Walter Friesen
Brick Number: 

Humans seem to be the only mammals that regularly and indiscriminately torture and kill their own species, often for no better reason then that the “others” do not fit into a perceived correct mindset. So it was in the former Soviet Union after the revolution. The target of the killing was the leadership and educational individuals, but to get these there was indiscriminant destruction and many others died as well. My father’s family was not in the group that was being targeted, being farmers and not owning their own land. The revolution itself already took a large toll as the two sides went back and forth through the village, always accusing the residents of favouring the other side, and “punishing” the perceived offenders – that was normally a death punishment. However, after the revolution was over and Stalin came into power, there was a deliberate practice of demanding all the produce of the farm(s) and that included especially the horses. Stalin knew that if he asked for all the grain, farmers might still keep some to plant the next year, but if he took away all the horses, it would be very hard to sow crops. He wanted to starve the population – and did it very effectively. After a while there were so many deaths that regular tours of the community had to be made to collect the dead and count how many had died. This had to be done by those who were still alive – my uncle was one of those assigned to that duty. Not doing it meant a more merciful instant death. In addition to the starvation, diseases set in, thus increasing the death rate significantly. Many of my ancestral relatives were among those who did not survive, including aunts, uncles and my grandfather. The details of the stories are often gruesome and do not need to be retold. What is needed is to find a way to ENSURE that these atrocities are known by future generations. Hopefully it will make it possible to convince future generations, far removed from the violence of communism, that all philosophies which demand the literal “killing off” of any segments of the population should never be allowed to gain momentum. The Tribute to Liberty monument can be a big part of ensuring this message is clearly taken into the future and never forgotten. It is for this reason that I support this most important project and hope that many others will as well.