January 15, 1984

Media reports on famine. XXI


San Francisco Examiner

SAN FRANCISCO – The Bay Area Ukrainian community’s November 7 commemoration of the Great Famine in Ukraine (1932-33), which featured a keynote address by Sovietologist Robert Conquest, was the subject of an article by staffer Edvins Beitiks of the San Francisco Examiner.

The memorial service, which was held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, was attended by hundreds of area residents. Among those was Alexander Merkelo, a 70-year-old survivor of the famine, which killed an estimated 7 million Ukrainians.

Mr. Merkelo told Mr. Beitiks that both his uncle and grandfather had died of starvation, along with almost a quarter of the 2,000 people in his province.

“I worked 12 miles away, at the state farm, and can remember people lying in the streets, lying in the fields, some of them dead,” said Mr. Merkelo, who was 16 at the time. He said his most vivid memories are of the death carts that came from the collective to pick up these bodies.

In his remarks, Prof. Conquest, who is a senior research fellow at Stanford University and is currently completing a book on the Great Famine, said the famine had transformed the Ukrainian landscape into a “vast Belsen,” a reference to the notorious Nazi concentration camp.

He said that the Soviet Union continues to deny any blame for the famine, adding that Moscow’s incessant denials are part of “perhaps the greatest cover-up of modern times.”

During the memorial program, a representative of Gov. George Deukmejian read a proclamation declaring a Day of Remembrance for the victims of the famine, while Sacramento Mayor R. Burnett Miller declared the entire month of November Ukrainian Famine Commemoration Month.

Statements of support for the Ukrainian community also were read by representatives of Reps. Tom Lantos and George Miller, presidential hopeful Walter Mondale and State Sen. Milton Marks.

Toronto Sun

TORONTO – The man-made famine in Ukraine (1932-33) was the subject of a November 12, 1983, article by Toronto Sun columnist Barbara Amiel. The article appeared in several other Canadian newspapers, including the December 19 issue of the Calgary Sun.

In her piece, Ms. Amiel said that even though the famine killed some 7 million people, few have heard about it in the West, largely because several influential journalists sympathetic to the Marxist revolution refused to report accurately on the horrors in Ukraine.

“In America, it was The New York Times that covered up reports for U.S. readers,” wrote Ms. Amiel, adding that the cover-up continues to this day.

“How many people, who know about the dreadful holocaust by the Nazis, know about the dreadful holocaust by the Communists?” she asked. “Why is its study not part of the courses demanded by our multicultural industry, our race relations people, our ministries of education?”

She praised Opposition Leader Brian Mulroney for raising the issue at a December 4 commemorative rally at Maple Leaf Gardens sponsored by the World Congress of Free Ukrainians. She noted that the Soviet government had protested Mr. Mulroney’s appearance by sending a note to the External Affairs Department charging that Mr. Mulroney’s appearance was a breach of the Helsinki agreement because the WCFU was a “subversive organization.”

“Such a protest was ludicrous, an obscenity from the country that has breached the Helsinki Accords with such impunity and viciousness at home… and abroad, through the continued and flagrant support to terrorist groups operating in Africa, Asia, Central and Latin America, etc.,” she wrote.

As for the famine, she said that its 50th anniversary has spurred some interest in the West, noting that articles about it have appeared in several publications, including Commentary and the Alberta Report.

Ms. Amiel also praised the efforts of Malcolm Muggeridge, who was the Moscow correspondent for the Manchester Guardian at the time of the famine and who, despite his admitted Marxist sympathies, reported accurately on the mass starvation and suffering he encountered in Ukraine.

Ms. Amiel concluded her article by stressing the need for publicizing the terrible tragedy of the Ukrainian nation.

“It is to the eternal shame of the apologists in Ottawa who, in the name of ‘dialogue,’ betray the sacrifice of millions for a few empty political gestures with the Soviets and thus continue to make that terrible Ukrainian holocaust of 1933 the holocaust no one knows,” she wrote.

Ottawa Citizen

OTTAWA – The December 8 issue of the Ottawa Citizen carried a commentary by Jack Best in which he addressed a Soviet protest denouncing Opposition Leader Brian Mulroney’s appearance at a commemorative rally sponsored by the World Congress of Free Ukrainians at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto.

The rally, which was called to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Great Famine in Ukraine (1932-33), was held on the final day of the five-day Fourth WCFU Congress. In his address, Mr. Mulroney, head of the Progressive Conservative Party who is touted as the next prime minister of Canada, told some 7,000 participants that the famine, which killed an estimated 7 million people, was “man-made, orchestrated and directed from Moscow.”

