Holodomor: classroom resources for teachers

Ukrainian Famine Genocide: classroom resources for teachers

Collage portrait by Natasha Sazonova dedicated to the victims of the Holodomor, Ukrainian famine genocide of 1932-1933

Ukrainian-American artist’s self-portrait dedicated to the innocent victims of the Holodomor. Artist: Natasha Sazonova

Curriculum guides and lesson plans:

~ Holodomor in Ukraine; the Genocidal Famine, 1932-1933: Teaching Materials for Teachers and Students, by Valentina Kuryliw. Edmonton: CIUS Press at University of Alberta. (forthcoming:2016/early 2017).

“New resource for teachers and students on the Holodomor and human rights; features: resources, lesson plans, learning activities, assessment guidelines, primary documents, eyewitness acounts, articles, glossary, maps, photos, illustrations, and grade-specific bibliographies.”

~ Genocide Never Again [Ukrainian Genocide]

Teacher and Student Workbook, by Vera Bej, Ihor Mirchuk, and Christine R. Shwed, 2007. Grades 7+. Well designed workbook that includes 12 worksheets explicitly matched by “eligible content” to applicable Pennsylvania standards. Multidisciplinary: addressing social studies, math, and the literary, music, and visual arts, with liberal use of photos, graphics, and full color reproductions.

You can also download a PDF Supplement of 12 slides that identify and geographically locate other genocides.

~ “The Unknown Genocide – Ukrainian Holodomor 1932-1933” by Valentina Kuryliw, 2008 (Toronto)
Grades 10-12

Carefully developed lesson plans, links, and bibliography. Extensively revised edition forthcoming in 2013.

~ Curriculum Guide for Teaching Genocides with a Focus on the Holodomor, the Famine Genocide in Ukraine by Motria Melnyk, 2011
Suitable for grades 6-9.

Applies Stanton’s classic “eight stages of genocide” to a capsule overview of 7 20th c. genocides, using the Holodomor as the case study. Includes related classroom exercises and activities.

~ The Ukrainian Genocide/Holodomor, 1932-1933; a Curriculum and Resource Guide for Educators. by Myron B. Kuropas and James Mace, updated through 2011.

Developed for the state of Illinois, which mandates study of “the Famine-Genocide in Ukraine.” Detailed overview of the subject; includes a section on “food as a political weapon,” a glossary and extensive bibliography. Several pages of activities and questions specific to either a junior high or senior high school level, engaging critical thinking across the spectrum of political science and history.

~ Holodomor Research and Education Consortium. Education.

A recent and occasionally updated collection of webpages that presents a wide variety of teaching resources, especially geared to Canada’s Provincial standards. Many can be adapted for U.S. teaching as well.

~ Teacher Package on the Holodomor: Ukrainian Famine Education, prepared under the auspices of the League of Ukrainian Canadians. 2006? Grades 10+ and college.

A selection of readings from the classic works of known scholars in the field, as well as a teacher’s guide and the texts of several decrees and other official documents.

~ Turning a Blind Eye: a Unit of Study by Lana Babij, Lidia Choma, and Borys Krupa. Rev.2013.
Click the following links to download PDF files for:

Contact Lana Babij at: lybabij@cox.net for further information. High school and college level, centering on comparative news analysis. Based on Stanford’s “Reading like a historian” model and linked to specific Common Core standards. Includes primary sources consisting of sets of conflicting news reports, with secondary sources for background information. Readings provided for the Holodomor, Great Leap Forward Famine, Darfur Crisis, and the Media Challenges Today chapter. Suggested further activities and additional resource options provided.

~ Case Studies: Persecution/Genocide. The Human Rights Series, Vol. III. by Walter Litynsky and JoAnn Larson.
Albany, NY: The University of the State of New York; State Dept. of Curriculum Development. 1986

~ Holodomor Mobile Classroom

For educators in Canada, consider booking this innovative self-contained classroom “where students partake in a 60-minute, facilitator-led interactive experience known as ‘The Historian’s Craft’.” Following a short documentary, students “become detectives using the “Historian’s Craft” activity, and later will explore various resources on tablets.

Victim of the Ukrainian famine/genocide dead from starvation on the streets of Kharkiv 1933

Victim of the Ukrainian famine/genocide dead from starvation on the streets of Kharkiv 1933

Educational database:

~ Modern Genocide: Understanding Causes and Consequences. ABC-CLIO. n.d.

A “key question” and several extensive background essays for discussing the Holodomor are included within the “Perspectives” category of this subscription database. Database information.

Textbook chapters:

~ “Death by Hunger: Ukraine,” Chapter 4 in: Defining the Horrific: Readings on Genocide and Holocaust in the 20th Century, by William Hewitt. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, 2004. College textbook.

Includes: James E. Mace, “The Great Famine-Genocide in Soviet Ukraine (Holodomor),” in Olexa Woropay’s, The Ninth Circle. (Ukrainian Studies Fund, Inc., 1983). Ian Hunter, “A Tale of Truth and Two Journalists: Malcolm Muggeridge and Walter Duranty,” Report Magazine (March 27, 2000). Roman Serbyn, The Last Stand of the Ukrainian Famine-Genocide, Deniers,” The Ukrainian Canadian (February 1989) 7,10,14. Publisher preview.

