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Date and Place of Birth: 1949 in Rochdale, Lancashire, England

Date of Interview: November 24, 2015

Place of Interview: Toronto, Ontario

Interviewer: Sophia Isajiw

Length of Interview: 00:58:21 (raw)

Mother (Survivor): Olia Honcharuk, b. December 26, 1926 in Topory, Zhytomyrska oblast, Ukraine


I: Now, which of your parents is the Holodomor survivor?

Rev. PS: My mother.

I: And she was how old at the time?

Rev. PS: I think six. Six, yeah.

I: And how often did you have a chance to speak with her about her experiences?

Rev. PS: Well, I think the first time she mentioned it, was when I was seven, so this would be 1956. I had, being an aspiring artist I remember to this day on this windowsill I had carved a car, the image of a car. And my mother freaked out because it went through the lacquer, and all this. And that’s the first time I heard about Holodomor. You know, it had nothing to do… but I think it was like a breaking point for her and everything just came out. She started talking about this, how ungrateful I was. Here I have everything but she was deprived of this and that and that. And it just hit me like a ton of bricks. I said, ‘wow, where’s this coming from?’ It’s still in my memory the first incident, I still see the window, I still see the car, and I remember that meltdown she had that triggered it. You know, I didn’t understand it too much, you know, about what she was talking about. And then I think the most I heard, because remember I lived away from home for about eight years, so the most I remember, so there were spotty bits before I left for Italy. But I think more I learnt as I myself matured in my understanding, and I would ask her or she herself would mention something. And then I think the most I learned was in Canada. When she came to Canada and we had that interview, my son interviewed her, which is on this disc [shows what he brought with him]. And that was the full retelling. Before it was all bits and pieces, so this was like the, she pulled everything together.

I: And how old was she at that point?

Rev. PS: She’d be what, in her 80s.

I: And you were how old at that point?

Rev. PS: Ooh, 50.


• Peter Shumelda’s mother, Olia Honcharuk, interviewed by Iroida Wynnyckyj, File #403, for Ostarbeiter project

• Peter Shumelda’s mother, Olia Honcharuk, interviewed by grandson Mark Shumelda on March 28, 1999 (CD with 2 MP3 files).

• Peter Shumelda online listing in Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Toronto and Eastern Canada http://www.ucet.ca/eparchial-clergy_203.htm

• Jim Meyer, Editor. “The Ukrainian Catholic Church in the 20th Century,” Serra Post, May 2012. About Rev. Peter Shumelda’s talk to the Serra Club. http://www.serracanada.com/Clubs/Newsletters/toronto_downtown_2012_05.pdf

excerpt from the Interview with REV. PETER SHUMELDA

The interviews can be accessed at the UCRDC. Please contact us at: office@ucrdc.org