeling that the death was close, it turned out that the grave had already been taken. He still managed to find enough strength to dig out another one and lay down in it.
The tragedy of the millions of victims of the Great Famine is even greater due to the fact that it was not a natural disaster, but was consciously and deliberately planned by the order of Joseph Stalin, general secretary of the All-Union Communist Party. It was yet another in a series of crimes committed by the authorities of the Soviet Union, and before, by the Soviet Russia. Its character however was unique due to the scale of losses inflicted upon the nation of Ukraine. The aim was to destroy Ukrainian national identity by attacking those social groups who were its most important depositaries.
The crime significantly undermined the strength of the Ukrainian nation on Ukaraine`s central and eastern lands. And until this day the authorities of an independent Ukraine have to struggle with its consequences, both the direct ones, such as the death of millions of Ukrainians, as well as the indirect ones, i.e. easier Russification. That is a very difficult task and an additional burden for the country making a huge effort to introduce wide-ranging reforms. 
The crime of the Great Famine deserves universal condemnation. Let me use this opportunity and remind you that in 2006 the Senate of the Republic of Poland adopted a resolution which expressed solidarity with the position of Ukraine to regard the Great Famine as the crime of genocide. Let us also remember that among the Holodomor victims were members of the Polish nation. Today, Poles together with Ukrainians are paying tribute to and bowing their heads before  millions of victims who died as a result of that organized mass-scale crime. We, Poles and Ukrainians, should always demonstrate this kind of mutual brotherly solidarity when remembering all innocent victims of both our nations.
     Kind Regards,
President of the Republic of Poland       Andrzej Duda
The letter was read in Kiev by the Undersecretary of State in the Chancellery of the President of the Republic of Poland, Wojciech Kolarski