Eighty Years Ago

Soviet cavalry on parade in Lviv, after the city's surrender to the Red Army during 1939 Soviet invasion of Poland The city, then known as Lwów, was annexed by the Soviet Union and toda

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This image is taken from Soviet footage in the city of Lviv, made on the 28th of September, 1939. The communists parade through the streets following a successful invasion. Lviv, in Ukraine, changed from Polish to Russian governance at this time.

Control of western Ukraine changed hands a number of times during the Second World War. It was the site of the beginning of the Nazi Germany’s Operation Barbarossa, the invasion of the Soviet Union.

1940 Soviet stamps celebrating the 1939 “liberation” of Ukrainian and Belarusian people from the Polish regime.

At the end of the war, world leaders including British Prime Minister Winston Churchill were responsible for the region falling behind the so-called Iron Curtain, trapping ethnic Ukrainians in the USSR.

Today, Lviv is one of Ukraine’s most patriotic cities.

On this day: Public Executions in Poland

Following the Nazi invasion of Poland on the 1st of September, 1939, German occupation of cities across the region was fast.

Bydgoszcz was occupied on the 9th of September, and roundups and public executions of civilians followed immediately.

These images show people – including a priest – soon to be killed, as well as random civilians the moment before they were executed.

On this day…

6th August 1942: The Daily Express’ front page reports on Stalin’s genocide in Ukraine, sharing photos of the dead and dying that were sneaked out of the Soviet Union. Unlike many Kremlin-friendly Western publications of the time, the newspaper chose to report on the genocide that claimed the lives of up to ten million people.

In Ukraine the Holodomor took place from 1932-33, when the food and crops of ethnic Ukrainians were confiscated and the people deliberately starved to death, to be replaced with colonial Russians.

6_aug_top_daily_express_Holodomor_Genocide The Daily Express Monday 6th August 1934 STalin Russia's genocide in Ukraine communism

Out this month: Mr Jones

mr. jones is a 2019 drama film directed by agnieszka holland. soviet union ussr ukraine stalin's genocide holodomor in ukraine movie poster

Historical film Mr Jones – about a Welsh journalist who risked his life to tell the truth about Stalin’s 1930s genocide in Ukraine – is out this month, beginning with a premiere at the Berlin Film Festival.

Unlike the Holocaust, the Kremlin’s forced famine genocide – known as the Holodomor – escaped the world’s notice mostly because Western journalists, many of them advocates of communism, spent decades denying it.

Conservative estimates of the death toll put it on par with the Holocaust, while others place the numbers much higher; up to ten-million Ukrainians killed between 1932 and 1933. The numbers vary so much because, unlike the Germans who documented every aspect of the Holocaust, the Russian authorities have done everything in their power to hide their crimes.

(It should be noted that the Kremlin committed another genocide, in Kazakhstan, at the same time, killing 42% of their population.)

Gareth Jones, played in the movie by English actor James Norton, saw the Holodomor firsthand, and went against the lead of Stalin-friendly journalists like The New York Times’ Walter Duranty to try and get the truth out beyond the Iron Curtain.

Jones was only twenty-nine when he was murdered, one day shy of his thirtieth birthday.

This film seems incredibly important in this day and age, with people once again reacting to rising fascism by identifying as communists and sympathising with Russia. As this Variety article points out, we live in a similar age to the 1930s, with propaganda and “fake news” dominating much of the press, and most of the world turning a blind eye to atrocities being committed by the Kremlin, and by the regimes in countries like Syria.

On this day: the first Women’s Cricket Test Series

Test_cricket_-_women_-_1935English womens cricket team in Australia and New Zealand in 1934–35

From 1934-35, the first women’s test series in cricket was played by England against Australia and then New Zealand.

The first test was played in Brisbane from the 28th to the 31st of December, 1934.

Myrtle_MaclaganA picture of cricketer Myrtle Maclagan on the England tour of Australia in 1934-35. Taken from the National Library of Australia. Canberra

Stars of the series included Myrtle Maclagan (above) and Betty Snowball (below).

Betty_SnowballA picture of cricketer Betty Snowball on the England tour of Australia in 1934-35. Taken from the National Library of Australia. Canberra.

The tour was documented in a series of photographs that are now in the collection of the National Library of Australia in Canberra.

England_womens_cricket_team_in_1934-35A picture of the England womens cricket team in 1934-35. Taken from the National Library of Australia. Canberra.

Official England tour portrait.