By Mykola ZHULYNSKY, Member of the
Academy of Sciences, Director of the Taras Shevchenko
Institute of Literature, and Parliamentarian
The Day Weekly Digest in English, #29
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, September 27, 2005
My heart is breaking as I read the book
of reminiscences and
tributes, Day and Eternity of James Mace,
published under the editorship of Larysa Ivshyna.
Just like the two languages of this
publication, the American and Ukrainian halves of Jim's heart have
up to us thanks to The Day's staff and editors, who funded the books as a tribute to their prolific colleague
This book is the newest addition to The
Day's unique Library Series,
which has captured the hearts of both our
readers and all those who are interested in Ukraine's history, culture, church affairs, problems of historical
relations between Ukraine and Russia, Ukraine and Poland, and Ukraine and Europe.
All these topics are covered in such
books as Ukraina Incognita, Dvi
Rusi, and Wars and Peace, or Ukrainians
and Poles: Brothers/Enemies, Neighbors.
Looking at us from the newsprint-design
cover of the book, Day and Eternity of James Mace, is a somewhat sad
face with deep-set, dark eyes - the face of our Jim whose untimely passing was a blow to many people throughout
DEAD HAVE CHOSEN ME," SAID
James Mace shared his heart, heating it up on the raging fire of the memory of the Holodomor. He burst into the
renzied atmosphere of Soviet authoritarianism and the post-genocidal rape of historical memory, and his heart
could not withstand this superhuman exertion.
James Mace possessed a childlike
sensitivity to injustice, and
responded with his heart to the Ukrainian reality,
as though this land and people had raised him to adulthood. He genetically inherited all our tragic grievances
"Your dead have chosen me," said James
Mace, after listening to hundreds of sincere and desperate eyewitness
accounts from Ukrainians who had survived the Holodomor of 1932-33 or suffered profound psychological
traumas brought on by the tragic loss of their family and friends.
There is no need to recount how James
Mace became committed to the Ukrainian cause. He wrote an autobiography
of sorts, entitled "Facts and Values: a Personal Intellectual Exploration."
Serving as the introduction to the newly
published book, it outlines
Mace's magnificent path of civic and creative
achievements in the name of Ukraine.
James recounts how and when this path
began with an almost naive sincerity and without any allusions to his
outstanding contribution to the restoration of historical truth.
The same is true of his many other
publications between 1994 and
2004, including his weekly columns in the
English-language digest of The Day. Together with his curriculum vitae this book features 124 of his articles,
only a small part of his extensive publications list.
Likewise, the people who shared their
memories in the book form only
a small percentage of those who remember
James Mace and would like to put their memories on paper.
I MET JIM MACE FIRST IN 1989
I am one of those who did not submit their reminiscences of Jim on time for publication. I was lucky to meet
him in 1989 at the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute. At the time James Mace was the staff director of
the US Commission on the Ukraine Famine.
I do not recall our conversation in much
detail, but I remember one important thing. James was determined
to visit Ukraine, so we discussed his possible trip.
I helped put him in touch with some
Holodomor researchers, who had enthusiastically started their own
for archival documents, recorded witness accounts, and unveiled memorials in villages once obliterated
James established especially close ties
with the writer Volodymyr Maniak and his wife Lidia Kovalenko, who
lived in the same apartment building on Chkalov Street (now Oles Honchar Street) as I did.
Our neighbor was the writer Oleksa
Musiyenko, who had compiled a Martyrs' List of victims of communist
tyranny, including Holodomor victims.
At the time Maniak and Kovalenko were
compiling a unique book
entitled Famine 1933. The People's
Memorial Book, and their apartment was filled to overflowing with documents, eyewitness accounts,
lists of villages wiped out by famine, etc. James Mace often visited their place.
I have never forgotten the image of James
enveloped in a cloud of cigarette smoke, his head bent over some
archival document. Volodia Maniak, who was always utterly exhausted from overwork, has been gone a long
time, killed in a car accident. His wife Lidia did not survive him for much longer; her heart was unable to bear
the separation from her husband.
A heart attack claimed Oleksa Musiyenko
while he worked. Many others
who revealed to the world and to
Ukrainians the dark pages of communist atrocities committed against our people are also gone.
