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Holocaust recognition as genocide in the United States: how it happens and why it matters

Each November in Ukraine honors the memory of those who died of hunger and diseases caused by them during the artificial Holodomor-Genocide 1932-33-ies. The recognition of the Holodomor as a genocide of the Ukrainian people and the spread of knowledge about this tragedy is part of the state strategy. How does this happen in the USA?

Фото: Depositphotos

What do the Holodomor think about in the US Congress?

On October 2018, 85, the Senate adopted a "Resolution that testifies to the position of the Senate that the XNUMXth anniversary of the Ukrainian famine, known as the Holodomor, should serve as a reminder of the repressive Soviet policy against the people of Ukraine."

The Senate resolution recognized the opinion of the famine in Ukraine that Stalin and his entourage committed genocide against the Ukrainian people in 1932-1933 years.

The Senate expressed its condolences to the victims of the Holodomor and their families. He also condemned the systemic violations of human rights by the Soviet Union and called for the dissemination of information about the Holodomor.

Here are a few quotes: "Millions of people died at the behest of the Stalinist government of the former Soviet Union, which conceived and perpetrated famine in Ukraine in order to overcome the country's resistance to collectivization and communist occupation."

"The Soviet government deliberately confiscated grain harvests and forced millions of Ukrainian men, women and children to starve through forced collectivisation to destroy national consciousness and the independence movement."

“Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin ordered to close the borders of Ukraine so that no one could avoid a specially created famine and make it impossible to provide any international food aid that would alleviate hunger. Almost a quarter of the Ukrainian rural population died or was forced to leave their homes due to the forced hunger and the entire people suffered from the consequences of the prolonged famine ”.

Such a resolution is expected to be soon supported by the US House of Representatives.

How recognition of the Holodomor happens locally

In total, 20 states adopted documents by local authorities, most of which recognize the Holodomor as genocide of the Ukrainian people.

Photo: Embassy of Ukraine in the USA

For example, Illinois Governor Bruce Rohner issued a proclamation on May 19, 2018, in which he honors the 85th anniversary of the Ukrainian Famine-Genocide and calls on all Illinois residents to commemorate the victims and survivors of the Holodomor. The text also mentions that since 2006 the Holodomor in Ukraine and in 15 countries of the world was recognized as genocide, which the Soviet government carried out against the Ukrainian people.

Most of the documents are proclamations on behalf of the governor of the state or mayors of the city, where the Holodomor is called genocide, and a certain day, month or year is intended to celebrate the anniversary.

The Massachusetts governor's proclamation begins with the words "85 years ago, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and his totalitarian regime carried out an act of genocide by imposing artificial starvation, confiscating grain and livestock from the Ukrainian people, resulting in the deaths of 10 million innocent men, women and children."

Here are a few more quotes from this document, which proclaims March 2018 the month of commemoration of the Ukrainian genocide. "This genocide, the Holodomor, which means" Murder by starvation, "was specially arranged by the Soviet regime to punish the Ukrainians who wanted independence for their resistance to economic, political and social oppression."

"In 1933, at the height of the Holodomor, 28 thousand Ukrainians died every day, up to a third of them were children."

“Hundreds of KGB archival documents created during the genocide describe in detail the actions of the Soviet regime aimed at destroying Ukrainian national identity by deporting and killing Ukrainian religious and cultural leaders, persecuting and exterminating everyone who dared to speak about hunger or oppose Soviet power. ”.

The texts of the proclamations of the governors of Ohio and Missouri, which proclaim the entire year of 2018 as a year of remembrance for the victims of the “Ukrainian genocide”, almost completely coincide with the proclamation of the Governor of Massachusetts. According to the head of the Ukrainian Congress Committee Andriy Futey, this is due to the fact that it was their organization that provided the text that was taken as a basis.

Photo: Embassy of Ukraine in the USA

November 2018 has been declared a Month of Remembrance for the Ukrainian Holodomor in Michigan, but the official proclamation on behalf of the governor no longer contains the word “genocide”.

The governors of the states of Kansas and Wisconsin, as well as the mayor of Miami, Florida, have declared only one day a day of commemoration of the “Ukrainian genocide”.

Similar documents were also adopted in the states of North Carolina, Washington, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Utah, Texas (Austin), Minnesota (Saint Paul), North Dakota, Virginia, and Connecticut.

How else to honor the memory of the victims of the Holodomor in the USA

In total, there are four monuments to the victims of the Holodomor found in the USA: in Washington, opposite the train station in Parma, Ohio, in Los Angeles and Chicago.

One of those who worked on the establishment of a memorial in Washington, a former congressman Sandy Levin said that this work continued for 12 years. A lot of time was spent on bureaucratic red tape, because in Washington it is not easy to get permission for a place under the monument.

