Media reports on famine. IV

The Herald American
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – The Syracuse Herald American has recently run several items concerning the Great Famine in Ukraine (1932-33), including two articles on the local Ukrainian community’s 50th anniversary commemorations and a letter by John Hvozda, chairman of the commemorative committee. In the letter, published May 19, Mr. Hvozda said that the nearly 6,000 Ukrainians living in the Syracuse area planned to commemorate the death by starvation of some 8 million people, the result of a “tragic holocaustal policy designed by the Soviet Russian enslavers to force the deeply religious and freedom-loving Ukrainians into submission.” On May 28, the paper ran a short article announcing that former Ukrainian dissident Sviatoslav Karavansky would take part in a June 5 commemorative ceremony at St. Luke’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church. On June 5, the paper ran a feature article by staff writer Renee Graham outlining the commemoration and its significance to the Ukrainian people.


April 16-30, 1933
The headlines in Svoboda on April 18 read: “Bolsheviks Execute Peasants.” According to reports from London, English correspondents had learned that the populace of three villages was exiled to the North for taking part in a rebellion against the secret police. Some peasants were executed for interfering with spring planting on collective farms. The news stated that the Communist regime had decided not to bother with court trials in these cases, but to dispose of the peasants in its own way – execution or exile. The peasants found out about the executions in the town newspapers, which, according to the London reports, “once in a while” published lists of the executed individuals. Svoboda reported on April 22 that Communist newspapers in the Soviet Union said that the “Bolsheviks were pleased with their planting campaign.”

Media reports on famine. III

Edmonton Sun
EDMONTON – The Edmonton Sun on May 1 and 3 ran a two-part series by columnist Fraser Perry on the Great Famine in Ukraine which included an eyewitness account by a survivor, Prof. Yar Slavutych of the University of Alberta. In the first part of the article, titled “Joe Stalin’s ‘official hunger,'” Mr. Perry referred to the famine as “a monstrous crime” perpetrated by Stalin and virtually unknown in the West. He said that he began learning more about the tragedy this year when reports of survivors reached the newspaper in connection with the 50th anniversary of the event. “My own knowledge of the event keeps growing, willy-nilly, by quantum leaps,” he wrote. Mr. Perry said that the famine was the result of Stalin’s cynical solution to the problem of Ukrainian peasant resistance to collectivization and increased intrusion of Russian culture.


April 1-15, 1933
On April 1, Svoboda headlines read: “Bolshevik Sympathizer Does Not Deny Existence of Famine in Ukraine.” The news item referred to Walter Duranty, correspondent for The New York Times, who upon reading Gareth Jones’ reports in The Manchester Guardian, stated that these conditions were not characteristic of those throughout the Soviet Union. Mr. Duranty reported that conditions in Ukraine were bad. However, people were not dying from hunger; they were dying from diseases caused by malnutrition, he stated. On April 4, Svoboda ran news from the Moscow newspaper, Krasnaya Gazeta, which reported that the Ukrainian peasants had not received any grain for planting.

Media reports on famine. II

Toronto Star stories
TORONTO – A May 29 rally here by some 8,000 Ukrainian Canadians to mark the 50th anniversary of the Great Famine in Ukraine, as well as an eyewitness account by a famine survivor, were the subjects of three separate articles in the Toronto Star. On Sunday, the day of the rally, the paper ran a story by staffer Joe Serge which provided a historical overview of the famine, and outlined efforts by the Ukrainian emigre community to publicize what the paper called the “Ukrainian ‘holocaust’.” It also ran an article on the same page centered on the recollections of famine survivor Mykola Kostiuk, a resident of Toronto. The third article was a news account of the downtown rally published on May 30. Mr. Serge wrote that the famine was the result of a deliberate attempt by Moscow “to bring to their heels Ukrainian peasants, the backbone of Ukrainian nationalist aspirations” who fiercely resisted the collectivization policies of Joseph Stalin.


February 13-28, 1933
On February 13, 1933, Svoboda received news from Moscow headlined “Ukraine Has No Grain to Plant This Spring.” The story began: “Always favorable to the Soviet Union, The New York Times correspondent Walter Duranty reported that the Bolsheviks will not be able to conduct their spring planting this year. The reason for this is because there is no grain.” Svoboda reported that even Duranty believed this was because the peasants had eaten the grain they were to plant. However, Svoboda also reported that Duranty could not understand why the Soviet Union could not redistribute the seeds, giving Ukraine and the Kuban region grain from other parts of the Soviet Union.