The Soviet protest was in the form of an unsigned note dropped off at the External Affairs Department on December 5, the day after Mr. Mulroney’s speech. Alexander Podakhin, a press attache at the Soviet Embassy here, called the opposition leader’s statement a “100 percent lie,” and suggested it was part of an anti-Soviet smear campaign in the West.

In commenting on the protest, Mr. Best wrote that there is documented proof and eyewitness testimony which clearly supports Mr. Mulroney’s assertion that the famine was the murderous result of a deliberate and genocidal policy. He said that Joseph Stalin himself, in conversations later revealed by Winston Churchill, admitted that millions starved to death during the Kremlin’s collectivization campaign.

Mr. Best thought it odd that the Soviets, who also expressed displeasure at the WCFU Congress being held in Toronto, would go so far as to register a protest over the actions of an emigre group.

“Strange that one of the world’s two superpowers, a country that can launch men into space and project its military power to practically any part of the world, would feel so chronically insecure,” Mr. Best wrote in conclusion.

Winnipeg Free Press

WINNIPEG – The Winnipeg Free Press in a December 19 editorial supported the development of a program for teaching about the Great Famine in Ukraine (1932-33) in Winnipeg schools, but noted that it should be “tailored to the age level of the students for whom it is intended.”

While supporting the establishment of a famine curriculum, the paper cautioned that the program should strive for objectivity and scholarship and not be designed to serve the interests of any ethnic or political group.

“History’s business is to pursue the truth and find its explanations,” the editorial said. “Campaigners and agitators who seek modern redress for past wrongs or who seek to unite straying members of an ethnic group by the remembrance of past horrors are entitled to do that, but that is not the business of history and should not be asked of the history teacher.”

It said that such a program should use the famine “as a way in which to study social structure, politics, and food production and economic relations in Ukraine and in the Soviet Union,” and should also be used to illustrate “what sources of historical information consist of and how they can be evaluated for usefulness and trustworthiness.”

In closing, the editorial asserted that the Winnipeg school system must “see to it that the best scholarship available is applied to preparing a program.”

Voice of America

NEW YORK – The Voice of America interviewed Dr. Walter Dushnyck, editor of The Ukrainian Quarterly, on November 22, 1983, about the reaction in 1933 of the Ukrainian community outside Ukraine to the man-made famine holocaust in Ukraine in 1932-33.

Dr. Dushnyck, who was at that time a university student in Belgium, was one of the panelists at a scholarly conference organized by the Ukrainian Engineers’ Society of America and held on November 19, 1983, at the Ukrainian Institute of America in New York City. He is also the author of a recent booklet on the famine, titled “50 Years Ago: The Famine Holocaust in Ukraine” and published by the World Congress of Free Ukrainians.

In the VOA interview Dr. Dushnyck spoke about the activities of Ukrainians in the free world during the Ukrainian famine. In Western Ukraine, then under Poland, a Citizens Committee to Help the Starving in Ukraine was organized under the patronage of Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky. The Ukrainian National Republic center in Warsaw also was among the first to react against the enforced famine, Dr. Dushnyck told his interviewer, Olga Chmur.

In all West European capitals there were Ukrainian committees organizing either protests or assistance for kin in Ukraine. In Berlin, these activities were conducted by the Ukrainian Scientific Institute under the leaderships of Profs. Zenon Kuzela, and Ivan Mirchuk; in Rome there was a committee under the leadership of Prof. Eugene Onatzky; while in London a committee was established by Princess Elizabeth Skoropadsky, the daughter of Hetman Paul Skoropadsky, said Dr. Dushnyck. In Paris there was a Ukrainian group affiliated with the weekly Ukrainske Slovo (Ukrainian Word), headed by Oleksa Boykiv. In Belgium, in addition to a Ukrainian emigre group, there were some 70 Ukrainian students, mostly at Louvain University; among them was Dr. Dushnyck, who wrote articles in French for Belgian student publications.

In the VOA interview, he mentioned such internationally known correspondents as Malcolm Muggeridge, William Henry Chamberlin, Suzanne Bertillion, as well as Eugene Lyons, Dr. Ewald Ammende, secretary general of the Congress of European Minorities, Prime Minister Johan Ludwig Mowinckel of Norway, Cardinal Theodore Innitzer, Catholic archbishop of Vienna, and others. He also mentioned vast demonstrations by Ukrainians in the United States, especially at the time of the recognition of the Soviet Union by the United States in 1933.

The Ukrainian Weekly, January 15, 1984, No. 3, Vol. LII