Holocaust recognition as genocide in the USA: how it happens and why it matters - ForumDaily
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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 passed "a Resolution which demonstrates the Senate's position that the XNUMXth anniversary of the Ukrainian famine known as the Holodomor should serve as a reminder of the repressive Soviet policies 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 some quotes: “Millions of people died at the behest of the Stalinist government of the former Soviet Union, which conceived and carried out the famine in Ukraine in order to overcome the country’s resistance to collectivization and communist occupation.”

“The Soviet government deliberately confiscated grain harvests and starved millions of Ukrainian men, women and children through forced collectivization carried out to destroy the national consciousness and the independence movement.”

“Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin ordered the closure of Ukraine's borders to ensure that no one could escape a deliberately created famine and to make it impossible to provide any international food aid that would alleviate the famine. Almost a quarter of the Ukrainian rural population died or was forced to leave their homes due to forced famine, and the entire nation suffered from the consequences of a 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 remember the victims and survivors of the Holodomor. The text also mentions that since 2006, the Holodomor in Ukraine and in 15 countries around the world has been recognized as genocide, which the Soviet government carried out against the Ukrainian people.

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

The Massachusetts governor's proclamation begins, "85 years ago, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin and his totalitarian regime committed an act of genocide by imposing a man-made famine and 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 declares March 2018 as the month of remembrance of the Ukrainian genocide. “This genocide, the Holodomor, which means Murder by Starvation, was specifically perpetrated by the Soviet regime to punish 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 detail the actions of the Soviet regime aimed at destroying Ukrainian national identity through the deportation and destruction of Ukrainian religious and cultural leaders, persecution and destruction of anyone who even dared to speak about the famine or speak out against Soviet power "

The texts of the proclamations of the governors of Ohio and Missouri, which proclaim the entire 2018 year of remembrance of 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 Andrey Futey, this is explained by 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 the month of remembrance of the Ukrainian Holodomor in the state of Michigan, but the official proclamation on behalf of the governor no longer contains the word “genocide”.

The governors of Kansas and Wisconsin, as well as the mayor of Miami, Florida, declared only one day as a day of remembrance 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 friends of Ukraine in the United States organize 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 to recognize the Holodomor as genocide of Ukrainian society, the “Light a Candle of Memory” event 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 Ukrainian Famine Commission was established, whose task was to disseminate the truth about hunger in the world, as well as to study and familiarize the American public with the methods of the Soviet system. The members of this commission were congressmen, government representatives, as well as representatives of the public, mainly of Ukrainian origin. The head of this commission was historian and Holodomor researcher James Mace.

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 from the public. She says that sometimes even now it is difficult for her to believe at what high level they worked. “It was like an ordinary Congressional Commission. Congressmen and senators, members of the commission, participated in the meetings on the premises of Congress; we were able to 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 compensation,” recalls Mazurkevich. “And this was then,” she says, when no one had yet spoken about the Holodomor as a genocide of the Ukrainian people, and there was no mention of it in American textbooks.” She tells how enthusiastically Holodomor researcher and historian James Mace approached his work: he, like other members of the commission, understood that what they were doing was of historical significance.

For the American public in general, the Holodomor remains a little-known tragedy. Since there is no single textbook or curriculum for all schools in the United States—plans are made at the district and individual school level—it is difficult to say where exactly it is being remembered. I assume that schools in areas where Ukrainians live densely pay attention to this. But in general, Americans do not know about the Holodomor. At least this is the conclusion I can draw from personal communications 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 of all, you need to tell the truth. This was a crime against the Ukrainian people, for 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, 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 disinformation, rehabilitate Stalin and neglect human lives, treat indifferently both the millions tortured by hunger then and the tens of thousands killed and tortured today - Ukrainian military personnel, civilians in the occupied territories of Donbass and even their own soldiers and so-called separatists who supported their murderous scenario.

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