CHRONOLOGY OF THE FAMINE YEARS
This year marks the 50th anniversary of one of history's most horrifying cases of genocide - the Soviet-made Great Famine of 1932-33, in which some 7 million Ukrainians perished.
Relying on news from Svoboda and, later, The Ukrainian Weekly (which began publication in October 1933), this column hopes to remind and inform Americans and Canadians of this terrible crime against humanity.
By bringing other events worldwide into the picture as well, the column hopes to give a perspective on the state of the world in the years of Ukraine's Great Famine.
December 1-15, 1933
On December 1, Svoboda reprinted an entire page of press accounts about the Ukrainian protest march held in New York on November 18. The New York Times, New York Herald Tribune, New York American, New York World Telegram, The Sun and the Sunday Mirror all carried articles about the march to protest Moscow's starvation of Ukrainians as well as the recognition of the Soviet Union by the United States.
It was also one of the few times Svoboda printed a photograph in the newspaper, which pictured the thousands of marchers with banners. Following are a few excerpts from the news items.
The New York Times wrote: "Five persons were injured and nine arrested in street disturbances that lasted for two hours yesterday morning, when 500 Communists attempted to break up a parade of 8,000 Ukrainians from Washington Square to the Central Opera House at 67th Street and Third Avenue.
"Three hundred policemen, including a score of mounted men, were called out to enable the marchers to reach the opera house and to conduct a meeting there in peace. Held under the auspices of the United Ukrainian Societies of New York and Vicinity, the meeting adopted resolutions asking President Roosevelt to demand guarantees from the Soviet Union that the famine in the Ukraine would be alleviated. The resolution charged that the food shortage was a result of a deliberate plot by the Moscow government to starve the Ukrainian peasants into submission."
The New York Herald Tribune wrote: "Several thousand Ukrainians and Ukraino-Americans, all of them opposed to American recognition of the Soviet Union, paraded between two lines of mounted police yesterday from Washington Square to the Central Opera House at 205 E. 67th St., and almost every foot of the way their progress was harried by a mob of screaming Communists. Bricks and milk bottles were thrown, and there were many scattered fist fights.
"The Ukrainians had no sooner gathered in Washington Square at 10 a.m. than the Communists began arriving also. To shouts of 'Down with the Soviets,' with which the Ukrainians met the Reds, the Reds shouted back 'Down with the Cossacks' - the New York mounted police having been enemies of longer standing than the Ukrainian Organization of Greater New York.
"The Ukrainians in native costumes carried banners proclaiming a 'State of Starvation' to exist in the Ukraine. Floats pictured grim, bearded 'Soviet Officials' holding court surrounded by bayonets while women, with lines of starvation painted on their faces, nourished sickly children crying, 'Give us bread.'"
On December 2, Svoboda reprinted an article from the News Tribune in Providence, R.I., which stated that the Ukrainian community in the area pledged not to buy, sell, use or recommend any goods made in Soviet Russia.
That same day Svoboda reported on Ukrainians in the Los Angeles area who adopted a resolution protesting the starvation of people of Ukraine though the Soviet government's expropriation of grain crops, and also protesting against the deportation of and expatriation of great numbers of Ukrainians. This statement was printed in the Los Angeles Times.
On December 4, Svoboda reported that Cardinal Theodore Innitzer of Vienna issued another appeal to the world about the famine in Soviet Ukraine. In the same story, Dr. Ewald Ammende reported that he received documents stating that anywhere between 6 and 15 million people had perished because of famine. The cardinal stated that he was turning to the Germans in Austria and Germany because many Germans had perished because of the famine.
Also on December 4, Svoboda carried news which had been printed in The Boston Herald and Boston Globe. It reported that Ukrainians in that area held a meeting, a protest against alleged atrocities against the Ukrainians in Soviet Russia, and for the purpose of passing resolutions against the recognition of Soviet Russia by the United States.
Also, the local newspaper in Carnegie, Pa., printed an article about a Ukrainian meeting at which resolutions against Soviet Russia were passed. Besides proclaiming the struggle for a free and independent Ukraine, the citizens of the area proclaimed: "We protest against the merciless economic exploitation of Ukraine by Russia, which robbed our peasants of the necessities of life and brought about a famine which caused the death of several million people. We protest against the sinister plan of the Bolshevik rulers to annihilate the Ukrainian people as a nation by forcibly deporting entire villages to distant regions and colonizing these villages with Russian settlers. We protest against the cultural, religious and political persecutions in Ukraine, against the imprisonment of thousands of Ukrainians, among them men of worldwide renown; against mass executions of our intelligentsia, peasants and workers."
On December 5, the headline in Svoboda read: "Soviets Continue to Rob Ukraine and Destroy 'Separatists.'" The news reported on a meeting of the Ukrainian Communist Party.
