Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Ukraine's holocaust still largely ignored

Came across an article, by Eric Margolis called Stalin and the Ukrainian Massacre.

It has absolutely nothing to do with Ukrainian music or broadcasting, but it is worth noting.

A few weeks ago, on the way to Adult Ukrainian language immersion camp in Saskatchewan, my sister and I were discussing how our non-Ukrainian husbands can't quite understand why we cling so tenaciously to our Ukrainian roots, and why we have such a hard time articulating the answer. This article serves as a good reminder.

Five years ago, I wrote a column about the unknown Holocaust in Ukraine. I was shocked to receive a flood of mail from young Americans and Canadians of Ukrainian descent telling me that until they read my article, they knew nothing of the 1932–33 genocide in which Stalin's regime murdered 7 million Ukrainians and sent 2 million to concentration camps.

How, I wondered, could such historical amnesia afflict so many young North-American Ukrainians? For Jews and Armenians, the genocides their people suffered are vivid, living memories that influence their daily lives. Yet today, on the 70th anniversary of the destruction of a quarter of Ukraine's population, this titanic crime has almost vanished into history's black hole. ...

During the bitter winter of 1932–33, 25,000 Ukrainians per day were being shot or dying of starvation and cold. Cannibalism became common. Ukraine, writes historian Robert Conquest, looked like a giant version of the future Bergan-Belsen death camp.

The mass murder of 7 million Ukrainians, 3 million of them children, and deportation to the gulag of 2 million (where most died) was hidden by Soviet propaganda. Pro-communist westerners, like the New York Times' Walter Duranty, Sidney and Beatrice Webb, and French Prime Minister Edouard Herriot, toured Ukraine, denied reports of genocide, and applauded what they called Soviet "agrarian reform." Those who spoke out against the genocide were branded "fascist agents."

The US, British, and Canadian governments, however, were well aware of the genocide, but closed their eyes, even blocking aid groups from going to Ukraine. The only European leaders to raise a cry over Soviet industrialized murder were, ironically, Hitler and Mussolini. ...

After the war, the Left tried to cover up Soviet genocide. Jean-Paul Sartre denied the gulag even existed. For the Allies, Nazism was the only evil; they could not admit being allied to mass murders. ...

While academia, media and Hollywood rightly keep attention on the Jewish Holocaust, they ignore Ukraine. ... We know all about crimes of Nazis Adolf Eichmann and Heinrich Himmler; about Babi Yar and Auschwitz.

But who remembers Soviet mass murderers Dzerzhinsky, Kaganovitch, Yagoda, Yezhov, and Beria? ...

The souls of Stalin's millions of victims still cry out for justice.


Full article here.

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