COMMITTEE FOR THE 60TH ANNIVERSARY
OF THE HOLODOMOR
I recall the March 17, 1993, meeting of the committee to organize the events commemorating the 60th
anniversary of the Holodomor in Ukraine. On February 19, 1993, Ukraine's first president Leonid Kravchuk
issued an order "On Events to Commemorate the 60th Anniversary of the Holodomor in Ukraine."
As the organizing committee's chairman (I
was deputy prime minister
at the time), I recommended and secured
the appointment of the then Illinois State University Professor James Mace as one of my deputy chairmen.
During his trip to Kyiv in 1990, Ivan
Drach and I met with James at
the Ukraina Association in Zolotovoritska
Street, where he shared his opinions concerning the preparations for the commemoration of the victims of the
CONSIDERED HOLODOMOR PREMEDITATED
ACT OF GENOCIDE
He spoke quickly, in English in those days, and the translator could not keep up with him. Even then he considered
the Holodomor a premeditated act of genocide aimed at the spiritual, moral, linguistic, and cultural
extermination of the Ukrainian nation.
He was arguably the first to stress the need to recognize this manmade famine as an act of ethnocide.
At that time no Ukrainian historian, not
to mention the government, dared to speak in such an honest
about the Holodomor of 1933.
That is why James Mace was attracted to
the People's Movement of Ukraine (Rukh), represented by Ivan Drach,
Vyacheslav Chornovil, Mykhailo Horyn, Yevhen Sverstiuk, Yevhen Proniuk, and others.
During his first visit to Ukraine in 1990
James suggested creating an institution in Kyiv that would be similar
Jerusalem's Yad Vashem - amuseum of memory and mourning with an affiliated research institution.
At the time Mace was a member of the
board of the International Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide in
Jerusalem, and his opinions and proposalswere very important to us.
We had a detailed discussion of issues
concerning the preparation of
the first international conference dedicated
to the 60th anniversary of the Holodomor. He provided the names of foreign scholars who could substantiate the
fact that an act of genocide had taken place.
He also invited distinguished
international experts, in particular
the author of the fundamental study Accounting
for Genocide, Helen Fein, as well as Leon Cooper and Robert Conquest.
I think it was in those days that James
Mace began thinking about settling down in Ukraine. The main reason
behind his decision was the fact that the archives had started to open up, although this was a slow process and
the archives were not open to everybody, just trusted, official researchers.
James was counting on this, for it was
his dream to continue and
expand his search for the causes and consequences
of this national catastrophe.
First off, he wanted to organize the
Ukrainian translation and publication (in Ukraine) of the three-volume
of Holodomor eyewitness accounts that had been published by the US Congress.
As staff director of the US Commission on
the Ukraine Famine, James Mace brought the first copies of these
eyewitness accounts to Ukraine. Everyone who spoke with James was simply shell-shocked by these accounts.
At the time James Mace knew more about
the Holodomor than anyone else and could discuss this horrible tragedy
within the context of numerous phenomena and processes in the USSR.
Apart from the three volumes of famine
survivors' accounts, he also brought the first volume of studies
archival materials discovered in the West, where they were smuggled out of Ukraine during World War II.
James Mace participated in the
commemoration of the 60th anniversary
of the Holodomor as the premier authority
on the causes and consequences of the famine-genocide and political reprisals in general.
I must admit that we tried to capitalize
on this fact, always
pointing to his decisive role in compelling the US Congressional
and Presidential Commission to provide a well-grounded answer to the key questions of whether there indeed was a
famine in Ukraine in 1932-33 and what it was like.
James was a godsend to us at a time when
the Communist Party of
Ukraine was starting to inch toward official
recognition of this famine, but only as the result of a mistaken policy adopted by Stalin and his associates.
The localauthorities sensed this "thaw" in the party's policy, which was evidenced by two events that took place
with the participation of James Mace.
ATTEMPT TO UNVEIL MONUMENTS TO
The first was an attempt to unveil a monument to Holodomor victims on the initiative of the Ukrainian association
Memorial, which was then headed by Volodymyr Maniak, in a village outside Uman that had been wiped out
during the famine.
Local party activists refused to issue
permission for the unveiling ceremony, which is why we decided to
them by involving an American scholar.
Yet even the presence of a foreigner did
nothing to break the authorities' resistance to our attempts to pay
to the Holodomor victims. So we held a solemn meeting at a local site of mass burials.
