September 27, 2019

Duranty’s infamous Pulitzer Prize


As we get closer to the annual observance of Holodomor in November, the U.S. Committee for Ukrainian Holodomor-Genocide Awareness asks for your support in bringing attention to your community and general public about the infamous Pulitzer Prize given to Walter Duranty, correspondent for The New York Times during Joseph Stalin’s reign of terror.

After several attempts by the Ukrainian community to press The New York Times and the Pulitzer Committee to revoke Duranty’s Pulitzer Prize, as late as last November on the Holodomor’s 85th anniversary, the Pulitzer Committee refuses to meet and discuss Duranty’s undeserved prize. The U.S. Committee for Ukrainian Holodomor-Genocide Awareness is asking for immediate action by contacting editors of newspapers, magazines, television, radio stations and through electronic social media. A sample letter appears below. It is of utmost urgency that we let the world know that the time has come to finally remove Duranty’s Pulitzer Prize.

* * *

The Pulitzer Prize Committee is ignoring the U.S Committee on Ukrainian Holodomor-Genocide Awareness, further referred to as the U.S. Holodomor Committee. On the 85th anniversary of the horrific Ukrainian Famine perpetrated by Joseph Stalin in 1932-1933, the committee sent a letter requesting to meet with Ms. Dana Canedy, administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes, to discuss revoking the prize given to Walter Duranty. The letter was signed by 36 distinguished spiritual, political and academic world authorities. The U.S. Holodomor Committee planned to discuss the uncovered A.W. Kliefoth Memorandum, which clearly established that Walter Duranty was a “Russian troll” of the era, writing “Soviet propaganda news” under Stalin’s direction.

On June 4, 1931, Walter Duranty met with a member of the U.S. Berlin Embassy, A.W. Kliefoth. Kliefoth summarized their meeting, in what is referred to as the A.W. Kliefoth Memorandum, which was sent to the U.S. secretary of state. Kliefoth carefully quoted Duranty in this document, saying that “in agreement with The New York Times and the Soviet authorities his (Duranty’s) official dispatches always reflect the official opinion of Stalin and not his own.”

Ms. Canedy, in presenting the 2018 awards in journalism said, that the winners of the 2018 journalism prizes “…uphold the highest purpose of a free and independent press, even in the most trying of times. Their work is real news of the highest order, executed nobly, as journalism was always intended, without fear or favor.” Yet, with the truth revealed, the Pulitzer Committee does not even have the courtesy to respond to 36 distinguished spiritual, political and academic world authorities. There was no written reply to the formal request.

This is the second attempt after the request of 2003. At that time, The New York Times engaged Columbia University’s Prof. Mark Von Hagen [Editor’s note: Prof. von Hagen passed away on September 15] to do an investigative report, to which the Pulitzer Committee issued a formal response. The committee stated that there was “no clear and convincing evidence of deliberate deception, ” and that “Duranty wrote his articles in good conscience, upholding the high standards of the Pulitzer Prize.” They would not revoke the prize.

After 16 years and the truth revealed thorough the A.W. Kliefoth Memorandum, the Pulitzer Prize Committee continues to refuse to review the A.W. Kliefoth Memorandum and to revisit its mistaken conclusion. Coincidentally, another journalist, Gareth Jones, witnessed the horrors in Ukraine and wrote about them, but his writings were suppressed, as were others. The film “Mr. Jones,” to debut next year, brings to light the duplicity of Walter Duranty, his debauchery and his allegiance to Joseph Stalin. Gareth Jones should be awarded the Pulitzer Prize, while Walter Duranty’s prize should be revoked.

The world needs to know that those who control the Pulitzer Prizes are not willing to admit to fraud. There have been revocations on lesser grounds. Yet Duranty’s complicity with Stalin, who killed millions of Ukrainians through this planned genocide, does not seem to convince the Pulitzer Committee. Revoking Duranty’s Pulitzer would bring retribution to these innocent victims and remove a permanent shame on the honorable award.


Submitted by Oksana Piaseckyj, subcommittee chairperson, U.S. Committee for Ukrainian Holodomor-Genocide Awareness.

Comments are closed.