Monument to the victims of the Holodomor in Parma (Ohio).
Photo: Embassy of Ukraine in the USA

The Ukrainian diaspora and Ukraine's friends in the United States arrange and participate in ceremonies in memory of the victims of the Holodomor and condemnation of Stalin's crimes. In particular, in response to the appeal of the President of Ukraine and the US Regional Committee for the recognition of the Holodomor as genocide of the Ukrainian society, an action “Light a Memory Candle” was held in 16 US cities.

How knowledge of the Holodomor in the USA spreads

The first resolution to condemn the Soviet government for its actions to destroy the Ukrainian people was represented in the House of Representatives by Congressman Hamilton Fish in 1934 year.

In 1985, a corresponding law was passed and the Commission on Ukrainian Hunger was established, whose task was to spread the truth about hunger in the world, as well as to study and familiarize the American public with the methods of the Soviet system. Members of this commission were congressmen, government officials, and members of the public, mostly of Ukrainian origin. The head of this commission was the Holodomor historian and researcher James Mays.

As a result, the Commission came to the conclusion that it was presented to the Congress in April 1988, the famine was artificial, and Joseph Stalin and his entourage committed genocide against the Ukrainian one in the 1932-33s. Here you can read the entire report.

Among other findings of the commission:

  • The Holodomor was not associated with drought;
  • in 1931-32-ies in areas outside of Ukraine, which also covered hunger, the Soviet government sent help and made concessions to the peasants;
  • local authorities in Ukraine reported outbreaks of famine in 1932, and Stalin knew about death from starvation, but a tough strategy was chosen in Ukraine to select the maximum amount of grain and other agricultural products;
  • in January, 1933, Stalin used the “weakness” of the Ukrainian authorities in grain extraction to strengthen his own control over the Communist Party of Ukraine, and ordered actions that worsen the situation and maximally increased casualties;
  • the American government had sufficient and timely information about the famine, but did not take any steps that could improve the situation, on the contrary - the Franklin Roosevelt administration granted diplomatic recognition to the Soviet government in November 1933, when the Holodomor had already claimed millions of lives;
  • Some representatives of the American media voluntarily cooperated with the Soviet government, denying the existence of a famine in Ukraine.

Ulyana Mazurkevich was a member of this commission on behalf of the public. She says that sometimes even now it is difficult for her to believe at what high level they worked. “It was like a regular Congressional Commission. Congressmen and senators - members of the commission participated in the meetings in the premises of the Congress, we could call witnesses, went on business trips, prepared a report, and then presented it to the full composition of both chambers of Congress. The work of the permanent members of the commission and all expenses were paid by the American government, although I refused to compensate, - Mazurkevich recalls. “And this was then, she says, when no one had yet spoken of the Holodomor as genocide of the Ukrainian people, and there was no mention of it in American textbooks.” She tells with what enthusiasm the Holodomor researcher, historian James Mays, approached the work: he, like other members of the commission, understood that what they were doing had historical significance.

On the whole, the Holodomor remains a little-known tragedy for the American public. Since the United States does not have a single textbook or curriculum for all schools - plans are drawn up at the district and individual school level - it is difficult to say where exactly it is remembered. I suppose that attention is paid to this in schools in areas where Ukrainians live compactly. But on the whole, Americans don't know about the Holodomor. At least I can draw this conclusion from personal communication and numerous interviews that my colleagues and I recorded during the events dedicated to this tragedy. "

The Embassy is trying to spread knowledge about the Holodomor through various campaigns and exhibitions and the Ukrainian diaspora, in particular, through the support of websites with basic facts about the Holodomor in English. Here is such being conducted in California and this one - in Connecticut.

What is the purpose of these efforts?

On instructions from the President of Ukraine, the Embassy of Ukraine in the United States is working to recognize the Holodomor as a genocide of the Ukrainian people and spread the truth about this tragic event in the United States. Great help provides the Ukrainian diaspora.

“First, you need to tell the truth. It was a crime against the Ukrainian people, of which there is a huge amount of documentary evidence. This has historical as well as personal weight for those who survived the Holodomor and for those who lost their loved ones during this tragedy, ”said Ambassador of Ukraine Valeriy Chaly.

“Secondly, the recognition of the Holodomor as genocide of the Ukrainian people is important in today's hybrid war with Russia. This shows that Ukraine and Russia have chosen radically different development paths. We speak the truth, value every life and insist on human rights. They spread misinformation, rehabilitate Stalin and neglect human lives, are indifferent to both the millions tortured by hunger then and the tens of thousands of those killed and tortured today - Ukrainian servicemen, civilians in the occupied territories of Donbass and even their own soldiers and the so-called separatists, who supported their killer scenario.

And the recognition of the Holodomor as genocide by the United States shows that they share Ukraine's attitude to this tragedy - from the historical, political and human points of view, ”he said in an interview with the Voice of America.

The ambassador noted that this decision of the Senate at the local level would have been impossible without the tremendous work of Ukrainians in America, primarily the Committee on the recognition of the Holodomor as genocide and the Ukrainian Congress Committee, as well as support from other diasporas.

The original column is published on the website. Ukrainian service "Voices of America".

Text translation prepared editionNew time".

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