WARSAW, Poland (JTA) — Polish-Jewish director Agnieszka Holland and American journalist Anne Applebaum were honored with the country’s Order of Princess Olga of the 3rd Degree for “telling the truth about the tragedy of the Great Famine in Ukraine.”
President Volodymyr Zelensky announced the awards on Saturday on the occasion of the Day of Great Famine Victims.
The Great Famine in Ukraine was artificially induced in 1932-1933 by the Soviet Union to punish Ukrainians who opposed the forced collectivization of agriculture. It is estimated that between 3 million and up to 10 million people died of hunger during this time.
Holland is the director of the film “Citizen Jones,” which tells the story of journalist Gareth Jones, who was the first to describe the Great Famine in Western media. Other Western journalists – particularly those linked to the communist authorities, such as Walter Duranty, who was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for reports from communist Russia – then considered his information to be untrue. Jones was soon killed, believed to be by Kremlin collaborators.
Applebaum, a Washington Post columnist, is the author of the book “Red Famine,” in which she shows that the Great Famine was the largest genocide of the 20th century after the Holocaust. In 2004 she received the Pulitzer Prize for the book “Gulag.”