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Melbourne exhibition features Australian survivors of 1930s famine engineered by Soviet Communists against Ukraine
14 October 2018 02:26

It’s part of the Holodomor 85 Project, which aims to portray the experiences of Australian-Ukrainians to raise awareness of the little-known genocide which has been likened to the Jewish Holocaust in its scale.

WHEN Hryhoriy Chomenko was eight years old he saw horrors that no child should ever see.

“I remember seeing people lying dead and frozen in the street, and nobody would care,” he said.

“My mother would stop me from going outside.”

Mr Chomenko, 93, was describing the devastating famine engineered against Ukraine by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin and his henchmen in the 1930s in which up to 10 million people died.

Called the Holodomor, or “death by hunger”, the tragedy is portrayed in a photography exhibition in Melbourne to mark its 85th anniversary.

It’s part of the Holodomor 85 Project, which aims to portray the experiences of Australian-Ukrainians to raise awareness of the little-known genocide which has been likened to the Jewish Holocaust in its scale.

Mr Chomenko is featured in the exhibition among 26 people who survived the famine and went on to make their lives in Australia.

It is also a tribute to the millions who died due to the Soviet government’s inhumane policies.

The exhibition includes sculptures related to food such as bread and wheat, as well as quotes from survivors and historians commemorating the Holodomor.

Mr Chomenko, who lived in Mykolaiv, described how Soviet agents came to his home and took food from the cellar before throwing them out of the house. They walked 25 km through the night to the railway station to get the train to his grandparents house, but his baby brother died.

“They were terrible years. The agents would come and they could do anything they like,” he said.

The Holodomor: Genocide by Famine exhibition is running at SpAce@Collins gallery at 278 Collins St until Saturday.

Herald Sun, Chloe Livadeas

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