Ukrainians on Saturday mark the 80th anniversary of the Holodomor, the man-made famine that historians say killed as many as 10 million people.
The White House calls the sad occasion an example of the worst in mankind and an opportunity to reflect on the evil that men can do.
But it also says the Ukrainian people showed tremendous resilience and courage and never gave up hopes of independence.
Between 1932 and 1933, Soviet authorities seized Ukrainian farms and crops as part of dictator Josef Stalin's policy of forced collectivization.
Those caught hoarding food or stealing even a tiny bit of grain were harshly punished or executed.
Some people ate wood, rodents and even turned to cannibalism.
Ukrainians say the policy was Stalin's attempt to destroy Ukrainian nationalism and wipe out Ukraine's people.