ISBN 0-939738-54-6 | 01Nov1935 | Ewald Ammende

Human Life in Russia

 Dr. Ewald Ammende (1892–1936) was born in Estonia of German heritage. He visited the Volga and Kama regions of the Tsarist Russian Empire in 1913 to study the grain trade. Following WWI, he witnessed independent Ukraine under Skoropadsky, the Rada and Petliura. During the winter of 1920, he witnessed the terrible famine conditions in Petrograd (Leningrad, St. Petersburg). He participated in the international relief efforts (from America and Europe) during the 1921-22 famine in “Russia” which he estimates decreased deaths by starvation from 10 million to 4 million.

In 1925, Dr. Ammende became Secretary General of the European Congress of Nationalities, which was an NGO committed to the protection of the numerous national minority groups in post-WWI Europe. As such, Dr. Ammende was intimately familiar with the various ethnic minorities in Europe and especially the Soviet Union.

For the next several years, he observed the agricultural situation in the Soviet Union closely. “On Sunday, December 29, 1929, the Neue Zurcher Zeitung [in Switzerland] published a letter from myself [Ammende] written to attract public attention to the danger of a new and acute famine arising in Russia.”  Unfortunately, his warning was ignored and the famine [Holodomor] developed as he had predicted as a result of the Kremlin’s agricultural policies.

“On June26, 1933, the Vienna Reichpost published a letter from me [Ammende] containing a full account of the position [situation], together with suggestions for putting an end to the ravages of the famine.” Once again, all his efforts proved fruitless due to the adamant denial of the famine by Moscow and the political hypocrisy of the American and European powers.

Dr. Ammende wrote his book in 1935 in German and issued an English version in 1936. To my knowledge, this is the only book from that era written on the subject of the Holodomor. I would urge readers to obtain a copy from their library or via the Internet to obtain an understanding of the situation and political realities of that time. This is succinctly summarized in the footnote at the bottom of page 300:

A well-known Geneva correspondent observed to the writer: “What is the use of all this talk about people who are dying in Russia? You are pushing at an open door. No one but Herriot thinks of denying that there is a famine in South Russia. But, for the well-known political reasons, there is no possibility now of a discussion of the famine, an awkward question for Moscow and so for its friends too – let alone any talk of relief.”

Rather than write a book review, I will simply highlight interesting information appearing in every chapter. In light of all the evidence presented by Dr. Ewald Ammende, no one can claim that the decision-makers of the world were unaware of the Holodomor and its genocidal nature.

Respectfully submitted
Will Zuzak

Excerpts from “Human Life in Russia” by Ewald Ammende (1935)

Introduction by James Mace, July 1984
James Mace has consistently stated that the Holodomor was genocide of the Ukrainian people: “The struggle against the nationalities began before the famine.” He roughly estimates the death toll to have been 7,454,000.

Introduction by Lord Dickinson, 1936
“Dr. Ammende has died, a victim of his own unceasing activity.”

Preface by Ewald Ammende, November 1935
(Information as above.)

(1) The Causes of Famine in Russia (p29)
- Refers to Gareth Jones’ visit to Ukraine in March 1933 and his subsequent death by bandits in China in 1935.
- a policy of systematic starvation of agricultural population.

(2) The Catastrophe (p54)
- Anastas Mikoyan visiting Kyiv in April 1933 ordered reserves destined for the Red Army to be diverted to the population.
- Malcolm Muggeridge referred to state of war and military occupation.
- Neue Zurcher Zeitung description by foreign engineer of corpses in the streets of Kharkiv.
- American visitors Mr/Mrs Stebalo in New York Times 29Aug1933; Matin of Paris, 30/31Aug1933.

- At conclusion of the Zionist Congress in Prague, Harry Lang visited the various Jewish settlements in Russia [Ukraine] as an ordinary Intourist traveler, journeying by car with his wife. (See New York Jewish paper Forward -- Jewish people were terrified and resigned.)

