A Sad Memory at Winnipeg’s City Hall

Do you see the statue of the mother and child behind me and to my left?

I have been catching buses in front of Winnipeg’s City Hall for over ten years now and last week I noticed the monument behind me in this photo for the first time. It has been in this spot since June of 1984. I can hardly believe I was so unobservant that I had never noted its presence before.

I love the way the trees in front of City Hall are reflected in the base and side of the memorial

The memorial was created by sculptor Roman Kowal. It was a gift to the city from the Winnipeg chapter of the Ukrainian Canadian Committee and was unveiled by Mayor William Norrie during his time in office. It commemorates the deaths of millions of Ukrainians in the genocidal famine of 1932 and 1933.

This famine is often referred to as the Holodomor famine a term that comes from the Ukrainian words for hunger (holod) and extermination (more).

The memorial was erected to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the famine

Joseph Stalin instituted policies that caused the famine in order to consolidate his hold over Ukraine which served as the breadbasket of the nation but whose population was rebelling against Stalin’s collectivization measures and voicing notions of independence.

Note the mother’s one hand bracing herself to stand and the other placed protectively on her daughter’s back. Her head is bowed in despair. The women’s faces are gaunt and they have bare feet.

Since more than 100,000 people of Ukrainian descent make their home in Winnipeg it is not at all surprising that this catastrophic event in Ukraine’s history is recognized in a memorial in front of City Hall.

Noticing the memorial was a good reminder to me that although it has been over a decade since I moved to Winnipeg from Hong Kong there are still many interesting things to discover about this city.

Other posts…………

Famine

Thinking of Kyiv

Remembering the Holocaust in Winnipeg

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Filed under History, Ukraine, Winnipeg

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