Perhaps, for once prayer is not enough. It is even more important that
the word gets out on the genocide that still cripples this sad nation
Prof. James Mace, Consultant to The Day
The Day, Kyiv, Ukraine
April 3, 2001
I am always happy to read my elder colleague and friend, Yevhen Sverstiuk,
a man of honor and intelligence who lost twelve years as a prisoner of
conscience under the Soviet regime.
I was doubly happy to see his material informing us that the work compiled
by two of my deceased friends, Volodymyr Maniak and Lidiya Kovalenko,
'33 Famine: Book of the People's Memory, is now available in French
translation, making a major contribution to a literature in which the major
work on the subject was Vasyl Barka's novel, The Yellow Prince, based
on the author's experiences as a school inspector in the largely Ukrainian
Kuban during the Manmade Famine of 1933.
I cannot conceal that local researchers were taken aback by the fact that
the cover sports the name of one George Sokoloff, who wrote an introduction
to the French edition, while those of the book's compilers are not. In fact,
when the original came out they refused. "It's their book, not ours," my
late friend Volodia told his literary editor. I know: she now happens to
be my wife.
It was not an easy project. Maniak was appointed by the Union of Writers to
collect eyewitness accounts, but the Soviet regime would not allow him to do
so directly. Rather, a trusted scion of the Institute of History wrote an
appeal in the newspaper Silski visti, which was heavily weighted toward
attempting to find out how party members had tried to save lives and make
things better, but including Volodia's address.
The 6000 survivors who wrote him had a somewhat different tale to tell
about how everything possible was done to see to it that they starved to
I also spent a decade on this appalling topic, first as part of the Harvard
project that produced Conquest's Harvest of Sorrow and then as staff
director of the US Committee on the Ukraine Famine (those interested can
find the products in any US repository of government documents).
Perhaps a major reason I wound up here is that a decade ago the
Soviet studies establishment in the US found this work "controversial"
and literally blackballed me from my chosen profession.
I always found interesting the detail that those who "maliciously" refused
to deliver the grain they did not have could be "fined" by having their
potatoes, beans, and various other edibles taken, livestock slaughtered
in the amount of 150% of their annual quota for meat (decree of
November 18, 1932).
I must have been mistaken in thinking that taking the remaining food away
from people without bread was somehow intended to make them hungry.
Now I can add little more to what I and others have already done. Perhaps,
for once prayer is not enough. It is even more important that the word gets
out on the genocide that still cripples this sad nation.
No. 11, April 03 2001, The Day