- “The state of things across the Dniester is, therefore, thoroughly appreciated in Bessarabia [Moldova]”. (See Deutsche Zeitung fur Bessarabien  (German, Tarutino) at end of 1933.)
- Walter Eidlitz in Neue Zuricher Zeitung
- Ravalsche Zeitung
- Kronstadter Zeitung

- German agricultural concession “Drusag” in Northern Caucasus led an independent existence in Russia for nearly 10 years. Managed by Dr. Fritz Dittloff [Dietloff], it was a positive oasis in the desert of the Northern Caucasus famine area. Starving German peasants from surrounding area  flocked there for food. [It was later liquidated, some 5,000 German citizens were allowed to evacuate to Germany, but the rest were either sent to Siberia or starved to death.] Articles in Rigasche Rundschau, Deutsches Volksblatt in Neusatz and Nordschleswigsche Zeitung confirm extinction of the German settlements in Russia.

Second Phase: autumn 1933 to autumn 1934 (p71)
- Soviet initial claim of 89 million ton harvest was later seen to be only 55-60 million tons – about the same as in 1932. [However, there were presumably real drought conditions in 1934 in many parts of the Soviet Union.]
- Articles in Pravda, 10Mar1934 indicate great difficulties.
- Dilo in Lviv describes escape of refugees across Zbruch River.
- Germans fled to Manchuria, Jews escaped to Persia [Iran]
- German settlers who reached Harbin were eventually resettled to Brazil.

- Brothers Adamovitch (Polish Americans) flew across the Atlantic to Poland. Later as guests of the Soviet Government they received permission to visit their sister in Ukraine. Two thirds of inhabitants had died of hunger; their sister was unrecognizable.
-America (organ of Catholic émigrés from Ukraine)
- Dilo, 31Oct1934
- Arthur Just in Memeler Dampfboot

Third Phase: autumn 1934 onwards (p84)
- Harold Denny (assistant to Walter Duranty) in New York Times 26Jul1934 describes the military-like battle orders issued by the Kremlin to collect grain, which entailed forcible carrying out of the collective system and destruction of the remaining independent peasants.

- Quoting a local paper in Cheliabinsk, Western Siberia, the Sunday Times, 28Oct1934 reports three officials condemned to death for protesting excessive grain collection.

- “As Mr. Chamberlin [Christian Science Monitor] has pointed out in his reports, the Soviet Government exploits the famine in order systematically to destroy certain categories of people.”

- Ammende tries to estimate number of deaths:
- Neue Zurcher Zeitung states that the loss of life in Ukraine alone was 6 million.
- Chamberlin of Christian Science Monitor estimates 3 to 4 million.

(3) The Struggle of the Nationalities (p104)
- “Parallel to the fight for bread, a determined fight against the nationalities, their rights and their cultural individuality, has been carried on for some time.”
- “Of those old comrades drawn from the “alien” peoples in Russia, the chief was Lenin’s old friend, the Ukrainian Skrypnik.”
- “It is superfluous here to take sides in the dispute whether the Ukrainians are an independent people or, as many Russians claim, are only one tribe of those that form the Russian nation.”
- “At the head of the Ukrainian Soviet Republic … was a pure-blooded Ukrainian, Lenin’s friend Skrypnik.”
- “The Communists under Skrypnik had no separatist tendencies, but felt justified in vigorously maintaining the linguistic and cultural rights of their people in the Soviet Ukraine.”
- “In other words, Skrypnik wished the Soviet Union to be really a federation of independent peoples with territories of their own, and not a structure of states autonomous only in name.”
- “The views of the Ukrainian Communists agree with those of many Communists in White Russia, the Caucasus, Kazakhstan and other districts having a non-Russian population.” [As opposed to Moscow Communists as expressed by Postyshev. ]
- As the famine progressed,  “Skrypnik and the Ukrainian Communists protested openly.”

- The 14Dec1932 decree and Stalin’s instructions to Postyshev “were not only to break all resistance to the gathering of the harvest, but to obliterate everything  resembling the stressing of a distinctive Ukrainian nationality.”

- Ammende discusses at length Postyshev’s pronouncements, speeches and actions such as purging 25% of Ukrainian Communist Party -- firings, arrests, executions. A special department under Kaganovitch replaced all local authorities with Moscow stooges.

- “Any attempt by the starving peasants to take grain from the fields or to hide part of it , every protest by Ukrainian Nationalists, was crushed: Postyshev, the Political Sections and martial law held the field.”

