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Douglas Tottle (born 1944) is a Canadian trade union activist and the author of a book about the Ukrainian famine in 1932 and 1933 (often referred to as the Holodomor) entitled Fraud, Famine, and Fascism: The Ukrainian Genocide Myth from Hitler to Harvard. Tottle claims that fraudulent, anti-Semitic "famine-genocide" propaganda has been spread by former Nazis, anti-communists and Ukrainian Nationalists, sometimes posing as academics in Canadian universities. Tottle's critics regard him as a "Soviet apologist", or a "denunciator" of the famine. Tottle also has defenders such as the Stalin Society, author Jeff Coplon, the Swedish Communist Party, which insists that his book is a solid piece of historical research that exposed the "myth of the famine-genocide ... once and for all". When published, his book received endorsements from two Canadian University professors (see below).
Tottle was born in Quebec, but later lived mainly in Western Canada. He had various jobs throughout his working life, including photo-lab technician, fine artist, miner, and steelworker. As a trade union activist, he edited The Challenger, a journal of the United Steelworkers, from 1975 to 1985. Tottle also researched labour history and worked as a union organiser, for example among Chicano farm workers in California, and Native Indian farm workers in Manitoba. Tottle has written for various Canadian and US publications.
Fraud, Famine, and Fascism: The Ukrainian Genocide Myth from Hitler to Harvard
Douglas Tottle is mostly known for his controversial book Fraud, Famine, and Fascism: the Ukrainian Genocide Myth from Hitler to Harvard, in which he asserts that claims the Holodomor was an intentional genocide are "fraudulent", and "a creation of Nazi propagandists". He downplays the responsibility of what he calls "mistakes" by Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin and "amateurish Soviet planning," and suggests blame can be placed on Ukrainian saboteurs, resisting collectivization. In addition, Tottle puts significant emphasis into denying the validity of photographs of the famine, suggesting a conspiracy.
Only a portion of Tottle's book deals with the Holodomor, as most of it deals with claims of conspiracy and supposed fascist cover-ups. Tottle admits that he "does not attempt to study the famine in any detailed way" (p. 1) and that he is more interested in the "Nazi and fascist connections" and the "coverups of wartime collaboration" (p. 3). Critics argued that both of these topics, even if objectively treated, are not relevant to the study of the famine and can neither prove nor disprove the existence of the famine or define the nature of the tragedy. It has also been argued that Tottle's attacks on various segments of the Ukrainian diaspora constitute hate literature.
His book, published by the pro-Communist Progress Publishers in Toronto, appeared practically at the same time Ukrainian Communist party leader Volodymyr Shcherbytsky publicly acknowledged the Famine, in December 1987. As a result, the book was subsequently withdrawn from circulation. Nevertheless, the book is available on the internet, and continues to be cited as an "invaluable" and "important" book by groups such as the Stalin Society in Great Britain, author Jeff Coplon, and the Communist Party of Sweden.
In a review of Tottle's book in the Ukrainian Canadian Magazine, published by the pro-Communist Association of United Ukrainian Canadians, Wilfred Szczesny wrote: "Members of the general public who want to know about the famine, its extent and causes, and about the motives and techniques of those who would make this tragedy into something other than what it was will find Tottle's work invaluable" (The Ukrainian Canadian, April 1988, p. 24).
In his book, Searching for place: Ukrainian Displaced Persons, Canada, and the Migration of Memory, Lubomyr Luciuk comments: "For a particularly base example of famine-denial literature, see Tottle, Fraud, famine, and fascism...".
In 1988 the International Commission of Inquiry Into the 1932–33 Famine in Ukraine was set up to establish whether the famine existed and its cause. Tottle was invited by the commission to attend the hearings, however he ignored the request. While the commission was organized along judicial lines, it had no judicial power to compel witnesses to attend or testify. However Tottle's book was examined during the Brussels sitting of the commission, held between May 23–27, 1988, with testimony from various expert witnesses. The commission president Professor Jacob Sundberg subsequently concluded that Tottle was not alone in his enterprise to deny the famine on the basis that material included in his book could not have been available to a private person without official Soviet assistance.
Other similar writings supporting Tottle's view include:
- Wilfred Szczesny ("Fraud, Famine and Fascism", The Ukrainian Canadian, page 24, April 1988);
- Jeff Coplon ("In Search of a Soviet Holocaust", Village Voice, 12 January 1988);
- Donne Flanagan (1964–2008), (a bureau chief of the Canadian University Press) wrote ("The Ukrainian Famine: Fact or Fiction"), which appeared in the McGill Daily, November 22, 1988,
- Challenge-Desafio's article ("The Hoax of the Man-Made Ukraine Famine of 1932-33"), which appeared in a newspaper of the Progressive Labor Party in 1987.
