May 15-31, 1934 On May 17, Svoboda reported on a news item published by Pravda in Moscow. According to the Communist paper, renovations in Kiev were progressing to prepare the city for its new role as the capital of the Ukrainian SSR. Pravda reported that 50 million rubles were allotted for the building of new homes for the members of the government. In the May 18 issue of Svoboda, the headline read: “Kiev Ukrainianizes!” It was a sarcastic headline, referring to the fact that a radio report on the Kiev May 1 parade was done in Russian. In previous years, it was always reported in the Ukrainian language.
Voice of America JERSEY CITY, N.J. – The Voice of America on October 21 broadcast an editorial about the Great Famine in Ukraine. The full text of the editorial, as transcribed by a listener from a recording of the broadcast, appears below. As all VOA editorials do, it reflects the views of the U.S. government. * * * This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Ukrainian famine of 1933. The Soviet government is hardly likely to plan an official commemoration.
May 1-15, 1934 On May 1, the headlines in Svoboda read: “A New Famine Catastrophe in Ukraine.” According to reports from a Swiss newspaper, Ukraine, the richest land in the Soviet Union, once abundant with flour, buckwheat, sugar, fish, butter and fat, now lacked all of these products. The population continued to starve. The Ukrainian Bureau in Geneva commented on the Swiss story, stating that once again the people would go hungry and wondered whether once again the good deeds of the capitalist “bourgeois countries,” would have to rescue the Soviets from a famine as they did 12 years earlier. On May 2, Svoboda reported that the purges of Ukrainians continued.
December 16-31, 1933 On December 16, Svoboda printed news reports from Chicago about a demonstration protesting the famine that would take place on Sunday, December 17. At a meeting of the newly organized “Committee for the Struggle against Famine in Russia,” in New York, one of the main speakers, a Russian, stated that the famine in both Ukraine and Russia was not due to climatic conditions or natural disaster, but it was a famine brought about by the political dictatorship of the Soviet regime and unsuccessful agricultural politics, reported Svoboda on December 16. The speaker documented the famine by quoting news reports from various newspapers. On December 18, Svoboda ran a report datelined Finland, which stated that many Soviet citizens were fleeing to the north and settling in Finland in order to escape the famine in the Soviet Union. On December 19, Svoboda printed a front-page story about the famine demonstration in Chicago which took place on December 17.
April 1934 On April 2, Svoboda reported on a news item carried by the Lviv newspaper Novy Chas, which stated that Soviet guards along the Zbruch River did not allow anyone to seek refuge in western Ukraine. The news item stated that often the Ukrainians on the western side of the river would see their brothers and sisters looking like the walking dead, rather than the proud, healthy landowners they once were, trying to escape Soviet Ukraine. Even though only a few made it over to western Ukraine, they continued trying to escape the hell of the Communist system. On April 3, Svoboda printed a news item with the headline: “The Teachers of Soviet Ukraine after the Purge.” According to news reports printed in the Kharkiv newspaper Kommunist, as a result of numerous purges of the schools in Soviet Ukraine, most of the teachers were sent to Siberia because of their nationalistic tendencies and counterrevolutionary spirit.
March 1934 On March 2, Svoboda reported on a meeting of the Polish Parliament in Warsaw, during which the president of the Ukrainian Club spoke out against the abusive treatment of Ukrainians under Soviet rule as well as in territories under Polish occupation. He stated that in Soviet-occupied Ukraine, famine ravaged the countryside. To date, he reported, over 5 million people had died. According to news printed in Svoboda on the same day, a special commission was being formed in Kiev to prepare the city for its new role as capital of Soviet Ukraine. Over 20,000 people would be thrown out of buildings which were scheduled to become government facilities, the reports said.
(The Ukrainian Weekly, November 6, 1983, No. 45, Vol. LI) PART I Thanks to the recent spate of conferences, television programs and publications, the facts of the Great Famine of 1933 in Ukraine are slowly becoming known, at least in broad outline. Yet only a few scholars are informed about the political and economic developments that led to the famine. The two most important antecedents of the unprecedented catastrophe that visited Ukraine that year are Soviet nationalities and agricultural policies.
Sarasota Herald-Tribune SARASOTA, Fla. – The Great Famine in Ukraine (1932-33) was the subject of two editorials in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, the most recent in the paper’s October 1 issue. Titled “The Forgotten Holocaust,” the editorial said that thousands of Ukrainians were expected in Washington on October 2 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the famine. Noting that Ukrainian history goes back “to the glory of Kiev, when Moscow was still a mean little duchy,” the paper said that the famine was orchestrated by the Soviet government to “‘teach a lesson’ to the independent-minded Ukrainians.” It said that the famine “went remarkably unremarked in the rest of the world,” partly because certain members of the foreign press at the time were unwilling to admit brutality “in the midst of what they still sought to regard as a ‘noble experiment’ in communist government.”
February 1934 A story datelined Moscow in the February 5 issue of Svoboda reported that Soviet actions against the Ukrainian nationalists continued. According to the story, Ukrainian nationalists had supplied books on Ukrainian nationalism to schools. Only after Pavel Postyshev came to Ukraine was this action halted, Komsomolska Pravda reported. That same day, Svoboda printed a letter in English which was written by a staff worker for The Oregonian. Quoting a lecture by a labor expert Whiting Williams, who was formerly on the faculties of Harvard, Dartmouth and Oberlin, he wrote:
“‘All of my observations in Russia last summer led me to support the pope in his contention that there is widespread starvation in the red land.'”
“American correspondents in Moscow were prohibited from entering the starvation districts in the Ukraine at the time Mr. Williams was visiting the district and seeing many persons starving to death before his own eyes.
Famine follow-up The 18,000 or so Ukrainians who took part in the October 2 famine commemorations in Washington probably went home with the feeling of a job well done, satisfied that they did their part in helping to publicize Ukraine’s unknown holocaust. The event did get fairly broad local media coverage, and although the crowd could have been larger, the turn-out did manage to convey the community’s determination to both inform the public about this wanton atrocity and its 7 million victims, and to honor their memory. But lest any sense of complacency creep in, we must remember that the job is far from over. The end of the 50th anniversary of the famine should not mark the end of our efforts. We should be oriented toward the future, not just the past.