Ukrainian to English translation of Professor Valentyna Borysenko's book about the Holodomor(1932-33) genocide of Ukrainian people by the Stalinist government), has recently been released and presented at the Ukrainian Museum in New York. The book, “A Candle in Remembrance” consists mainly of oral eyewitness reports gathered by University students in various oblasts(regions) in Ukraine.
Upon the recommendation of former First Lady of Ukraine, the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America, agreed to undertake the translation process. Success has been achieved.
The UNWLA is the largest and oldest Ukrainian women's organization in the United States. It works independently as a charitable and cultural organization. Historically, the goal has been to inform the free world about events in Ukraine, to support the homeland both spiritually and materially, and to promote the preservation of Ukrainian national identity, cultural heritage, and ethnic traditions in the United States.
This translation project will aid in the realization of these goals.
This is especially important in 2010, when the leadership in Ukraine is minimizing the existence of the Holodomor and its impact on Ukrainian growth and development.
History can be viewed as a series of cataclysmic events propelled by an insatiable lust for power or wealth (or both) with tragic consequences for some and ephemeral victory for others. It is, in the works of most historians, a litany of the exploits and excesses of kings and kingmakers, despots and demigods, who for good or ill leave an indelible mark on a nation or an empire. All too often, the legacy inherited by their powerless subjects is a legacy of distrust, destruction, and desolation of the spirit, which lingers and festers and shapes the destiny of survivors and their descendants accordingly. It is precisely such a legacy that was callously thrust upon the people of Ukraine in the 1930s, during an undeclared war in which the horrors of all of history’s battlefields were eclipsed by a weapon of mass destruction aimed at innocent men, women, and children whose only crime was their Ukrainian ethnicity. That weapon was famine, and its casualties were millions of Ukrainian farmers and peasants whose feeble cries for succor went unheeded and unanswered by a world that saw nothing or, in the name of political expediency, chose to see nothing. In giving heretofore nameless and faceless farmers and peasants who survived this genocide a voice, Valentyna Borysenko’s A Candle in Remembrance has become a monument to the victims who perished, an indictment of those who designed and implemented acts of barbaric cruelty against the Ukrainian people, and a prayer that the atrocities Ukraine suffered are never again perpetrated. It is hoped that the English translation of Professor Borysenko’s work does justice to the author and to those whose lives and deaths she memorialized.
This powerful collection of oral histories of the 1932-33 famine in Ukraine writes a heartrending chronicle of cruelty and suffering together with remarkable stories of survival, bravery, and resilience. The histories were collected by Ukrainian historians in an independent Ukraine; nonetheless, they reveal the traces of decades of enforced silence about this tragedy unleashed on the peasants of Ukraine by the Stalinist dictatorship. Thereby the volume is also a fascinating portrait of the contemporary state of awareness and understanding of Ukrainian citizens about their twentieth-century history.
Mark von Hagen
Professor of History and Director
The School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies
Arizona State University
Professor Von Hagen, is a former President of the International Association for Ukrainian Studies, and is currently President of the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies.
He has written extensively. His latest book, which deals with Ukrainian history is: Ukraine: War in a European Borderland: Occupations and Occupation Plans in Galicia and Ukraine, 1914-1918 (Seattle, U. of Washington Press, 2007).
“As I remember fragments of stories that emerged while conversing with Babtsia Nadia (Бабця Надя) throughout my life, I am overwhelmed with sentiment. Born in 1925, she survived experiences in her native homeland of Ukraine that no child should endure. The legacy that she leaves our family is defined by her name - "hope"; hope that steals our hearts and teaches us that there is truly a choice in life to overcome evil with good. As this uniquely published work goes into print, our family has the highest hope that those who read these words will share our feelings. We give our undying gratefulness to those like Babtsia Nadia (Бабця Надя) , who in their own way, managed to transform everything evil that touched life into a legacy - living proof that there is a lesson and some shred of good that can be uncovered and learned from whatever we may face."
Vera Farmiga, actress, 2010 Oscar Nominee
Valentyna K. Borysenko was born in the Vynnytsia oblast of Ukraine in 1945. She graduated from the Taras Shevchenko National University in Kyiv with a degree in history in 1968 and pursued postgraduate studies at the M. Rylsky Institute of Fine Art, Folklore, and Ethnology, National Academy of Sciences, Ukrainian SSR. One of the founders of Ukraine’s first Chair in Ethnology and Folklore at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Dr. Borysenko served as its director from 1995 through 2002. Since July, 2006, Dr. Borysenko has served as senior research fellow in the Department of National Culture at the Scientific Research Institute of Ukrainian Studies at the Ministry of Science and Education of Ukraine. She is a member of two special academic advisory boards that oversee awarding of advanced academic degrees. The author of some 170 scholarly works, Borysenko began collecting oral testimonies about the 1932–1933 Famine-Genocide in 1994. The end product of this intensive research was Svicha Pamiaty, which was published in Ukraine in 2007.