MORRISTOWN, NJ – The Ukrainian National Women’s League of America (UNWLA), Branch 75 of Morris County, NJ, will host Professor Lubomyr Luciuk for a book discussion on December 5 at 2 p.m. at the Ukrainian American Cultural Center in New Jersey in Whippany, New Jersey
Professor Luciuk is a renowned scholar in the field of Ukrainian studies, specializing in the history of the Ukrainian diaspora in Canada and the United States. He is a full professor of political geography at the Royal Military College of Canada.
At the event on December 5, Professor Luciuk will discuss two books. Among them will be the English translation of Mendel Osherowich’s 1933 book, “How People Live in Soviet Russia: Impressions of a Travel”.
Mr. Osherowitch, who was an American journalist for the Yiddish-language newspaper Forverts (in English, The Forward), wrote his eyewitness account of the Holodomor after visiting Soviet Russia and Ukraine in February and March 1932 The editors of Forverts sent Mr. Osherowitch on a mission to Ukraine because he was fluent in Yiddish, Ukrainian and Russian. In addition, being born in Ukraine, he still had a large family in the village of Trostianets. Her mother, four sisters, and two brothers held senior positions in the Communist Party. These two factors allowed Mr. Osherowitch to access environments inaccessible to Western journalists; he was able to converse with ordinary people who accepted him as a Ukrainian by birth.
Mr. Osherowitch was gravely shaken by the extent of human misery and destruction he saw, which was only a prelude to the full-fledged Holodomor that was to follow in the winter of 1932 -1933 when the death rate would drop from 600 to 9,000 deaths per day. As an American journalist who traveled to Ukraine in the hope of seeing the progress of socialism, Mr Osherowitch felt compelled to objectively report the painful truth he had witnessed. He described his observations in the first person in articles in his journal Forverts, which he summarized in this book in 1933 (a more detailed discussion of the book can be found in an article by Myron Kuropas in The Ukrainian Weekly of September 19. ).
The main flaw in Mr. Osherowitch’s book was that it was written in Yiddish, as only a limited audience could speak that language. As a result, after a mixed initial response from the Yiddish community, this first-person documentation of the Holodomor remained in near total obscurity until 2018, when Prof. Luciuk noticed a mention of the book in a blog by l ‘Ukrainian Jewish Encounter. He was able to obtain a copy and, recognizing its singular value as an eyewitness chronicle of the Holodomor, had the book translated and edited, and published in 2020. The book quickly sold out its first print run.
Mr. Osherowitch’s book, now available in the world in English, is a major addition to Holodomor’s scholarship. It is expected that this newly unearthed documentation of the Holodomor, written by an American journalist decades ago, will have a significant impact on the recognition of the Holodomor as a deliberate and brutal genocide perpetrated by the Soviet Union against the people. Ukrainian. One can only assume the impact his writings could have had on public awareness had they been translated into English much earlier.
Professor Luciuk will also discuss a second book, titled âOperation Payback: Soviet Disinformation and Alleged Nazi War Criminals in North Americaâ. The book is a compilation of around 40 commentaries written by Professor Luciuk over the past four decades, as well as documentation related to the subject of how Jewish and Ukrainian communities in the United States and Canada have been manipulated with disinformation and pitted against each other since the 1960s in an overt plan to pit the two communities against each other.
The key document of the book is the translation of the KGB memorandum written in October 1985 that describes Operation Payback (Retribution), which confirms that the KGB had several directorates created to advance Jewish demands that Nazi war criminals be brought to justice. justice by alleging that many of these collaborators of war lived among Ukrainian emigrants. These claims have been repeated so often that they have been presumed to be true. At the same time, the Soviet secret service, organized under the code name Progress, hoped to foment anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist sentiments in the Ukrainian diaspora (as well as in other communities). The overriding objective was to ensure that the two entities, in constant mistrust of each other, would not collaborate to combat the mistreatment of refusniks (human rights activists and dissidents in the Soviet Union ).
The two books Professor Luciuk will discuss were funded in part by grants from UNWLA, which has a long history of supporting academic research, particularly with regard to the history of the Holodomor.
UNWLA was one of the first organizations to educate the world about the Holodomor and, since 1933, has been actively disseminating information and fighting for recognition of the Holodomor as genocide through political and popular awareness programs. . UNWLA funded the soon-to-be-completed digitization of Gareth Jones’s diaries at the National Library of Wales and donated $ 2,500 for the publication of âOperation Paybackâ.
The two books discussed by Professor Luciuk will be available for purchase during the December 5th presentation. Professor Luciuk will be available for a welcome session after the conference. For more information, readers can visit the UNWLA website at www.unwla.org.