Holodomor and Mowinckel


Johan Ludwig Mowinckel (22 October 1870 – 30 September 1943) was a Norwegian statesman, shipping magnate and philanthropist. He served as the Prime Minister of Norway during three separate terms.

Johan Ludwig Mowinckel  

mowinckelMowinckel entered public service in Bergen where he became Chairman of the local branch of the Liberal Party (Bergens Venstreforening) . He was elected to the Bergen City Council in 1899 and subsequently mayor of Bergen 1902-1906 and 1911-1913. In 1906, he became Member of Parliament (Storting) for the Liberal party representing Bergen during 1906-1909 and 1913-1918. He became President of the Storting in 1916. He was voted out of office in the 1918 elections. During the period between World War I and 1935 he remained active in national politics. In 1921 Mowinckel was re-elected to the Storting. He served as Minister of Trade in 1921-1922 and Foreign Minister in 1922-1923. Mowinckel was Norway's Prime Minister during three periods in office; 1924-1926, 1928-1931 and 1933-1935. These were all periods dominated by economic and fiscal crisis. In 1930 Mowinckel initiated the Oslo Convention on customs cooperation between Norway, Denmark and the Benelux countries, to prevent higher customs walls.

In 1925 he became a member of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee. Mowinckel took the initiative during the Oslo Convention (Oslokonvensjonen) of 1930 to encourage free trade between the nations of the Belgium–Luxembourg Economic Union and Nordic countries, anticipating postwar efforts toward the formation of the European Union. He also took an active interest in the League of Nations, serving on the council and becoming President in 1933. In September of 1933, Ukrainian public figures appealed to Johan Ludwig Mowinckel as the Head of the Council of the League of Nations with the request to consider the question of the man-made famine in Ukraine (Milena RudnytskaOleksander Shulhyn, Ukrainian Public Committee for Saving Ukraine. Also, Margery Corbett Ashby, the head of International Women's Alliance, appealed to him. He kept his word - he included the issue of the Holodomor to the 76th session of the Council of the League of Nations in spite of the resistance of the representatives of some European countries. The discussion of the causes and circumstances of the famine in Ukraine lasted for several hours, but the resolution was not adopted. The delegations of France and Great Britain were against it. He explained his decision by the fact that the "lives of millions" dead of starvation did not allow him to remain silent. He was personally acquainted with Norwegian traveler and public figure Fridtjof Nansen, who in 1932-1933 organized the aid to the Ukrainian farmers. On October 20, 1933, M. Danko, the correspondent of Lviv newspaper "Dilo," wrote that Mowinckel "will remain in the history of the Ukrainian struggles in Europe." Children from the Ukrainian community of Czech city of Podebrady (Czecho-Slovakia) thanked Johan Ludwig Mowinckel for his humanistic position regarding the protection of the starving people in Ukraine. On November 16, 1933, he sent a warm response with the gratitude for the attention. He condemned the menace of Nazi philosophy, and when Germany overran Norway in 1940 he followed the Norwegian Government-in-exile to London. In 1942, Johan Ludwig Mowinckel came to the United States and was engaged with Nortraship, the state-owned Norwegian shipping company during World War II. He died on 30 September 1943 in New York City. 

On the 4th Saturday in November, the Ukrainians commemorate Holodomor, the genocide that killed millions of people.

The Soviet collectivization of agriculture under Stalin was carried out with hard funds. All property, property and equipment were seized and placed under the new collective uses. The resistance was great, not only among the kulaks (peasants), but also among many Ukrainians who were in opposition to the Bolsheviks.

In 1932-1933, the reception came from the Soviet state. The countryside was cleansed of food. Not only was all the grain collected, but animals, vegetables and everything else edible were gathered together. Winter came, and the food was held back. The result was one of the worst hunger disasters the world has seen, and many millions of people perished.

In 1933, Johan Ludwig Mowinckel, Norwegian prime minister at the time, chaired the League of Nations. He made sure that the famine in Ukraine was put on the Council's agenda. Ukrainian historians claim that Mowinckel begged the international to act and that he spoke four times to convince the League of Nations members. The result was that four voted yes, including Norway among them, but that was not enough against ten no votes. The council decided to turn its back on the tragedy and delivered the materials to the Red Cross instead, which sent a request to Moscow. Back came the answer that there was no famine there.

In an interview with the French Matin, he said:

- The easiest thing was to forget the case at all. The materials I received applied to the country that was not even a member of the League of Nations. But this case is a matter of conscience, it concerns millions of lives.

In 1933, the Norwegian government received a letter from the Ukrainian Association in Prague. They thanked Mowinckel for the support of millions of Ukrainians in need.

Must remember

In 2006, the Ukrainian parliament recognized Holodomor as the genocide of Ukrainians. 24 countries have done the same so far. The truth of the tragic years is now being explored for the first time in 80 years.

Ukrainians had many reasons to mourn in the 20th century, but most importantly, remember and remind everyone who stretched their hand to the oppressed and saved them from death - and from oblivion. Johan Ludwig Mowinckel must also be mentioned among them.