Famine-Genocide (Holodomor) Hearing to be held today by the
Verkhovna Rada, Wednesday, February 12, 2003
KYIV, Ukraine, Feb. 12, 2003..An internet-conference with the well known
American scholar, researcher and writer about the major famines in Ukraine
during the first half of the twentieth century, Professor James Mace, took
place on the Maidan.org website in Kyiv, Ukraine on Tuesday 11, 2003,
according to the ArtUkraine.com representative in Kyiv.
This conference was held just one day before the Ukrainian parliament
will conduct special hearings on the great Famine-Genocide in Soviet
Ukraine in 1932-1933 (HOLODOMOR).
Around 50 questions were sent to Dr. Mace before and during the
conference. ArtUkraine.com developed a brief synopsis of some of the
key points that were raised in the course of the Famine-Genocide
Q. How did you become interested in the subject of Famines?
A. I received my doctorate in 1981. The subject of my thesis was
National Communism in the UkrSSR, 1918-1933. The Professor,
Omelian Prytsak (now academician) , invited me to work on a famine
research project at the Harvard University Institute of Ukrainian Studies
in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
This was the research project that the Robert Conquest book 'Harvest
of Sorrow' was based on. Actually this was a continuation of my previous
work in a sense that everything that was achieved during the period of
'executed renaissance' in Ukraine was over in 1933, as the famine and
Postyshev's terror had begun.
Q. How did the study of the Famines change your world view?
A. Just as many people of my generation I used to have left-oriented
political views. But then I saw how their slogans of social justice lead to
the horrors just as well as to the fascist ideology which is grounded on
love to one's country, to one's people.
I became very sensitive to all aspects of genocide and realized that
mankind is the total of all the cultural differences which are found, and
perhaps that is why genocide is a crime not just against its victims, but
against mankind itself.
That is why killing or mutilating any human being is the act which decreases
the cultural richness of the human race.
Q. Do you think that famine belongs only to the past, to just history?
Q. In your opinion, what are the consequences of famine for Ukrainian
A. I think that these 2 questions should be answered together. The very
phrase ''Just History'' leads to a mistake. Every person, every community,
every nation, mankind as a whole is the result of its own personal history.
But what happened in Ukraine in 1933 and in the 30's overall caused a
fundamental breakdown in the normal course of the development of a
In this sense we can refer to contemporary Ukraine as a post-genocidal
society in which there is no agreement as to the basic national values, a
problem which does not exist in most European countries.
Q. Did the United States in any way make the Ukrainian famine of
A. The Commission's [The US Congress Commission on the Ukrainian
Famines' Research] report clearly documents what was known to the
U.S. government and when.
The conclusions drawn up by the Commission [state] that the US
government as well, as other governments, knew about the tragedy in Ukraine,
but despite this knowledge it was in November of 1933 when the USSR was
diplomatically recognized by the United States. [...]
I would like to quote the Ukrainian priest Bykovets who was documenting
the tragedy of Ukrainian priests in 1932-33 who writes that everybody
knew they would die, but their only thought and dream was, "will the world
know about it and would they say something? Would there be anybody to
pray for those who die?"
The USA and other countries are guilty of knowing, and not saying anything
about it. The reason for most tragedies of the nations is in knowing but not
saying anything. And any political, ideological or worldview reasons do not
Genocide is the greatest crime against the world civilization, and those who
committed it and those who remained silent witnesses are equally responsible
Q. In your opinion, why in the 12th year of Ukrainian independence has the
Rada still not investigated the fact of the genocide against Ukrainians
in 1933 [...and is going to conduct special hearings just now]
A. The major role in it was played by the courage and devoted work of
both the Ukrainian Diaspora, Ukrainian scientists, politicians, and
It is a great victory for those who during the past 12 years have worked
with devotion and finally achieved success in that this seemingly just a
historical issue has now become the subject of discussion at the highest
level in Ukraine.
Dr. James E. Mace was staff director of the Commission On The
Ukraine Famine created by the U.S. Congress. The Commission filed
their final report with the U.S. Congress on April 22, 1988.
Dr. Mace is now Professor of Political Science at Kiev-Mohyla Academy
National University and a feature writer for The Day newspaper/website
in Kyiv. He has written a considerable number of articles about the
famine and related issues for The Day during the past few years.