July 1932 By July 1932, reports about the tragic situation in Soviet-occupied Ukraine were seen on the pages of Svoboda on a more frequent basis. On July 11, 1932, a person named I. Sulyma wrote an article about the “breadbasket of Europe,” titled “Famine in Soviet Ukraine.” The author wrote about the history of famines on Ukrainian lands. He included the famine of 1651-53 under Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky and the famine in western Ukraine in 1847. In the year 1932, he wrote, famine was first observed in the regions of the Carpathian Mountains.
(The article below was originally published in the scholarly journal Soviet Studies in January 1964. We serialize it here in The Weekly with the permission of the author, an agricultural economist employed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Published in The Ukrainian Weekly in March 20-April 17, 1983) PART I “Food is a weapon.” – Maxim Litvinov, 1921 Introduction The Soviet Union has made much of its own process of rapid economic development. It has, however, said little of the social costs that were involved.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – For Dr. James Mace, who is doing research for Dr. Robert Conquest’s upcoming book on the Great Famine in Ukraine in 1932-33, the project has become, in his own words, the culmination of “a historian’s dream.” Now in his third year as a post-doctoral fellow at the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, the 31-year-old scholar has been immersed in poring over Ukrainian-language accounts of the famine, as well as Soviet and other sources for pertinent material to document what he calls “a focal point of the Ukrainian national experience.” In addition, he has found time to tour Ukrainian communities to lecture on the famine, and put the finishing touches on his own book on national communism in Ukraine, which is due to be published by Harvard in a few months. But how did a young, non-Ukrainian native of Oklahoma become involved with Ukrainian history and, subsequently, the famine project?
“The memorial church is a very modest cross on the graves of the millions of victims of the Great Famine – the graves that were plowed under by the enemy.” These were the words of Archbishop Mstyslav of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on October 10, 1965, the day of the dedication of St. Andrew’s Memorial Ukrainian Orthodox Church. Located in South Bound Brook, N.J., at the Ukrainian Orthodox Center of St. Andrew, the First-Called Apostle, the church was erected as a monument to those Ukrainians who died in the quest for liberty and national independence for their homeland – and especially to the 7 million victims of Stalin’s planned annihilation of the Ukrainian nation, the Great Famine of 1932-33.
Reprinted below are letters written by ethnic and community leaders to UNA Supreme President John O. Flis on the occasion of the solemn 50th anniversary of the Great Famine. The letters are the result of a February 15 (see story, page 1) meeting organized by the Illinois Consultation on Ethnicity in Education to commemorate this genocide of the Ukrainian nation. It was moderated by Dr. Myron B. Kuropas, UNA supreme vice president. The American Jewish Committee
I wish to join with the many other voices which have expressed their sympathy and understanding as the Ukrainian people mark the 50th anniversary of the suffering and tragic death of millions of their countrymen during the famine they were compelled to endure. The memories of people who are united by their common recollections helps give strength to their future.
Dr. Conquest, senior research fellow and scholar-curator of the Russian and East European Collection of the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University, is working on a book on the collectivization terror and the famine. The following is a progress report on the work, which is jointly funded by the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute and the Ukrainian National Association. In physical terms, about a third of the manuscript is now in draft, though not yet assimilated to the general narrative. I expect to have a full draft in the late fall. The work so far has, of course, been largely one of research, reading and extracting.
The following eyewitness account of the Great Famine was given by Ivan Klymko and recorded by Dmytro Solovey in 1949. It was published in “The Golgotha of Ukraine,” a 43-page booklet published in 1953 by the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America. If I were to merely note here that 60 percent of the populace of the Lukashiv Grange starved to death in 1933, the bare figure itself would not give any idea of what truly transpired. Therefore, to give the reader some idea of the horror of those days, I shall by way of example give the case history of the families on our grange. No one among them knew whether he would survive the famine or not.
The 12 pages of this special issue of The Weekly are devoted exclusively to the Great Famine in Ukraine, unquestionably the least-known man-made holocaust of modern times. An unbelievable 7 million Ukrainians – men, women and children – starved to death in a little over a year. Many of those who managed to survive did so by subsisting on bark, insects, small animals, pets, carrion. There are many documented cases of mothers eating their children. But what makes the famine truly monstrous, what gives it its sinister criminal dimension, is that it was not caused by drought, pestilence or crop failure, but by decree.
In some of the passages cited in this special issue, the quoted authors use the term “Russia” to mean the entire Soviet Union and the term “Russians” to mean all the people residing within the borders of the USSR. We have left these quotations intact, but we advise our readers to be aware of the possible confusion resulting from this imprecise usage of terms.
JERSEY CITY, N.J. – Svitliana Kyrychenko, wife of imprisoned Ukrainian dissident Yuriy Badzio, was the subject of a sardonic article in the February 10 issue of Vechirnyi Kiev, a Soviet paper, which accused her of egoism and getting material support from persons in the West. The lengthy article, titled “A lady with ambition,” appeared on page three of the paper, and charged that Ms. Kyrychenko sought to exploit her husband’s imprisonment and the attention it has received in the West for personal gain. Ms. Kyrychenko’s husband, a well-known socialist theoretician, is currently in the fourth year of a seven-year labor-camp term, which will be followed by five years’ internal exile, a form of enforced residence. Mr. Badzio, 46, was convicted of “anti-Soviet agitation and propaganda.” The article describes Ms. Kyrychenko, who at one time worked at the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, as a malcontent who was “enraptured with her own persona” and who wanted to stand out among others.