The Great Famine-Genocide in Soviet Ukraine (Holodomor)


Prof. James Mace, Consultant to The Day
The Day, Kyiv, Ukraine
May 28, 2002


Long ago and far away, I was asked to research the Ukrainian Manmade Famine of 1932-1933, spent a decade on the task, picked up my pay, and went on my way. Now, with the seventieth anniversary of this particular crime against humanity in the offing, the topic has once again arisen on the Internet, with presumably tenured professors from America arguing either that it never happened, or nobody wanted it to happen, or some such nonsense without bothering to look at the evidence that remains. It seems they even publish in the most prestigious Slavic studies journals. Somehow, it unsettles me to think that they stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the Holocaust-denying Journal for Historical Research. After all, I spent some years training in this profession.

A recent bibliography of over 500 pages cites God knows how many witnesses and research efforts by Ukrainian scholars. The documents are clear. On November 18, 1932 the Communists decreed fining those without bread by taking whatever else they might have to eat, on December 6 they sanctioned putting on the "black board" for those who shirk what within a week became 20% of the country (meaning closing the store, arrest the local leadership, and block off the village for the rest to starve to death), on December 14 condemning the Ukrainian and Kuban leadership for having allowing enemies including Ukrainian nationalists to worm their way into their ranks and protect the "kulaks" (of whom none by then actually remained) hoarding nonexistent bread, and on January 24, 1933 took direct control of Ukraine, bring in tens of thousands of "more reliable workers" to replace those arrested. Forget it. It never happened. The harvest was not as good as they said it was. There was a war scare (there always was with Stalin).

Incidentally, one of the organizations that supported the creation of the US Commission on the Ukraine Famine, of which I was staff director (1986-1990), was the American Jewish Committee. One of many major contributions it has made to the rights of Jews and people everywhere is to sponsor literature on Holocaust denial. Am I wrong to think that Ukrainians might do well to take a lesson?

May 28, 2002, The Day