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Collectivization and the `Ukrainian Holocaust'

Lies about the collectivization have always been, for the bourgeoisie, powerful weapons in the psychological war against the Soviet Union.

We analyze the development of one of the most `popular' lies, the holocaust supposedly perpetrated by Stalin against the Ukrainian people. This brilliantly elaborated lie was created by Hitler.  In his 1926 Mein Kampf, he had already indicated that Ukraine belonged to German `lebensraum'. The campaign waged by the Nazis in 1934--1935 about the Bolshevik `genocide' in Ukraine was to prepare people's minds for the planned `liberation' of Ukraine. We will see why this lie outlived its Nazi creators to become a U.S. weapon. Here are how fabrications of `millions of victims of Stalinism' are born.

On February 18, 1935, the Hearst  press in the U.S. began the publication of a series of articles by Thomas Walker.  (Hearst  was a huge press magnate and a Nazi sympathizer.) Great traveler and journalist, Walker  had supposedly crisscrossed the Soviet Union for several years. The February 25 headline of the Chicago American read, `Six Million Perish in Soviet Famine: Peasants' Crops Seized, They and Their Animals Starve.' In the middle of the page, another headline read, `Reporter Risks Life to Get Photographs Showing Starvation.' At the bottom of the page, `Famine --- Crime Against Humanity'.

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Douglas Tottle,  Fraud, Famine and Fascism: The Ukrainian Genocide Myth from Hitler  to Harvard (Toronto: Progress Books, 1987), pp. 5--6.

At the time, Louis Fischer  was working in Moscow for the U.S. newspaper The Nation. This scoop by a completely unknown colleague intrigued him greatly. He did some research and shared his findings with the newspaper's readers:

`Mr. Walker,  we are informed, ``entered Russia last spring,'' that is the spring of 1934. He saw famine. He photographed its victims. He got heartrending, first-hand accounts of hunger's ravages. Now hunger in Russia is ``hot'' news. Why did Mr. Hearst  keep these sensational articles for ten months before printing them ....

`I consulted Soviet authorities who had official information from Moscow. Thomas Walker  was in the Soviet Union once. He received a transit visa from the Soviet Consul in London on September 29, 1934. He entered the USSR from Poland by train at Negoreloye on October 12, 1934. (Not the spring of 1934 as he says.) He was in Moscow on the thirteenth. He remained in Moscow from Saturday, the thirteenth, to Thursday, the eighteenth, and then boarded a trans-Siberian train which brought him to the Soviet-Manchurian border on October 25, 1934 .... It would have been physically impossible for Mr. Walker,  in the five days between October 13 and October 18, to cover one-third of the points he ``describes'' from personal experience. My hypothesis is that he stayed long enough in Moscow to gather from embittered foreigners the Ukrainian ``local color'' he needed to give his articles the fake verisimilitude they possess.'

Fischer  had a friend, Lindsay Parrott,  also American, who visited the Ukraine in the beginning of 1934. He noticed no traces of the famine mentioned in Hearst's  press. On the contrary, the 1933 harvest was successful. Fischer  concluded:

`The Hearst  organizations and the Nazis are beginning to work more and more closely together. But I have not noticed that the Hearst  press printed Mr. Parrott's  stories about a prosperous Soviet Ukraine. Mr. Parrott  is Mr. Hearst's  correspondent in Moscow.'

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The Nation 140 (36), 13 March 1935, quoted in Tottle,  op. cit. , p. 8.

Underneath a photograph of a little girl and a `frog-like' child, Walter wrote:

`FRIGHTFUL --- Below Kharhov (sic), in a typical peasant's hut, dirt floor, thatched roof and one piece of furniture, a bench, was a very thin girl and her 2 1/2 year old brother (shown above). This younger child crawled about the floor like a frog and its poor little body was so deformed from lack of nourishment that it did not resemble a human being.'

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Tottle,  op. cit. , p. 9.

Douglas Tottle,  a Canadian union worker and journalist, found the picture of this same `frog-like' child, dated spring 1934, in a 1922 publication about the famine of that year.

Another photo by Walker  was identified as that of a soldier in the Austrian cavalry, beside a dead horse, taken during the First World War.

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James Casey,  Daily Worker, 21 February 1935, quoted in Tottle,  op. cit. , p. 9.

Poor Walker:  his reporting was fake, his photographs were fake, even his name was assumed. His real name was Robert Green.  He had escaped from the Colorado state prison after having done two years out of eight. Then he went to do his false reporting in the Soviet Union. Upon his return to the States, he was arrested, where he admitted in front of the court that he had never set foot in the Ukraine.

The multi-millionnaire William Randolph Heast met Hitler  at the end of the summer of 1934 to finalize an agreement under which Germany would buy its international news from the Hearst-owned  company International News Service. At the time, the Nazi press had already started up a propaganda campaign about the `Ukrainian famine'. Hearst  took it up quickly, thanks to his great explorer, Walker. 

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Tottle,  op. cit. , pp. 13, 15.

Other similar reports on the famine would show up in Hearst's  press. For example, Fred Beal  started to write. A U.S. worker sentenced to twenty years of prison after a strike, he fled to the Soviet Union in 1930 and worked for two years in the Kharkov Tractor Works. In 1933, he wrote a little book called Foreign workers in a Soviet Tractor Plant, favorably describing the efforts of the Soviet people. At the end of 1933, he returned to the U.S., where unemployment and prison awaited him. In 1934, he started to write about the Ukrainian famine, and soon his prison sentence was dramatically reduced. When his `eyewitness account' was published by Hearst  in June 1935, J. Wolynec,  another U.S. worker who had worked for five years in the same Kharkov factory, exposed the lies that showed up throughout the text. Although Beal  pretended to have heard several conversations, Wolynec  noted that Beal  spoke neither Russian nor Ukrainian. In 1948, Beal  offered his services to the far-right as an eyewitness against Communists, in front of the McCarthy Committee. 

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Ibid. , pp. 19--21.





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Fri Aug 25 09:03:42 PDT 1995