- At a Communist Party of Ukraine meeting on 10Jun1933 Skrypnik protested against the genocidal policies, but he was roundly denounced by Postyshev and relieved of his post. Skrypnik committed suicide on 08Jul1933.
- “Skrypnik had been removed and the last obstacle to Moscow’s fight against the Ukraine was gone.”

- At end of WWI, about two million Germans  lived in the German Volga Republic, which possessed an independent State existence. [Catherine II decree of 23Jul1763 granted autonomy to German colonists in the Volga region. Moscow decree of 28Jul1918 placed Volga Germans under Moscow’s control.]
- “The White Sepulchre” by Pastor A. Kern (Lutterworth Press, London, 1935) describes destruction of Germans during the Famine.

 - Similar happenings occurred in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan (Pan-Islamite Movement), Armenia, Georgia.

(p142) - The leadership and administration of the Soviet State is today to a considerable extent in the hands of Jews. It is a fact which none can deny. “Indeed, it can fairly be said that non-national Jewry has played and plays a very large part indeed in shaping of the Soviet Russian regime; this applies not only to the Soviet Government, but, further, to the activities of the Komintern.” These Jewish circles see those Jews who cling to their nationality, religion and customs as an element which must be destroyed . That is why the Soviet regime is attacking the believing Jews in Ukraine, White Russia, etc. The so-called “Yiddish Institutes” in Kyiv, Minsk, etc. are simply intended to have a disintegrating effect on the surrounding communities.

(p145) - “The new [nationalities] programme means war to the knife on all the national movements, whether among the Ukrainians, the White Russians, the Caucasian peoples, the Germans, the Finns or the Jews.”

(p146) – “Moscow now has a direct interest in the destruction of a large part of the generation now living in the Ukraine and in other autonomous districts.”
- “The nationalities of these districts, especially the Ukrainians, are thus engaged in a struggle for their existence and for the salvation of a part of their national being.”

(p147) – Moscow has instituted a policy of evacuating “nationalities” from the Western border areas to Siberia.

(p149) – W.H. Chamberlin, Christian Science Monitor,  29May1934: The Soviet Government “has employed famine as an instrument of national policy on an unprecedented scale and in an unprecedented way.”

Ammende concludes: “I think I have shown that this war is directed in particular against the members of the various nationalities, millions of whom have already been sacrificed to it.”

(4) Moscow’s Attitude (p150)
- American Communist Andrew Smith, New York Evening Journal, 29May1935 – quoting Sklar: “Suppose 6,000,000 more people die from hunger, what of it? It is still worth the price of Communism…”

- Stalin “was the first to grasp that the existence of millions of peasant properties inevitably meant the fiasco of the Communist order in Russia.”

(p160) - “In view of the ten million dead lying in the common graves of the Ukraine, Northern Caucasus and Western Siberia …”

(p164) - Until the appearance of the National Socialist movement (i.e. Hitler), the Third International had succeeded in organizing a large part of the population of Germany under its direction and in making for far-reaching preparations for a Communist revolution.  After losing its influence in Germany, Moscow turned its attention to France.

(p169) - The White Sea – Baltic Canal … will always be associated with the destruction and sufferings of banished “enemies of the state” from the Ukraine.

(p172f) – A system of privileges has been developed for supporters and enforcers of the Communist dictatorship: the Bolshevik leadership; the GPU; Red Army garrisons in the capitals; industrial workers in Moscow and Leningrad; lower State functionaries such train personnel, teachers, doctors; the peasant class on the collective (or independent) farms at the bottom.
- For example, one kilogram of meat with a ration card costs 3.18 roubles; without a ration card in a State shop it costs 30 roubles.
- “Renegades are banished from the blessed island [of privilege] and are cast out into the sea of the starving.”

(p178) – Because of the famine … “It was now possible to settle once and for all with the real and imaginary enemies and to exterminate them more systematically than before.”

(p183f) – Sanger of Moscow Daily News related how tens of thousands of Kuban Cossacks that revolted were deported in 1932, while those that remained starved to death in 1933.
- Witting Williams wrote that the Kuban Cossacks were being deliberately starved, such that whole communities were exterminated.
- Osservatore Romano (August 1934) quotes Stalin: “The Cossacks have a middle-class mentality. I have no doubt that they will take the first opportunity of rebelling against us. We must exterminate them as a class and a caste, and even their memory must be destroyed.”

