Lest We Forget the Holodomor

By: Daniel Nardini

I have been following in the news about attempts to bring former Nazi war criminals to justice. These cases include former concentration camp guards such as John Demjanjuk and Alexander Huryn. Even though Demjanjuk is 91 and Huryn is 90, this has not stopped the U.S., German or British governments from wanting to try these men for genocide and crimes against humanity. By today’s international law there is no statute of limitations on genocide.

But one cannot say the same thing about the Holodomor. The Holodomor (Ukrainian for “Death by Hunger”) is in remembrance of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s genocide against the Ukrainian people. Stalin encountered resistance to his collectivization of agriculture by the peasants. The most resistance was by the Ukrainians who had been only recently forced into the Soviet Union. To crush this resistance, Stalin ordered the Ukraine to be totally sealed off from the rest of the country. This meant no trains would run, no one was to leave to enter the Ukraine without special permission, and all communications with the outside world was blocked.

Next, Stalin ordered his secret police, the NKVD, to go house-to-house and search for food. All through the Ukraine the NKVD confiscated all foodstuffs and took most possessions of most Ukrainian families. After all of this, Stalin left the Ukrainian people to slowly starve to death. And starve they did. From 1932 to 1933, an estimated 7 to 10 million Ukrainians starved to death. What film, photos and written testimonies we have from that time were taken at great risk by those Ukrainians from that period who risked their lives to record the truth.

After a year the Ukrainian people were so broken in spirit and left so destitute that Stalin could finally begin collectivization in the Ukraine. And what did Stalin do with all of the food he took out of the Ukraine? He fed it to the Russian people and even had the food exported! Only when the Ukraine became an independent country was the Holodomor finally made known to the rest of the world on the scale that it was. Documents found in the archives in Moscow prove that this was a planned operation. There is no doubt that this was a genocide of the Ukrainian people, and long before the Nazis planned their genocide against the Jews.

What is truly horrible is that no one, absolutely no one, has ever been prosecuted for this genocide. Not one NKVD officer has ever been tried in court for their role in the Holodomor, not one former Soviet official has ever been charged, let alone tried and executed for the Holodomor, and not one member of the former Communist Party of the Soviet Union has ever been made answerable for the Holodomor. And chances are with Communism still on the scene it is unlikely that anyone will ever be answerable for the Holodomor.

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