Death by Starvation

Today I saw the movie Bitter Harvest, the story of two young people caught up in “Holodomor” (Ukrainian for death by starvation).

Holodomor was the purposeful starving to death of 8,000,000 to 10,000,000 Ukrainian peasants by the Soviet Union in 1932/1933. The movie hit home. It brought back memories of my childhood. I broke down at the end of the movie.

We all know the history of the Holocaust – as we should. It was pure evil. But if that is all we know, we know only half of history. We know Nazism was evil. We should also know that communism is evil. Most Americans have never heard of the Ukrainian genocide. The communist government controlled all information and kept the genocide a secret.

A New York Times correspondent and Pulitzer-prize winner, Walter Duranty, who was stationed in Russia, was complicit in keeping it a secret. He knew, in real time, of the genocide but never reported on it. Instead he praised Stalin, the Soviet Union, and communism.

Being an admirer of Josef Stalin and communism he famously wrote, “But – to put it brutally – you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.” He was justifying the purposeful starvation peasant farmers who did not want to give up their freedoms and their land in order to attain the ideal communist society.