~ “Forced Famine in Ukraine,” in Genocide: the Systematic Killing of a People, byLinda Jacobs Altman. Enslow Publishers, Inc., 2008. Pp. 43-50. Grades 6 and up.

Very good overview. This collection of 10 short chapters presenting different examples of genocide, along with extensive references for further reading, received strong positive reviews for use by students in middle school and older. Scroll through selected pages from this chapter.

~ “Stalin’s Government Created the Ukrainian Famine-Genocide,” by Askold Krushelnycky, in Genocide, ed. by Christina Fisanick. Detroit: Greenhaven Press. 2007. Pp. 112-21. for “juvenile” readers.

In the context of issues such as definitions, causes, and prevention of genocide, the Holodomor is one of several genocides discussed in this volume. Table of contents.

~ “Soviet Man-Made Famine In Ukraine”, by James Mace in: Centuries of Genocide: Critical Essays and Eyewitness Accounts, ed. by Samuel Totten; William S. Parsons; Israel W. Charny. Routledge, 2012. The same chapter appeared in all earlier editions of the books, which was titled: Century Of Genocide : Critical Essays And Eyewitness Accounts. Linked reprint here is from 2004 ed. frequently used as college textbook.

Particularly insightful in comparing the totalitarian ideologies of Hitler and Stalin, and in demonstrating how Stalin, through propaganda and highly engineered class warfare, reduced Marxism to the level of “sanctioning … perhaps the paradigmatic example of what Leo Kuper (1990) has called the genocide state.”Also cautions against the“selective perception of evil.” 3 witness accounts included.


~ Holodomor: Stalin’s Genocidal Famine. Euromaidan Press. 2015.

Well-designed visual aid providing accurate information, graphs, map, quotations and photos that present an overview of the basic elements and consequences of the Holodomor on a single poster sized page.

Power point presentations:

~ Holodomor: Famine-Genocide in Ukraine 1932-1933a Power Point presentation, by Maria Kiciuk and Oksana Kulynych. [2012]. 45 slides. Concise, visually appealing and easy to follow for both teachers and students. Includes suggested activities and resources for further study. Designed to be readily incorporated into several areas of high school instruction such as: 20th century European history, topics in political science and economics, genocide and human rights studies, etc.

Holodomor: Famine-Genocide in Ukraine 1932-1933. Print Addendum.” is designed to accompany the power point slides and provides valuable supporting information.

~ Holodomor, by John Tidswell for the Edmonton Catholic Schools.(n.d.) 60 slides.

Excellent. First 19 slides provide a brief summary of the historical roots, implementation and consequences of the Holodomor. Remaining slides offer a cultural panorama of Ukraine and a survey of related topics for study as described in the next item. Very rich visually with numerous period posters, photos and maps throughout. Click on “notes” to read the annotations and get source info. Please note that several of the photos on slides 16-19 are not from the Holodomor but from the 1921-22 Soviet famine. Also available as just the first 19 slide presentation.

~ Holodomor – Background Materials for Secondary Grades, by John Tidswell and Bohdan Klid, in cooperation with the Ukrainian Language Education Centre of the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies. (n.d.)

A text summary that complements the Power Point described above. The Historical Outline in itself is a helpful overview. The topics of Citizenship and Identity; Foreign Policy; Globalization; and Liberalism; all offer a means for contextualizing the Holodomor. The topics Document Analysis and Controversy provide suggestions for critical thinking applications.


~ “Genocide Revealed: Educational Release DVD” directed by Yurij Luhovy [2013].
26 min. and 52 min. editions on a single DVD.

First English language documentary film on the 1932-1933 Famine Genocide in Soviet Ukraine made specifically for educators to use at the high school or college level. Either length can be incorporated into genocide and human rights studies, 20th century European history, political science, and other areas of instruction. Especially effective when paired with one of the teaching guides listed here. Based on the multi-award winning feature length documentary released in 2011, the film incorporates survivor and eyewitness accounts, academic commentary and the latest archival evidence.

To purchase: http://www.yluhovy.com/MML/Welcome.html

7 min. clip and review by historian and educator Cheryl Madden of the full-length film: http://www.yluhovy.com/MML/genocide_revealed.html

~ Holodomor: Voices of Survivors. By Ariadna Ochrymovych, Markian Radomskyj. Black Sea Media. 2015.

Effectively interweaves an overall narrative with brief excerpts from the recollections of 25 Ukrainian Canadian survivors along with authentic photographs and haunting illustrations. At 30 min., a very good introduction to this subject. To purchase: email: blackseamedia3@gmail.com ; Short version.

~ In Memory of Konstantyn Bokan (English version). in cooperation with the Ucrainica Research Institute. 2013. 9:25 min. Grades 6+.

In this brief YouTube video, the author constructs a vignette based on an extremely rare discovery of family photos taken by an amateur photographer during the Holodomor. The result is a glimpse into the life of a real family during the Holodomor through the eyes of one of the teenaged sons. Supplemented by many other photographs of the period, it provides a composite of the experiences related by hundreds of survivors.