- Moscow’s aim is clear: the present generation (based on nationhood, religion, family) is to be exterminated to clear the way for the conquest of the rising generation (unencumbered by God, nation or family).

(5) Propaganda Methods (p186)
- OGPU controls contacts of foreign visitors; inhabitants are always under OGPU surveillance and threats.
- Pierre Berland in Temps 18Jul1933 explains the silence of the press concerning the famine by noting that foreign journalists that do not toe the line are expelled. (They lose their jobs.)
- Early in June 1934 a decree legalized reprisals against relatives of those escaping the Soviet Union.
(p193) – Moscow correctly gauged that perceived political or economic advantages would trump any humanitarian concerns in the West.
(p198) – Division of labour between Russian Press and Communist organs outside the Soviet Union. Russian press is completely silent on famine conditions; while Communist organs attack any articles on the famine published in the West.
- A U.S. tour by German Communist Willi Munzenberg in 1934 “For Peace and Against Fascism” morphed into praise for Communism and promotion of Communist revolutions in the West.

(p205) - G.B. Shaw and Lady Astor extolled Russian life in the Manchester Guardian, 02Mar1933.

(p207f) - Wireless propaganda to the outside world has been extremely successful. For example, there was a Christmas Day 1934 broadcast in German from Kyiv extolling the extraordinary prosperity of the Ukrainian peasants.

(p216) - Litvinov at World Economic Conference in London in 1933 brazenly stated that Russia was “the only country in the world unaffected by the economic crisis” and no one rose to contradict Litvinov.

(p218f) -  Moscow demonized Cardinal Innitzer’s initiative to provide relief to starving Ukrainian peasants as “pure inventions”; whereas former French Prime Minister Herriot was very useful to Kremlin propaganda.

(p222) -  “Anyone who dares to write or speak about matters disagreeable to Moscow must be prepared for the most venomous attacks on his credibility and his personal qualities both from Moscow and from Moscow’s friends and helpers from abroad.”

(6) The Testimony of Monsieur Herriot (26Aug - 09Sep1933) (p223)
- “M. Herriot’s categorical declaration that there was no famine in Russia naturally made the very greatest impression throughout Europe.” It completely scuttled relief efforts.

- Ammende describes Herriot’s visit in detail and with scorn. Nevertheless, he admits that Moscow manipulated his visit and media coverage masterfully -- immediately, in the medium term and in the long term.

(p255) -  Herriot states in French: “The Russian famine is nothing but the product of Hitlerian propaganda”. He plainly declares that Ukraine was not so much endangered by hunger as by separatist machinations  enjoying the support of German National Socialism. “(… Herriot sees in the National Socialists, especially in Alfred Rosenberg, the wire-pullers behind Ukrainian separatism, while Postyshev suspects the Polish aristocracy, Sir Deterding and others.)”

(p256) -  “The claim that under the patronage of Berlin there is collaboration between Ukrainian separatists and the Russian émigrés must seem wholly grotesque to anyone aware of the violent antipathy” between the two.  (Russian chauvinists do not even admit the existence of a Ukrainian people.)

Ewald Ammende concludes that Herriot “is apparently not aware that his own account of the causes of recent developments in the Ukraine is a defamation of wide circles of an entire people, uttered at a moment when this people, deserted by the entire world, is fighting desperately for its future, for its nationhood, and perhaps for its bare existence.”

(7) The Outer World and the Soviets (p258)
- “Indeed, I do not hesitate to assert that the Embassies, Legations, Consulates and trade delegations in Moscow were possessed of authentic material, fully documented reports, eyewitnesses’ accounts and photographs illustrating the catastrophe.”

(p259) -  Two main reasons why Western world is interested in Moscow and refuses to discuss Famine.
(a) Trade: capitalists want State credit guarantees on trade with Russia. “Moscow, by preference, places orders in accordance with political considerations.”
(b) Treaty of Rapallo during Easter 1920 between Russia and Germany prevented a united non-Communist front against the Communist threat from the Soviet Union. Thereafter, there was a scramble for business with Russia.

(p262) -  A special relationship exists between Germany and Russia since hundreds of thousands of German peasants have settled in that country for more than two centuries. But to Germany good business relations with the Soviet Union is more important than the fate of the starving German peasants.

