DMITRIY FIRTASH: "MEMORIAL TO VICTIMS OF HOLODOMOR IN WASHINGTON IS A TESTAMENT TO UKRAINIAN RESILIENCE"
The official unveiling of the Memorial to the victims of Holodomor in Ukraine in 1932-1933, took place in Washington and was financed by Ukrainian businessman Dmitry Firtash. The ceremony was attended by representatives of the local Ukrainian community, the US Congress, members of diplomatic missions and clergy. The first lady of Ukraine Maryna Poroshenko also participated in the ceremony.
Implementation of the project on establishing the monument was made possible with the financial support of the Firtash Foundation charity fund. Permission for commencement of work on preparing the layout design of the memorial was received as early as 2006. U.S. Committee for Ukrainian Holodomor-Genocide Awareness 1932-33, Embassy of Ukraine in the United States of America and the US National Park Service took part in developing the concept of the memorial. The monument was designed by a renowned architect Larissa Kurylas. However, the very construction of the memorial began only in 2014 after the Firtash Foundation fund allocated 2.5 million USD for the project upon the initiative of Dmitry and Lada Firtash.
Memorial to victims of Holodomor, was named “Field of Wheat" and is located at the heart of Washington’s downtown next to the building of US Congress. Bronze bas-relief depicts a field of wheat, its image is gradually reduced, representing ears of wheat as if fading and vanishing into the oblivion. The inscription under the bas-relief reads: "In memory of the millions of innocent victims of the manmade famine in Ukraine engineered and implemented by Stalin`s totalitarian regime."
In his welcome letter, Dmitry Firtash also addressed the idea of a wheat field, image upon which the concept of the memorial rests. According to him, Ukraine is such field, the field of hope, the field of infinite possibilities that can withstand calamity, given that at least one ear of wheat remains. “Whatever history may throw at us, Ukraine has shown strength of character and, above all else, dignity. As I said two years ago at the groundbreaking ceremony, this Memorial will become a symbol of hope, a proud testament to the fact that Ukrainians everywhere can stand tall and look to the future with optimism and renewed faith, proud in our language, our culture, our traditions and our history." – said Dmitry Firtash.
On the eve of the opening ceremony Chairman of the British-Ukrainian Society Lord Risby also said that the legacy of the 1932-1933 terror would forever remain in the historical consciousness of the Ukrainian people, but it left behind the powerful instinct that nothing should ever happen like this again. "Ukraine never again to be under the yoke of any outsiders’ suppression" – said Lord Risbi, considering Memorial’s unveiling "in the heart of the capital of a great democracy, a way of life which is based on freedom and human rights" to be very symbolic.
During the opening ceremony, contribution of Firtash Foundation was also mentioned by Michael Sawkiw, Chairman of the U.S. Committee for Ukrainian Holodomor-Genocide Awareness 1932-1933. He said: "I would like to take this opportunity to express our special gratitude and thanks to the Firtash Foundation for their stately donation in 2013 to make the Memorial that you see today a reality. Representatives of the Foundation are with us on this auspicious occasion and this Memorial would not have been possible without the generosity of said Foundation."
The unveiling of the Memorial to victims of Holodomor in Washington, was one of a number of major international events organized by the Foundation in November. In particular, with the financial support from Firtash Foundation on November 6-7, Eighth Annual Cambridge Festival of Ukrainian Film was held, and on November 23 at London's Saatchi Gallery, will be named the winners of UK/RAINE, the first open competition of emerging Artists from Ukraine and the United Kingdom, conducted as part of the Fund’s main autumn event, the traditional Days of Ukraine in UK festival.