The Great Famine-Genocide in Soviet Ukraine (Holodomor)


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 website in Kyiv, Ukraine on Tuesday 11, 2003, according to the 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. developed a brief synopsis of some of the key points that were raised in the course of the Famine-Genocide (HOLODOMOR) discussion.


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 history?


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 European nation.

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 1932-33 possible?


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 matter here.

Genocide is the greatest crime against the world civilization, and those who committed it and those who remained silent witnesses are equally responsible for it.


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 conscientious citizens.

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. (,