Now on view:

June 4, 2023 to January 5, 2024


Depicting Genocide: 20th Century Responses to the Holodomor


View the online exhibition


The Holodomor was an artificial famine orchestrated by Stalin regime in 1932 and 1933 that was targeted at Soviet Ukraine and other areas with historic ethnic Ukrainian populations (such as the Kuban region of the northern Caucasus). Despite the millions of people who perished, the Holodomor has not been a part of public consciousness in the United States, especially when compared to the Holocaust and the Armenian, Cambodian, Bosnian, or Rwandan genocides. This is not an accident: it is due in good measure to efforts at denial and erasure by the Soviet Union, Russia, and their apologists.

But memory of the Holodomor did not vanish. In Soviet Ukraine, older family members would whisper their stories to children or grandchildren, with the admonition that they should "keep quiet" about it. Ukrainians in the diaspora, of course, faced no such fears: news about it was appeared in their newspapers; they organized meetings, protests, and commemorations; and they promoted the scholarly study of the Holodomor and attempted to bring it to the attention of the general American public. And they created works of art and literature.

Timed to commemorate the 90th anniversary of this tragic event, this exhibition explores some of the ways in which the Holodomor was depicted during the 20th century, particularly though art. The artistic depiction of genocide is challenging. Should horrors be depicted directly and graphically — with skeletons or dead bodies? Or should the approach be more understated, providing the viewers or readers with just enough to allow them to create the images of horror in their own minds? This exhibition explores the extremely varied approaches that artists over four decades have used to tackle the Holodomor through works in the UHEC's permanent collection, many of which have not been on public view for two decades. The exhibition also includes period primary sources that shed light on the Holodomor as a historical event, how it was portrayed in the press, and how Ukrainian Americans responded to it.

View the online exhibition

The in-person exhibition is generally open 9am-12pm and 1pm-5pm on business days, except Federal holidays and Orthodox feast days (Old Calendar). Please contact us to confirm hours.


Sponsorship Opportunities

This exhibition is made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the New Jersey Council for the Humanities.


While the Center's new museum building is under construction, we are presenting exhibits in the Library Gallery.

This gallery occupies the location formerly used by the UOC of USA bookstore, and has been completely refurbished for use as a gallery, including the installation of museum-grade UV absorbing film on the windows to protect the displayed artifacts from sunlight damage.

View map and get directions.

View UHEC's online exhibits

"Earth" by Lydia Bodnar-Balahutrak (1992, mixed media)

This virtual exhibition assembled under the auspices of numerous Ukrainian American community, cultural, and arts organizations features the works of Ukrainian-American artist Lydia Bodnar-Balahutrak.

"Zemlia" by Bohdan Pevnyi (detail)

The UHEC Patriarch Mstyslav Museum has in its permanent collection a number of artworks commemorating the genocidal artificial famine of 1932-33 known as the Holodomor. These works range from the small and subtle to the graphic and monumental, and are by artists both well-known and not so well-known.


A sampling of a series of 80 linocuts by Ukrainian artist Mykola Bondarenko (b. 1949) depicting the unbelievable “menu” that survivors of the Holodomor subsisted on.


How did a Ukrainian winter song arranged for chorus by Mykola Leontovych end up as the perennial American Christmas favorite "The Carol of the Bells"? The story involves an unlikely musical ensemble called the "Ukrainian National Chorus". Here we tell the story of the Chorus through archival materials from the collection of Fr. Mykola Kostets'kyi, who was a member of the Chorus in the 1920s.


All of the post-World War II refugees who fled Ukraine in the mid 1940s ahead of the advancing Red Army had their tales of hardship and triumph. In this exhibit, we tell the stories of two similar, but at the same time very different refugee experiences.