|Testimony Presented to the
Elementary & Secondary Education Committee Hearing
February 9, 2005
94th General Assembly
SCH CD-GENOCIDE STUDY
Katya Mischenko-Mycyk on behalf of the Ukrainian Genocide Famine Foundation – USA, Inc.
Honorable Members of the Elementary & Secondary Education Committee
Фундація Українського Геноциду-США
Ukrainian Genocide Famine Foundation-USA, Inc.
2249 W. Superior St. Chicago, IL 60612 - USA
February 9, 2005
Honorable Chairman Giles and Members of the Elementary and Secondary Education Committee:
I am speaking to you on behalf of the Ukrainian Genocide Famine Foundation – USA. Our Foundation is based in Chicago, Illinois and is proud be one of the many Ukrainian
organizations which support House Bill 312. Illinois is home to the second largest congregation of Ukrainians in the United States. Over 150,000 citizens of Illinois are of Ukrainian
As the voice of the over 10 million victims of the Ukrainian Genocide Famine of 1932-1933, the Ukrainian Genocide Famine Foundation - USA fully supports the adoption of Illinois
House Bill 312, which would expand the study of genocide to encompass those that devastated Armenia, Ukraine, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, and Sudan.
Between the years of 1932 – 1933 nearly a quarter of the Ukrainian rural population was intentionally liquidated by Joseph Stalin’s Soviet regime in an attempt to crush the Ukrainian
national identity. Stalin considered the national consciousness and desire for freedom of the Ukrainian people to be an obstacle in the implementation of his policy of collectivization in the
Soviet Union. Of particular threat to Stalin were the Ukrainian land-owning farmers whom he branded “kulaks”. Stalin began to plan how to crush the Ukrainian people’s aspirations for
freedom and an independent Ukrainian nation. His policies targeted the backbone of Ukraine – the kulaks and the working class peasants of rural Ukraine.
In 1929 Stalin introduced a policy for the liquidation of Ukrainian kulaks as a class and the policy was legalized by the Soviet Central Committee in 1930. Anyone with a Ukrainian
national consciousness was branded an “enemy of the State” by Stalin’s regime. This initial campaign was geared toward kulaks who resisted turning over their private farmland to the
Soviet collective. Those kulaks were dealt with through massive arrests and deportations to forced labor camps, often to the concentration camps in Siberia. Those who were not
arrested or deported were subject to the brutal terror of Stalin’s police and oftentimes firing squad executions.
Despite the arrests, police seizures of their property and livestock, and even death sentences, the kulaks continued to resist being subjugated by Moscow. Stalin reacted by imposed
unrealistically large grain quotas on Ukraine in 1931. As planned, Ukraine was unable to deliver on the grain quotas because although it produced 27% of the entire Soviet grain harvest it
was accountable for 38% of the Soviet quota. This intentionally unrealistic goal allowed Stalin to take draconian measures to penalize the kulaks for their failure to meet the quota, and
thus Stalin’s artificially imposed Famine in Ukraine began.
In 1932 Ukraine’s borders were sealed to outside world. In order to limit the famine to Ukraine, the Soviet police established checkpoints along all railroad lines to prevent any of the
starving Ukrainians from entering Russia and anyone traveling from Russia from bringing food into Ukraine. In essence, Ukraine became the world’s largest concentration camp.
Stalin ordered massive quantities of grain and agricultural products to be exported out of Ukraine to feed the rest of the Soviet Union and for foreign export. This, along with Stalin’s ban
on food imports into Ukraine, left insufficient reserves of food in Ukraine to feed the population. Kulak villages that were considered uncooperative or underproducers were blacklisted
and completely blockaded. Anyone found to have foodstuffs in their possession was subject to execution, or in extenuating circumstances, imprisonment for no less than 10 years in a
Soviet concentration camp. It was standard practice to be sentenced to 10 years in a concentration camp for being in possession of a potato or a handful of wheat kernels.
Reports leaked out to the West that the Ukrainian countryside was afflicted by a terrible famine. All reports were denied and discredited by the Soviet government in Moscow. Even
New York Times reporter Walter Duranty, who was in collaboration with Stalin’s regime, covered up the Famine in Ukraine in his articles. Trainloads of food aid were donated to
Ukraine by foreign organizations but they were turned back by the Soviet authorities who vehemently proclaimed that there was no Famine in Ukraine.
At the height of the Ukrainian Genocide Famine, during the winter of 1932 -1933, rural peasants were dying at a rate of 25,000 a day. Village streets were littered with the frozen,
emaciated bodies of the victims. In villages, with the ground being frozen, survivors had no strength left to bury the dead and towering piles of corpses could be found throughout the
landscape. One third of all the children in Ukraine died during the Genocide. In the end, over 10,000,000 Ukrainians were liquidated during the Genocide of 1932 -1933. Yet, during this
period the Soviet regime dumped 1.7 million tons of grain on Western markets, nearly a fifth of a ton for every Ukrainian that starved to death.
The artificial famine in Ukraine was undeniably an intentional act of Genocide against the Ukrainian people. Stalin’s goal was to destroy the Ukrainian national identity and break the will
of the People by forcing the Ukrainian peasants to die of hunger.
Because the Ukrainian Genocide of 1932 – 1933 was carried out behind the Iron Curtain, it is one of the least known crimes against humanity. Many historians believe that Stalin’s ability
to carry out the Genocide in Ukraine while concealing it from the rest of the world encouraged Hitler to commence his extermination of Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, Slavs and others in
what is known as the Holocaust.
As we educate our children about the injustice of ethnic and cultural hate crimes, it is important to recognize that any form of genocide, against any people, is equally detestable. The
multicultural nature of the United States of America and of the State of Illinois is integral to its cultural and political identity. In such a multicultural society, there is no room for showing
more reverence to one ethnic group, its memory, history, and tragedies, than to another. The memory of all groups who have been victims of genocide is agonizing, haunting and life-
defining, and each group’s genocide is unique and worthy of study. There are unique lessons to be learned from each case of genocide which has occurred.
We believe that House Bill 312 will ensure that Illinois students learn those important lessons and may come away with a deeper understanding of their fellow man. The Ukrainian
Genocide Famine Foundation – USA thanks you for your attention and we urge you to support House Bill 312.
Nicholas Mischenko Katya Mischenko-Mycyk
UGFF-USA, Inc. UGFF-USA, Inc.
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