The Ukrainian people have a deep and profound hatred of Jews stemming at least back to 1932 and possibly to centuries of conflict in the Pale. Although things were good for Ukrainian Jews in the USSR, after 1990, things started getting ugly again.
Aside from the hatred possibly stemming from centuries of ethnic conflict in the Pale, modern Ukrainian anti-Semitism seems to stem from 1932. In that year, there was a fake “terror famine” called the Holodomor. In truth, the Holodomor never even happened. Instead of a terror famine, there was just a famine. In one year the harvest simply collapsed.
Part of the reason for the famine was caused by Ukrainians and other kulaks who killed half of the livestock in the USSR. They also destroyed most of the wheat crop in the Ukraine by setting it on fire and piling it in the fields until rain spoiled the crops.
The Ukrainians armed themselves to the teeth and formed contra armies that ranged across the Ukraine. At the height of conflict, there were 40+ armed contra attacks a day taking place in the Ukraine. They attacked and assassinated government officials and they assaulted the new collective farms. When they attacked the farms, they killed all the livestock and destroyed any harvested or growing crops, usually by setting them on fire. They burned down buildings on the collective farms. Of the workers on the collective farms, the males were typically lined up and executed and the female workers were raped.
Stalin responded by sending in a heavily armed secret police force to deal with the contras. The conflict was very ugly. In the course of the anti-kulak campaign, 390,000 Ukrainians were killed. How they were killed is not known. Some may have been killed in warfare, but many others may have been lined up and shot. Many Ukrainians were deported to Siberia, but for whatever reason, there was not enough food on the trains and many died en route. There were huge gangs of murderers on both sides and it was a vicious time.
Since the Ukrainians had been killing so many livestock and destroying so many crops, the secret police invaded Ukraine to prevent the destruction of more animals and crops. No chances were taken with letting the Ukrainians destroy crops and the wheat crop was simply confiscated as soon as it was harvested.
In 1932, at some point in this horrible mess, the wheat harvest simply collapsed. There was a famine harvest; the harvest was only 50% of normal. There was famine all over the USSR. Some died of hunger, but most died of disease when they were weakened by hunger. Many Ukrainians died of hunger-related conditions. However, the famine was not intentional or a “murder famine” – instead, there was simply not enough food.
People died of hunger related illnesses all over the USSR. In the Volga next to the Ukraine, the death rate was the same as it was in the Ukraine. These people were ethnic Russians who loved Stalin, and they died at the same rate as the Ukrainians. This proves that there was no terror famine targeting the Ukrainians. 1 million died in Siberia. Were these people part of the terror famine too? If so, why were they targeted? It makes no sense. People died in the cities, and quite a few died in Moscow. Did the terror famine target residents of Moscow also? The death rate was high in the Ukraine and in the Lower Volga because that was where the crop failure was worst.
Because the Ukrainians were setting their crops on fire and leaving them out in the rain to spoil and killing livestock, Stalin sent his secret police in to the area to secure it. The crop was confiscated and then provisions were sent back to the area from Moscow. The argument is that the Soviets stole the crop and then would not give the Ukrainians any. However, this argument does not hold up as the requisitioning of the crop from Moscow was the same as in the previous year. The Ukrainians level quite a few charges at the Secret Police which if true are quite damning. Many of the Secret Police in the USSR during this period were Jewish – in fact, perhaps up to 38% of them were in 1934.
The Ukrainians, like others suffering from famine, were trying to flee to areas of the USSR less hard hit by famine. However, the state put guards at the borders to keep people from leaving. This seems cruel as it seems that the state was forcing people back into a famine stricken area to starve.
However, the state could not allow these people to leave the area. This was the breadbasket of the USSR and if the farmers all left, there would be no one to grow and harvest next year’s crop. During this time, the state also inexplicably exported grain. However, some have argued that they were more or less forced to do that. But exporting grain in a famine looks pretty bad. The state may also have been afraid to admit that there was a famine going on, hence they did not call for much outside help. They did this to save face and avoid the humiliation of having to admit that they were suffering from a famine.
During famines and other natural disasters, states have to make many decisions. Some of the decisions are good ones and others are bad ones. This is simply the way it goes.
The way the Ukrainians see is that there was a terror famine. The crop was perfectly fine that year but in order to starve the Ukrainians into submission and punish them for protesting collectivization, Stalin simply starved millions of them to death deliberately in a “terror famine.” Because many of the Secret Police were Jewish, the Ukrainians say, “The Jews starved us. The Jews killed us.” This has been the Ukrainian nationalist line ever since, and many Ukrainian nationalists are vicious antisemites.
When the Nazis invaded and conquered the Ukraine during WW2, many Ukrainians gladly signed up for the Nazi militia to fight alongside the Nazis. Ukrainian nationalists have argued that the Banderists, as they were called, simply hated the Soviets more than they hated the Nazis, or that they hated the Soviets so much that they were willing to ally with anyone against them.
Nevertheless, the Banderists gleefully assisted in the slaughter of Communists, Jews and many others in the Ukraine. In fact, they participated in many anti-Jewish pogroms such that the Banderists can be said to have actively participated in the Holocaust. The Banderists saw themselves as getting revenge on the “Jews who killed them” in the Holodomor.
After WW2, things were pretty calm between Ukrainians and Jews in the Ukraine, but nationalist and ultranationalist elements came to the fore after 1990, and the new US – EU – Israel installed government in the Ukraine includes a large ultranationalist and even Nazi segment that plugs into this old rage between the Ukrainians and the Jews, mostly dating back to the Holodomor.
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