Media reports on famine. XXV

Sacramento Union
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – A commemorative display depicting the horrors of the Great Famine in Ukraine (1932-33) opened here on January 8 at the State Capitol. The exhibit of photographs and written material was organized by the Ukrainian Heritage Club of Northern California. The display, which was initially planed for last November, was the subject of an article by Michael McBride in the January 9 issue of the Sacramento Union. The story was accompanied by a photo of Mykola Kostyrko, a club member.


By 1935, news of the Great Famine no longer occupied the pages of Svoboda and The Ukrainian Weekly. Instead, the pages of the two newspapers were filled with reports on other forms of Stalinist terror: purges, trials, mass executions, etc. To be sure, some Western publications did write about the famine in 1935 – two years after the height of the famine – reporting on what was “old news” to the free world’s Ukrainian community which had tried so desperately to make the existence of the famine known to the world at large and to save their kin. Many in the Ukrainian community, including The Ukrainian Weekly in a January 11, 1935, editorial, were left with the nagging question: “Why?” Why was the world indifferent to Ukraine’s plight in 1932-33?

Media reports on famine. XXIV

Ukrainian Cultural Hour
PORT JERVIS, N.Y. – Helen Balaban spoke about the Great Famine in Ukraine (1932-33) during a September 11, 1983, broadcast of the Ukrainian Cultural Hour radio program dedicated to the 50th anniversary of that tragic event. Ms. Balaban said that the Soviet government under Joseph Stalin organized the famine, which began when non-Ukrainian brigades swept down on the countryside and confiscated all grain, seed and foodstuffs to “erase from the face of the earth the Ukrainian nation as a separate independent nation-state.” An estimated 7 million Ukrainians died during the famine, she said, adding that the “horrible reality of the condemned people reduced many to insanity, suicide and cannibalism.” Many Ukrainian writers, journalists and church officials were arrested and either executed or banished to Siberia, she said. Quoting British Sovietologist and author Robert Conquest, who is writing a book on the famine, Ms. Balaban said that as many as 14 million Ukrainians may have died in 1929-30 and 1932-37.


December 15-31, 1934
On December 18, Svoboda printed a large three-line headline on the front page calling on the Ukrainian community to honor the memory of Mykhailo Hrushevsky and to protest against renewed terror on the Ukrainian lands. An appeal on the subject was issued by the United Ukrainian Organizations of the United States. Also on December 18, a headline in Svoboda read: “Soviets Want to Scare the Population.” The article stated that foreign correspondents were looking for the reasons behind the new wave of Soviet terror. According to the articles the Soviet government was completely aware of the fact that it was losing favor with the rest of the world.


December 1-15, 1934
On December 3, Svoboda printed a news item from the Ukrainian Bureau in London which stated that members of the British Parliament had spoken out against the artificial famine in Ukraine during their session. According to the report, Sir William Davison questioned the Parliament on the subjects of the famine and religious freedom in the Soviet Union. He inquired whether these topics had been presented to the League of Nations before admitting the Soviet Union into its ranks. Parliament members assured him that this had been done. That same day a news report from Kiev was published in Svoboda.


November 1934
On November 6, Svoboda reprinted a news article which had appeared in a London-based newspaper, The Empire Record. The newspaper commented on the booklet, “Famine In Ukraine,” released by the United Ukrainian Organizations of the United States. It stated: ‘Famine in Ukraine’ soberly and methodically puts on record its evidence of this crime of the Bolsheviks against humanity.” The article continued with quotes from The Christian Science Monitor reports written by William Henry Chamberlin. He wrote:

“I crossed Ukraine from the southeast to the northwest by train and at every station where I made inquiries, the peasants told the same story of major famine during the winter and spring of 1932-33.