"Don't mention the genocide!" -- I noted below that New Republic editor Franklin Foer's 26 page chapter on the Ukraine in his soccer book manages to mention the Jewish Holocaust but not the Ukrainian Holocaust (or Holodomor). A reader points out that this isn't even the Foer Family record for for most pages written about the Ukraine without any mention of the recent unpleasantness of 1932-33:
As you may know, Franklin Foer's brother, Jonathan Safran Foer, wrote a popular novel, Everything Is Illuminated, recently made into a movie, about a young Jewish fellow named Jonathan Safran Foer who visits the Ukraine to find the Ukrainians who sheltered his grandparents from the Nazis. The premise was based on real life, though Jonathan never found them.
Anyway, it's understandable that Jonathan would write a Jewish Holocaust book about the Ukraine, rather than a Ukrainian Holocaust book about the Ukraine. But it irked me a bit that the book managed to never mention the Ukrainian famine (unless I missed it or forgot...I had mixed reactions to the novel), which I would think should at least come up (and I'm talking artistically here) in a book set in the Ukraine, examining the 30s, and in which there is much commentary about how most Ukrainians were terrible to the Jews.
And it irked me a *lot* that the subject never came up in the endless press about the novel. I didn't see the movie, with Elijah "Frodo" Wood as Foer. Maybe it was just that it's a particularly vivid example of how there have been thousands of fictional works on *the* Holocaust, but none (?) on the Ukrainian Holocaust.
Similarly, I've never seen anything that points out that celebrated Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal, who died last year, was born in 1908 in the Ukraine, yet, as far as I can tell, he never showed much interest in chasing the criminals who murdered millions of human beings in his native land in 1932-33. According to Wikipedia, "In 1934 and 1935, Wiesenthal apprenticed as a building engineer in Soviet Russia, spending a few weeks in Kharkov and Kiev, but most of these two years in the Black Sea port of Odessa under Stalin." All three cities are in modern Ukraine, so presumably Wiesenthal heard about what had happened in the Ukraine a couple of years before. Yet, he never seemed interested in catching the perpetrators of that genocide.
Carrying on this tradition, the founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, Rabbi Marvin Hier, publicly protested that Mel Gibson dared mention the Ukrainian disagreeableness in the same paragraph as the real Holocaust. When asked by Peggy Noonan in Reader's Digest if he was a holocaust denier, Gibson had replied:
"I have friends and parents of friends who have numbers on their arms. The guy who taught me Spanish was a Holocaust survivor. He worked in a concentration camp in France. Yes, of course. Atrocities happened. War is horrible. The Second World War killed tens of millions of people. Some of them were Jews in concentration camps. Many people lost their lives. In the Ukraine, several million starved to death between 1932 and 1933. During the last century, 20 million people died in the Soviet Union."
Hier, the head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, wrote a public letter denouncing Gibson:
"Rather than showing understanding for what historians regard as the most telling example of man's inhumanity to man in the history of civilization, you diminish the uniqueness of the Holocaust by marginalizing it and placing it alongside the horrors and suffering of people caught up in conflict and famine."
So, the three million or so dead Ukrainians were merely "caught up in conflict and famine." Hey, all you whiney Ukrainians out there, s*** happens. Learn to deal with it.