On December 6, Svoboda published a lengthy article about the Ukrainian community in Vienna, which in October had held a protest meeting about conditions in Ukraine.
On December 9, news from Lviv was printed in Svoboda. According to the article, the Lviv-based Committee to Save the Starving in Ukraine had sent letters to President Roosevelt requesting that a U.S. commission be formed to investigate the situation in Ukraine. The same type of telegrams reached President Roosevelt from the Ukrainian committees in Paris, Brussels, Berlin and Prague.
On December 9, Svoboda reprinted an article from the Niagara Falls Gazette, where the Ukrainian community also protested the Soviet Union's treatment of Ukraine and appealed to the American government in Washington to investigate the unbearable conditions in Soviet Ukraine.
The headline in Svoboda on December 11 read "Cossacks Protest against the Famine." According to the article, Cossack immigrant organizations in Prague protested the famine in their territory in the Soviet Union.
Svoboda reprinted an article from The New York Times on December 11. Excerpts follow.
"Stanislav V. Kossior, a member of the Communist Political Bureau, in a speech before the plenary session of the Ukrainian Communist Party, revealed a separatist movement in the Ukraine. Mr. Kossior linked the strong nationalist movement which has been present in the Ukraine for several years with international events."
The article reported: "As in all Soviet 'shortcomings' the mistakes, errors and causes of the situation have been fully exposed and the situation is now well in hand," Mr. Kossior said. "That the Ukraine is no longer in danger of splitting off from the Soviet Union is obvious, not only because of the amount of publicity given to the exposure of plots there but because of changes in the Ukraine and changes in the party membership."
"But the most convincing evidence of better order in the Ukraine is the fact that grain collections have reached 89 percent of the program in November, as against 41 percent in the same month of last year. The party cleansing in the Ukraine has 'washed out' a great part of the party membership which apparently contained unusual numbers of emigres and persons with connections abroad."
"We have now crushed the separatist movement," Mr. Kossior said, "but there are still many unexposed enemies of the Ukrainian Republic against whom we must continue to struggle."
That same day, Svoboda printed news items from The Woonsocket (R.I.) Call, The Evening Telegram from Herkimer, N.Y., and the Bridgeport (Conn.) Call. All of the articles protested U.S. recognition of the Soviet Union.
On December 14, Svoboda printed news reports from Izvestia in Moscow. According to the Communist newspaper, a resolution was passed by the Communist Party which stated that the persecution of Ukrainians had been too lax in the past. It spoke out against Mykola Skrypnyk, who, according to the Soviet leaders, defended Ukraine's separatist movement, trying to discourage Ukrainian-Russian cultural exchanges. Ukrainian politics continued to be counterrevolutionary, according to the resolution, but Communist Party leaders stated that they would continue to purge the Ukrainian Communist Party.
The Ukrainian Weekly issue dated December 1 printed an editorial praising the success of the anti-Soviet demonstrations held throughout the United States. The text follows:
"The Ukrainian anti-Soviet demonstrations held throughout America, protesting against the Soviets' deliberately instigated and fostered famine in Ukraine, have been a success in that they brought vividly before the consciousness of America the fact that there is a certain nation known as Ukraine, which although obscured, persecuted, denationalized and deliberately starved by its oppressors, maintains intact nevertheless its nationality, and is determined more than ever before - notwithstanding the tremendous sacrifices made - to achieve that to which it is rightfully entitled - freedom and independence.
"Contributing greatly towards this success has been the important part taken in these protest demonstrations by our American youth of Ukrainian descent. We all saw how this youth - boys and girls as well as young men and women - marched side by side with the elders, how together with the other speakers it addressed the protest mass meetings, and the active part it took in the various preparatory protest committees.
"It becomes increasingly evident to all of us, therefore, upon seeing the gradually increasing role played by our youth in these and other Ukrainian manifestations and activities, that our youth, having had its imagination and sympathies captured by the idealism of Ukraine's struggle for freedom against overpowering odds, has become more interested in the Ukrainian cause than ever before in the entire history of the Ukrainian immigration in America. And this feeling of our youth seems also to have been transmitted to the American people - whose attention being directed to Ukraine's fight for freedom by these protests and by the part the American Ukrainian youth takes in them - sees in Ukraine's struggle for an ideal, freedom, a reflection of their ancestors' struggle in the dark days of Valley Forge.
"Thus we see that these Ukrainian anti-Soviet demonstrators have had a two-fold beneficial effect, namely - strengthening the unity of opinion and action of our American Ukrainian youth concerning the aspirations of the Ukrainian nation to free itself from foreign dominion; and secondly, gaining the attention and the sympathies of the American people towards the Ukrainian people and their cause."
* * *
Around the world:
On December 5, 1933, the 21st Amendment was passed, repealing Prohibition in the United States.
Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, October 2, 1983, No. 40, Vol. LI
| Home Page ||