History professors Clarence J. Munford (1935–), University of Guelph, and David Whitefield (1931–2007), University of Calgary, wrote endorsements for the book's back cover, praising it for "exposing the ways and wiles of anti-communist propaganda," and saying it "demonstrates clearly the viciousness surrounding the theory of the Ukrainian genocide".
- Year of birth from Library of Congress bibliographic authority record
- Tottle, Douglas (1987). Fraud, Famine, and Fascism: The Ukrainian Genocide Myth from Hitler to Harvard (PDF). Toronto: Progress Books. pp. 128ff., 135–40. ISBN 0-919396-51-8. OCLC 31968778. Retrieved 19 April 2009.
- Sysyn, Frank (1999). "The Ukrainian Famine of 1932–3: The Role of the Ukrainian Diaspora in Research and Public Discussion". In Chorbajian, Levon; Shirinian, George. Studies in Comparative Genocide. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 193. ISBN 0-312-21933-4. OCLC 39692229. Retrieved 19 April 2009.
- Marchak, Patricia (2003). Reigns of Terror. Montreal; Ithaca: McGill-Queen's University Press. p. 183. ISBN 0-7735-2642-0. OCLC 52459228. Retrieved 19 April 2009.
- "Kris i Ukraina 1932-1933". Klasskamp, historieförfalskning och den kapitalistiska förintelsen (in Swedish). Sveriges kommunistiska parti. Retrieved 21 April 2009.
- Information about the author from front matter in: Tottle, Douglas (1987). Fraud, Famine, and Fascism: The Ukrainian Genocide Myth from Hitler to Harvard (PDF). Toronto: Progress Books. ISBN 0-919396-51-8. OCLC 31968778. Retrieved 19 April 2009.
- Douglas Tottle (1987). Fraud, Famine and Fascism: The Ukrainian Genocide Myth from Hitler to Harvard. Progress Books. ISBN 978-0-919396-51-7. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
- The Last Stand of the Ukrainian Famine-Genocide Deniers by Roman Serbyn, Professor of Russian and East European History, University of Quebec, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, The Ukrainian Canadian Magazine, February, 1989
- David R. Marples (18 May 2003). "Linked letter from David Marples - Fwd: Douglas Tottle, Fraud, Famine and Fascism". lbo-talk.org. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
- Lubomyr Luciuk, Searching for place: Ukrainian displaced persons, Canada, and the migration of memory, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2000, p. 413. ISBN 0-8020-4245-7
- Sundberg, Jacob W.F. "International Commission of Inquiry Into the 1932–33 Famine in Ukraine. The Final Report (1990)". The Stockholm Institute of Public and International Law. Archived from the original on 4 December 2004. Retrieved 30 November 2015.
- A.J.Hobbins, Daniel Boyer, Seeking Historical Truth: the International Commission of Inquiry into the 1932-33 Famine in the Ukraine, Dalhousie Law Journal, 2001, Vol 24, page 166
- Donne Flanagan, “Harvesting the Despair of Credibility”, Manitoban. 21 September 1987, Reprinted in shortened versions by McGill Daily (21 November 1988) and The Link (Concordia University) (5 December 1988).
- In a letter to the McGill Daily, Morton Weinfeld stated that the article “contributes to a form of historical revisionism similar in many ways to the slicker versions of Holocaust denial literature”. (1 December 1998).
- Coming to grips with the Ukrainian famine-genocide by Roman, Serbyn, 2001.
- Serbyn criticized Flanagan's article, arguing that "What at first sight appears to be an objective piece of investigative journalism turns out to be nothing more than a slick bit of propaganda for genocide-denial. Discussing a historical event, Flanagan falls back on the opinions of professors of mathematics, statistics, and cinematography; there isn't one historian in the lot! Rehashing dated discussions, he ignores the latest literature on the subject, the documents which have been published in Canada, the United States and the Soviet Union."
- "The Hoax of the Man-Made Ukraine Famine of 1932-33". Challenge-Desafio. 25 February 1987. Archived from the original on 3 July 1998.
- Roman Serbyn, "Competing Memories of Communist and Nazi Crimes in Ukraine", Université du Québec à Montréal, presented at the Third Annual Danyliw Research Seminar on Contemporary Ukraine, 12–13 October 2007 (see Holodomor Studies, v 1 n 1, 2009, pp 9–26).
- Full text of Fraud, Famine and Fascism