Mrs. Korol was born April 1, 1925, in the Myrhorod, Poltava region, Ukraine. At the age of 7, she was witnessing the results of murderous famine perpetrated on Ukraine by Soviet dictator Stalin and his cohorts in 1932-33. The artificial genocidal famine known in Ukrainian as “Holodomor” (death by hunger) resulted in several million deaths, mostly of Ukrainian peasants who were reluctant to join the Stalin-mandated collectivization of farm lands, traditionally privately owned by Ukrainians. The Ukrainian towns and villages devastated by death and massive deportation were soon resettled by transplants from Russia. The result of these activities, deaths and deportation of Ukrainians, and settlement of Russians as replacements, is the main reason for the problems, including killings, in some areas of Ukraine, now actively supported with men, arms and equipment by Stalin’s admirer and successor, Putin.
Mrs. Korol often spoke about Holodomor to both the local Ukrainian American community, and to the students of North Port High School. As an active member of our local community, she was a member of several organizations, including the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America, Ukrainian Language Society and Ukrainian American Club of Southwest Florida. She worshiped at St. Andrew’s Ukrainian Church in North Port, where she was known not to miss a single Sunday liturgy until her illness prevented her from attending. Every festive assembly or concert saw Mrs. Korol delivering an address, reciting a poem or reading passages from selected works of known authors.
My wife Katrusia was often visited by the Korols during her surgeries and prolonged incapacity, and I wish to convey our heartfelt expression of sympathy to Mrs. Korol’s bereaved husband, Dr. Wolodymyr Korol, children, Taras and Stephanie, and other relatives. “Veechnaya Payette” (eternal memory).
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This Sunday, June 22, will be the 73rd anniversary of the start of a war between the armies of erstwhile friends, Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin, who two years earlier had celebrated the agreement to divide Europe among themselves.
Having lived close to the demarcation line, I and others had witnessed the massive buildup of Soviet military might in preparation for the attack on the German position. As it turned out, Hitler decided to attack before Stalin was ready. The first few months of the war saw entire units of the Soviet Red Army either deserting or surrendering en masse, not wanting to fight for the murderous Stalin’s regime. As it turned out, the Nazi regime was equally inhuman, allowing tens of thousands of prisoners of war to die from hunger and disease. Consequently, mass surrenders and desertions stopped, and with the help of the United States’ “land lease,” the Soviet army began to fight.
The biggest loser in that war was Ukraine, having suffered more losses of its population than any other country because the war was fought on its territory.
Atanas Kobryn covers the Ukrainian community for the North Port Sun. He can be emailed at email@example.com.
Our Neighbors — The Ukrainians
by Atanas Kobryn