The second event was the unveiling on
September 11, 1993, of the
Mound of Sorrow (Kurhan Skorboty) near
Mharsk Monastery. A rainy squall and gusts of cold wind shook the church bells, sending shivers through the
freezing soldiers standing there with evergreen and flower wreaths, forcing the choir singers to huddle closer together
and the kobzars rushing to pack their banduras.
Borys Oliynyk delivered an emotional and
exalted speech. He had made remendous efforts to ensure that this Mound
of Sorrow would rise above the land of Poltava and its sorrowful bells would awaken our memory.
In a passionate and emotional speech Yuri
Shymko, the Canadian president of the World Congress of Free
lashed out against the communist regime.
James Mace spoke slowly and his brief
speech resonated with a
profound sense of this horrible tragedy. It seemed to me
that when James spoke, the wind subsided and the people began listening more attentively.
He stood there, chilled to the bone, in a
white overcoat, like a
lone love that had miraculously descended on this sea of
people black with sorrow. He stood there and cried. Or maybe it was rain streaming down his cheeks.
Who can tell now with any certainty when
the process of becoming a Ukrainian was completed in the consciousness
of this American?
JAMES TOOK UP THIS TRAGEDY AS A
CHALLENGE TO DESTINY
It was a process not only of accumulating knowledge about the Ukrainian Holodomor and Ukrainian history, but also
becoming emotionally and psychologically attached to the millions of its innocent victims.
James took up this tragedy as a challenge
to destiny, and it
immersed his sensitive, compassionate soul in the dark
abyss of people's memory, for so long chained and contained by official bans.
I read all of his articles and weekly
reactions to various events, which were carried by The Day, and was
amazed by his sensitive, emotionally acute, and politically expert response to this unsettled world beset with problems.
It is a sort of autobiography of his
public commiseration with the
fate of Ukraine and the world, which further emphasizes
his true greatness and significance for Ukraine. It seems to me that he kept more in his heart than he put on paper.
Still, I was impressed by how much he
managed to write. After all,
his tireless efforts were phenomenal, and I must bow
my head in gratitude to his wife, the journalist and writer Natalia Dziubenko-Mace, who helped him to reveal himself to
the people through his writing.
Although we did not see it, she always
watched with concern as he burned up on the inside, devoured by the
empathy and constant worries about the fate of Ukraine, which became his home.
Certainly, we must name a street in his
honor or dedicate a monument
to him, but will such immortalization be tribute
enough to his selfless devotion and passionate love for his new homeland?
SEPTEMBER 12, 1993, DAY OF SORROW
Ivan Drach and I drew up plans to create a monument to the victims of the Holodomor. By this time James Mace
had already moved to Kyiv and was actively participating in the work of organizing committee.
Time was running out, and by September
1993 we had already planned
the Days of Sorrow and Memory for Holodomor
Victims and the closing events that were to take place in Kyiv on September 12.
Clearly, this commemoration would have
been incomplete without a memorial. The artist and sculptor Vasyl
submitted a design. We reviewed it and talked about how we could build this monument and where.
I look at the photo on the back jacket of
the book, Day and Eternity
of James Mace: an image of a mourning mother
symbolizing Ukraine victimized by famine. On her chest is a symbolic cross: a child with his arms outstretched. James
especially liked this monument.
Only God knows how we managed to build it so quickly and erect it in a decent spot without any bureaucratic holdups.
On September 12, 1993, this monument on
St. Michael's Square was consecrated by representatives of every
in Ukraine, and delegations from all parts of the country brought handfuls of chornozem, Ukraine's fertile topsoil.
The unveiling ceremony was attended by
President Leonid Kravchuk, Parliamentary Speaker Ivan Pliushch, and
Prime Minister Leonid Kuchma. James Mace was among them, feeling very anxious and worried.
JAMES MACE HAD MANY DREAMS
Many plans were afoot in those days.
James Mace nurtured the
idea of creating a genocide institute. He
eventually headed such an institution, but, unfortunately, only on a voluntary basis.
We tried to find a place for a memorial
to commemorate the victims
of the Holodomor and political reprisals.
We contemplated restoring cemeteries in lost villages, marking burial sites, and compiling a register of all
We also thought of a way to commemorate
all the churches that were destroyed throughout Ukraine, the
peasant families that had been cut down by the scythe of the Holodomor, and the lost folk traditions, and to
rekindle the spiritual centers that had been extinguished by this national catastrophe.
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