by Eric Margolis
LOS ANGELES – As Britain’s socialist government cleared the way for a gaudy show trial of that Great Satan of the left, Chile’s Gen. Augusto Pinochet, the 65th anniversary of this century’s bloodiest crime was utterly ignored. Leftists now baying for Pinochet’s head don’t want to be reminded of the Unknown Holocaust.
In 1932, Soviet leader Josef Stalin unleashed genocide in Ukraine. Stalin determined to force Ukraine’s millions of independent farmers – called `kulaks’- into collectivized Soviet agriculture, and to crush Ukraine’s growing spirit of nationalism.
Ukraine’s nightmare had begun in 1932. Faced by resistance to collectivization, Stalin unleashed terror upon Ukraine. Moscow dispatched 25,000 fanatical young party militants – earlier versions of Mao’s `Red Guards’ – to force 10 million Ukrainian peasants into collective farms. Secret police units of OGPU began selective executions of recalcitrant farmers.
When Stalin’s red guards failed to make a dent in this immense number, OGPU was ordered to begin mass executions. But there were simply not enough Chekists (secret police) to kill so many people, so Stalin decided to replace bullets by a much cheaper medium of death, mass starvation.
All seed stocks, grain, silage, and farm animals were confiscated from Ukraine’s farms. Ethiopia’s communist dictator, Mengistu Haile Mariam, used the very same method in the 1970’s to force collectivization: the resulting famine cased one million deaths.
OGPU agents and Red Army troops sealed all roads and rail lines. Nothing came in or out of Ukraine. Farms were searched and looted of food and fuel. Ukrainians quickly began to die of hunger, cold, and sickness.
When OGPU failed to meet weekly execution quotas, Stalin sent henchman, Lazar Kaganovitch, to destroy Ukrainian resistance. Kaganovitch, the Soviet Eichmann, made quota, shooting 10,000 Ukrainians weekly. Eighty percent of all Ukrainian intellectuals were executed. Ukrainian Nikita Khruschchev helped supervise the slaughter.
During the bitter winter of 1932-33, mass starvation created by Kaganovitch and OGPU hit full force. Ukrainians ate their pets, boots, belts, bark, and roots. Cannibalism became common; parents even ate infant children.
The precise number of Ukrainians murdered by Stalin’s custom-made famine and Cheka firing squads remains unknown to this day. KGB’s archives, and recent work by Russian historians, shows at least 7 million Ukrainians died. Ukrainian historians put the figure at 9 million, or higher. Twenty-five percent of Ukraine’s population was exterminated.
Six million other farmers across the USSR were starved or shot during collectivization. Stalin told Churchill he liquidated ten million peasants during the 1930’s. Add mass executions by the Cheka in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania; the genocide of 3 million Muslims of the USSR; massacres of Cossacks and Volga Germans. In total, Soviet industrial genocide accounted for at least 40 million victims, not including 20 million war dead.
Kaganovitch, and many senior OGPU officers( later, NKVD) were Jewish. The predominance of Jews among Bolshevik leaders, and the frightful crimes and cruelty inflicted by Stalin’s Cheka on Ukraine, the Baltic, and Poland, led the victims of Red Terror to blame the Jewish people for both communism and their suffering. As a direct result, during the subsequent Nazi occupation of Eastern Europe, the region’s innocent Jews became the target of ferocious revenge by Ukrainians, Balts, and Poles.
While the world is by now fully aware of the destruction of Europe’s Jews by the Nazis, the story of the numerically larger holocaust in Ukraine has been suppressed, or ignored. Ukraine’s genocide occured 8-9 years before Hitler began the Jewish Holocaust, and was committed, unlike Nazi crimes, before the world’s gaze. But Stalin’s murder of millions was simply denied, or concealed by a leftwing conspiracy of silence that continues to this day. In the strange moral geometry of mass murder, only Nazis are guilty.
Socialist luminaries like Bernard Shaw, Beatrice and Sidney Webb, and PM Edouard Herriot of France, toured Ukraine during 1932-33, and proclaimed reports of famine were false. Shaw announced, `I did not see one under-nourished person in Russia.’ New York Times correspondent Walter Duranty, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his Russian reporting, wrote claims of famine were `malignant propaganda.’ Seven million people were dying around them, yet these fools saw nothing. The New York Times has never repudiated Duranty’s lies.
Modern leftists do not care to be reminded their ideological and historical roots are entwined with this century’s greatest crime – Stalin’s mass murder machine – the inevitable result of enforced social engineering and marxist theology. Had Germany won the war, today’s `reformed’ Euro- Nazis would take the same amnesiac approach to Hitler as modern European socialists do to Stalin.
Western historians delicately skirt the sordid fact that the governments of Britain, the US, and Canada were fully aware of the Ukrainian genocide and Stalin’s other monstrous crimes. Yet they eagerly welcomed him as an ally during World War II. Stalin, whom an adoring Roosevelt called `Uncle Joe,’ murdered four times more people than Adolf Hitler – and a decade earlier. Roosevelt and Churchill colluded with and helped save history’s most murderous regime. Time to face this ugly fact.
None of the Soviet mass murderers who committed genocide were ever brought to justice. `Soviet Eichmann’ Lazar Kaganovitch died peacefully in Moscow a few years ago, still wearing his Order of the Soviet Union, and enjoying a generous state pension.
[Eric Margolis is a syndicated foreign affairs columnist and broadcaster based in Toronto, Canada.]