(p263) -  [Hitler’s] National Socialist campaign made the destruction of Communism in Germany its primary endeavour. Moscow regarded the National Socialist regime as the chief and most fundamental enemy of Bolshevism and hence of the Soviet State. A feeling of insecurity [due to Hitler’s rise to power] induced France to seek co-operation with the Soviet Union.

(p267) – The relationship of France and Germany with respect to the Soviet Union has flip-flopped.

Dr. Ammende next analyzes the relations between the Soviet Union and various countries:
- Britain, before signing a treaty, successfully insisted that food supplies sent to British citizens would be allowed in duty free. However, the treaty allowed Communist infiltration of British institutions and society.
- In Italy there is an unnatural friendship between Communism and Fascism.
- Japanese aggression in the Far East had a softening effect on the USA. American capitalism and Moscow Communism work hand-in-glove. However, on 05Jan1935 William Randolph Hearst broadcast a speech referring to the Innitzer Committee, which was published in the New York Times.
- Poland rejected Moscow’s overtures, when they sent Karl Radek (born in Poland,  but joined the Bolsheviks and their attempts to conquer Poland in 1920) to negotiate a treaty.
- Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania are in a similar uneasy position as Poland.
- Soviet Russia has conceded Bessarabia [Moldova] to Roumania.

- Switzerland seems to be the only country that took a hard line concerning the famine as the League of Nations voted to accept the Soviet Union for membership in 1934.

“At present the Vatican supports relief works on behalf of people suffering from famine in ever way.”

(8) The Problem of Rendering Assistance (p281)
Ammende argues that one of the factors to the “conspiracy of silence” is that the subject is unpleasant and painful.

(p285) -  Since food parcels were rejected, the European Central Office for Inter-Church Aid at Geneva started aid in 1930 via the Torgsins (which only accepted gold or foreign currency as payment). It proved to be a diabolical scheme to obtain foreign currency.  The Bolsheviks confiscated the peasant’s food. Relatives sent money to allow the peasant to buy back some of the food at an exorbitant price. The OGPU would often arrest and deport the recipient for foreign subversion.
- On 15Mar1935 the German Government forbade remittances via Torgsins. Although the Soviet Government officially closed the Torgsin program in the autumn of 1935, the still allowed banks to forward roubles (calculated at an exorbitant exchange rate).

 (p293) -  On 15Jul1933, the Vienna Reichspost published Ammende’s proposal that surplus grain in American ports be shipped to Black Sea ports.

(p294) -  “Above all should be mentioned an appeal issued by issued from Lviv by the Prince Metropolitan of the Ukrainian Unified Church , the aged Count Andreas Sheptytsky”, such that on 20Aug1933 Archbishop of Vienna , Cardinal Theodor Innitzer issued a world appeal for relief aid to the starving peasants. Both Ukrainian and Russian organizations supported this relief program. 

(p296f) -  Norwegian Premier Dr. Mowinkel agreed to submit the proposal to the League of Nations. He tried and failed at a stormy two hour meeting. He was told to approach the International Red Cross instead, which was powerless to do anything. 

(p304) -  In July 1934, Lord Charnwood and the Archbishop of Canterbury raised the issue. 

(p305) -  During the summer and autumn of 1934 in Winnipeg, Canada, emigrants from Russia (Ukrainians, Russians, Germans and Jews) and local churches (Mennonites, Catholics, Lutherans, Orthodox Church, etc.) united under the presidency of Dr. Mackay of the United Churches. They wrote a joint manifesto to the Canadian Prime Minister, Mr. Bennett, begging that Canada should give her consent to the admission of Soviet Russia into the League of Nations only on condition that measures were taken to save the victims in Russia.

(p307) -  At “Assembly” in Geneva,  M. Motta of Switzerland made an impassioned speech against the admission of the Soviet Union (citing fomenting revolution, suppression of the nationalities, state of miseries in famine areas) for which he received “enthusiastic applause from those very delegates who were obliged to vote for Moscow’s admission.”  

[W.Z. In light of all the evidence presented by Dr. Ewald Ammende above, no one can claim that the decision-makers of the world were unaware of the Holodomor and its genocidal nature.]


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