The Great Famine-Genocide in Soviet Ukraine (Holodomor)


The Ukrainian Weekly
Ukrainian National Association
Parsipppany, N.J.
September 22, 1996


TRENTON, N.J. - At a meeting in the State Capitol here, Dr. Paul Winkler, executive director of the State of New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education, advised officers of the Ukrainian American Professionals and Businesspersons Association of New York and New Jersey that the commission has adopted the study guide on the Great Famine of 1932-1933 that was developed in New York state and that this guide is now available to any school district in New Jersey upon request.

In fact, Dr. Winkler said, about 30 districts have requested these guides and the commission has already sent them out. In addition, Dr. Winkler promised that if persons or organizations in the Ukrainian community were to provide the commission with 30 copies of a film or some other audio-visual materials relating to the famine, which killed 7-10 million in Ukraine, his commission would have such materials distributed to the state's 30 regional source centers on the study of the Nazi Holocaust and genocide.

Areta Pawlynsky, president of the Ukrainian American Professionals and Businesspersons Association (UAPBA) of New York and New Jersey, and Bohdan Vitvitsky, the vice-president, asked to meet with a representative of the commission in order to get first-hand information about what the commission is and is not doing as regards disseminating educational materials about the famine.

A number of newspaper articles as well as opinion pieces published in the state's major newspapers had provided contradictory information on that subject, so the leadership of the UAPBA decided to make its own inquiry.

The state legislature has mandated that the state's public schools teach about the Nazi Holocaust and other genocides, but did not identify which other genocides should be covered. In response to this legislation, the commission has developed two study guides, a 100-page study guide for use in primary schools and a 300-page guide for use in junior and senior high schools. About 1,000 guides have been sent out to each of the state's school districts.

In response to Dr. Vitvitsky's question about whether the commission treats the phrase "Nazi Holocaust" as referring only to the victimization of the Jews, or whether it treats the phrase as referring to the Nazis' campaign against all towards whom the Nazis had adopted a racist animus, namely the Jews, the Gypsies and the Slavs, Dr. Winkler explained that the commission understands "Nazi Holocaust" to refer to the Nazis' murderous campaign against all of these peoples.

Since each public school district may choose, in addition to the Nazi Holocaust, which genocide or genocides it wishes to include in its curriculum, Dr. Winkler suggested that those in the Ukrainian American community who would like to see the famine taught should contact their local school districts and encourage them to request a famine study guide from the commission and then encourage their local schools to use these educational materials in order to teach about the famine as an example of genocide.

Even though, as Dr. Winkler explained, the famine study guide is already available to school districts upon request, the commission is currently reviewing the famine study guide in order to decide whether the commission should, on its own initiative and without waiting for requests from individual school districts, simply send the famine study guide out to all of the school districts in the state. The commission will complete its review and make its decision by January or thereabouts.

Ms. Pawlynsky and Dr. Vitvitsky requested that the commission send the UAPBA copies of both the study guides on the Nazi Holocaust as well as a copy of the famine study guide, which Dr. Winkler agreed to do.

In the meantime, both UAPBA officers are strongly urging all Ukrainians living in New Jersey immediately to encourage their individual school districts to request a famine study guide from the commission and then to encourage their local schools to use these materials in class.

The address of the commission is: New Jersey Holocaust Commission, 240 W. State St., CN500, Trenton, NJ 08625; telephone, (609) 292-9274.

The Ukrainian Weekly, September 22, 1996, No. 38, Vol. LXIV
Check out the extensive collection of materials on The Ukrainian Weekly website about the Great Famine, recommends its viewers subscribe to The Ukrainian Weekly