Holodomor Deniers

My regular readers know that I don’t throw around the word “fascist” lightly. I hate it when people employ it in the meaning of “a person I dislike or disagree with.”

However, I absolutely insist that anybody who denies the horrible reality of the Holodomor, a famine organized by Stalin’s regime that claimed the lives of millions of Ukrainians in 1931-2, is no different from a Holocaust denier. And I will tell such people that they are fascists.

I also want to point out to the especially clueless that recognizing the very well-documented historical reality of Holodomor does not make one an anti-Semite. I first found out about the horrors of Holodomor from my father, a Jew. He told me this was one of the greatest tragedies of humankind. And it insults me that some jerks would equate being Jewish with being a Holodomor-denier.

I have talked to people who lived in Ukraine in 1931-2. They told me about corpses lying in the streets, people from the country-side coming to the city to beg for food for their starving children, and the military chasing them back to the country-side. You have to be a real animal to deny their stories.

Watch the following and, please, finally, shut the fuck up about the Holodomor.

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18 thoughts on “Holodomor Deniers”

  1. They didn’t die of famine, but my mother’s family were landed peasants in Ukraine until they were despoiled by Stalin’s government in the ’30s. Troops came to their home and murdered a couple of the men, threatened to rape the women, stole all of their money and goods and left them with what one donkey could pull in a wagon. Generous, considering what happened to other people, I guess. They walked to Kiev where my great-grandfather started a butcher business. Then a neighbor tipped off the police that my people used to be kulaks. Men came in the middle of the night, ransacked the house, despoiled it of all property, and took my great-grandfather away. We found out just a few years ago he died in a Siberian gulag. My family was left with nothing again. To get away from the Soviets, they ended up fleeing across Third Reich territory to London. A train abandoned them in Poland in the middle of the winter. They had to wait almost a day – with dozens of other passengers crammed into the car, with no water or food – until another engine car arrived and hooked them up. They nearly died several times over, from being shot at, from exposure, from starvation. I’m lucky as hell to even have been born.

    Yes, horrible things were fucking absolutely done to Ukrainians by the Soviet government and fuck you anyone who says different.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your story and for the support, P.rhoeas. You and I have even more in common than I thought.

      There must be something seriously wrong with people who deny Holodomor and the Holocaust. These genocides didn’t happen that long ago. There are still people who preserve the memories of those times. Go to any village in Ukraine, talk to a few old people, and they will tell you stories that will leave you scarred for ever. Yet, some freaks keep droning that they read a book by some American, some Austrian or some Russian nationalist, so they know there was no Holodomor.

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  2. “Thank you for sharing your story and for the support, P.rhoeas.”

    Of course. 🙂 I can’t hear “oh Stalin wasn’t so bad to the Ukranians you know only an anti-Semite would think that” and just lie down for it.

    Then again, that side of my family is Catholic, so maybe I just hate Jews.

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    1. I’m half Ukrainian, so the Ukrainian part of me is supposed to be an anti-Semite. I’m also half-Jewish, so the Jew part of me is supposed to be a Ukraine-hater. People have actually asked me if I can’t just choose the part of my heritage I identify more with and stick to it. It reminded me of the question little kids are often asked by very stupid adults: “So who do you love more, your Mommy or your Daddy?”

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  3. Thank you Clarissa. I’ve been reading your blog for some months now, and I think this entry is the first one that spurred me to comment. I often agree with you – as I do for this blog – but even when I don’t, you discuss the most interesting things and spur good dialogue. Hope you keep it up! Let us know in advance next time you’re in Ottawa, I’d love to take you for coffee.

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  4. This is a great post, Clarissa. Thank you.

    One of the reasons, I think, that Holodomor-denial gets wider traction (in the U.S. and in the English-language blogosphere/Internet) than Holocaust-denial is that (1) the Germans kept such meticulous records, and (2) American troops had a role in uncovering the Holocaust. With the Nazi-orchestrated mass murders, we have both (a) footage and documents from the Germans and (b) footage from American soldiers who liberated some of the camps, as well as the personal memories of many American soldiers. It is one thing to hear, “X million people were murdered here,” and another to hear, “Grandpa Joe helped liberate Buchenwald toward the end of WWII.”

    I had never seen video footage of the Holodomor before viewing the video you embedded in your post. It is…um…”good” that some such documentation exists (I hope you know what I mean–not a good thing that it happened, obviously, but…). But do you think that it is a safe guess that there is more footage/photographic evidence for the Holocaust than for the Holodomor? This shouldn’t matter, ideally, but it probably does influence public perceptions. For many Americans, if it doesn’t show up on the History Channel, it didn’t happen.

    Also, I would bet that there are more Holocaust survivors living in the U.S.A. today than there are Holodomor survivors. I don’t have numbers handy, but it’s a guess.

    Some of this comes up in discussions about whether various crimes of the Soviet regime should be classified as genocide or as “merely” mass murder. I tend to view such debates as rather esoteric (because I don’t think the murder victims care whether they are killed as part of a genocide or a mass murder), but current international law (which the USSR helped draft, after World War II) does pay attention to such a distinction. As does the Russian government, of course.

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    1. People are working hard on collecting the testimonies of the Holodomor survivors, rescuing footage that has been ascribed to oblivion, researching what happens. Yet, there is still a very significant push to pretend that it either didn’t happen or was the result of some mysterious “natural” causes.

      ” I tend to view such debates as rather esoteric (because I don’t think the murder victims care whether they are killed as part of a genocide or a mass murder), but current international law (which the USSR helped draft, after World War II) does pay attention to such a distinction. As does the Russian government, of course.”

      – All true. The Russian government wants to take credit for all of the glories of the USSR (namely, defeating Hitler in WWII) but not for its crimes. That’s not a little hypocritical, I have to say.

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  5. I didn’t know the name for the mass starvation in the Ukraine, but I did know that Stalin caused the starvation conditions.

    A recent (2010) widely promoted book, Bloodlands, by Timothy Snyder, includes the Stalin famines in the history of pre-war and WWII Eurasian genocide.

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  6. Here is my favourite take on Ukrainian-Jewish relations (nice and short on a Saturday afternoon) from the preface to ‘Defending Ivan the Terrible’ by Yoran Sheftel, the Jewish lawyer that exonerated Demjanjuk from the Sobibor trials:
    “The Soviet objective, as far as I was concerned, was to cause a rift between the Jewish and the Ukrainian communities in North America. Because, despite the many difficult and painful memories of strained relations between the Jews and the Ukrainians, these two communities were beginning to cooperate in anti-Soviet leaders in the Kremlin and their agents in North America, especially a certain Michael Hanusiak, the editor of The Ukrainian Daily News. The Soviets,therefore decided to snip the Jewish/Ukrainian ‘conspiracy’ in the bud”

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    1. – Finally, I have somebody who understands the situation visit my blog! This is precisely what it was, a victory of the Soviet propaganda machine that created this historically inaccurate image of constantly warring Ukrainians and Jews.

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