On this day: Genocide deniers in America in 1933

Communists_attacking_a_parade_of_Ukrainians_in_Chicago__17_12_1933American communists attack a group of Ukrainians in Chicago who were demonstrating to raise awareness of Stalin's genocide of the people of Ukraine.

In a photograph dated the 17th of December, 1933, American communists attack a group of Ukrainians in Chicago, USA. The Ukrainians were demonstrating to raise awareness of the Holodomor, Stalin’s genocide of millions of people in Ukraine.

Between 1932 and 1933 Soviet authorities confiscated the food and crops of millions of ethnic Ukrainians, deliberately starving them to death. A similar genocide was also committed in Kazakhstan, where 42% of the ethnic population was killed and replaced with Russian colonists.

Unlike the Holocaust, there was very limited Western media coverage of the Holodomor, despite conservative estimates putting Ukraine’s death toll on par with it, and other estimates putting it even higher. This was because prominent journalists were either friends of Stalin or communists themselves, and they refused to report on it.

Amongst these genocide deniers was The New York Times’ Walter Duranty, while Welsh reporter Gareth Jones risked his life to get the truth out.

On this day: the Publication of Thumbelina

Казки_Андерсена_(1873)__Стор__78-79An illustration from Казки Андерсена з короткою ёго життєписью (1873) —Thumbelina first Ukrain

1873 illustration from the first Ukrainian translation. X

Danish author Hans Christian Andersen‘s fairy tale Thumbelina was published for the first time on the 16th of December, 1835.

The story, about a “thumb-sized” girl who goes on an adventure involving toads, birds, and a mole, and who then meets a miniature prince, wasn’t well-received at the time because it didn’t teach any morals.

The first English translation of the book was completed by Mary Howitt in the 1840s.

Usually omitted from English versions of the story, Andersen’s original featured a bluebird telling the story to Andersen himself. The bird had been in love with Thumbelina, and was heartbroken when she married the prince.

Independence Day

The 24th of August is Ukrainian Independence (such as it is now) Day.

Here is the tryzub – the trident of Ukraine – printed over a Russian stamp during Ukraine’s struggle for independence during the fall of the Russian Empire and the formation of the Soviet Union. Circa 1918.

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The tryzub - the trident of Ukraine - printed over a Russian stamp during Ukraine's struggle for independence during the fall of the Russian Empire and the formation of the Soviet Union. Circa 1918.

105 Years Ago

Ukrainians are photographed harvesting in Separator, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1915.

At this point in time Ukrainians were forced to register as “enemy aliens”, and many were put into concentration camps to perform forced labour during World War One.

Ukrainians are photographed harvesting in Separator, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1915. At this point in time Ukrainians were forced to register as enemy aliens and many were put into concentration camps to perform forced labour

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Ukrainians are photographed harvesting in Separator, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1915. At this point in time Ukrainians were forced to register as enemy aliens and many were put into concentration camps to perform forced labour.

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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.

Christmas Eve and Koliada

Today is Christmas Eve by the old calendar, and is still celebrated by millions of people around the world, especially in Eastern Europe.

The 6th of January is also the date of the beginning of Koliada, an ancient Slavic winter festival that predates Christianity. The festival is now incorporated into Christmas festivities.

Koliada in the Mogilev region of Belarus at Christmastime in 1903.

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Калядоўшчыкi_Горацкага_павета_,_Магілёўская_губерня,_1903гKoliada in the Mogilev region of Belarus at Christmastime in 1903. X

The festival in Lviv, Ukraine.

Парад_вуличних_вертепів_у_Львові,_початок_2010-х Winter Koliada and Ukrainian Christmas in Lviv Ukraine