Kateryna Yehorushkina


Documenting Ukraine Grants

A Thread of Memory (The Voices of Witnesses)

My grandmother Tania survived the Holodomor in Kuban and buried her two younger sisters. Her fiancé went missing during the Second World War; my grandmother bequeathed me a box of his letters. She kept silent about her tragedies until the late 1990s, when her voice finally thawed, and she herself––always a strong and stern woman––thawed. When I was a schoolgirl, my grandmother invited me to her kitchen, treated me to pancakes with gooseberry jam, and shared her painful stories. Then she began to speak the language of her childhood––Ukrainian. That was when she regained her words and the right to feel. Those memories inspired me to write a book about the Holodomor to help descendants recall the stories of their ancestors and better understand their heritage.
Thanks to my grandmother’s stories, I am well aware of the impact of trauma. Painful memories make you remain silent, become stiff, and fall apart. But words heal and restore connections, and the nagging pain lessens. So now I want to preserve the memories of the witnesses of the Russian-Ukrainian war. I’m looking for stories not only about pain but also about values that can be relied upon in difficult times. Stories about faith, meanings, symbols and identity. I want the thread of memory to continue and become a talisman for our descendants.

Grant on behalf of: