Eyewitness accounts

Holodomor Eyewitness Accounts, Survivor Testimony, and Analysis

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”  (George Santayana, The Life of Reason, 1905.)

In addition to brief quotations, you will  find descriptions and links to memoirs and interviews; documentaries based on survivor testimony; and compilations of oral history by Holodomor survivors, descendents of survivors, and eyewitnesses. Much is available online; some in print, audio, or video formats.  Also, a few significant studies analyzing survivor memory and the impact of Holodomor survivor trauma through the generations are listed.

You will  find additional materials here: PRIMARY SOURCES RELATED TO THE HOLODOMOR and HOLODOMOR DENIAL, PROPAGANDA, ROLE OF THE MEDIA.  Furthermore, most published historical research on the Holodomor includes quotations from eyewitnesses and those trying to survive that torment of persecution and famine.

This listing is arranged as follows, with clusters of quotations in between each section:

A. Full-length Memoirs and Diary Accounts
1. By Survivors
2. By Witnesses
B. Films and short videos with a large amount of Holodomor survivor testimony
C. Survivor Accounts in Collections
1. Audio and/or Video Accounts
2. Print Collections, most available online
D. Survivor Research

At that time I lived in the village of Yaressky of the Poltava region. More than a half of the village population perished as a result of the famine. It was terrifying to walk through the village: swollen people moaning and dying. The bodies of the dead were buried together, because there was no one to dig the graves.

There were no dogs and no cats. People died at work; it was of no concern whether your body was swollen, whether you could work, whether you have eaten, whether you could – you had to go and work. Otherwise – you are the enemy of the people.

Many people never lived to see the crops of 1933 and those crops were considerable. A more severe famine, other sufferings were awaiting ahead. Rye was starting to become ripe. Those who were still able made their way to the fields. This road, however, was covered with dead bodies, some could not reach the fields, some ate grain and died right away. The patrol was hunting them down, collecting everything, trampled down the collected spikelets, beat the people, came into their homes, seized everything. What they could not take – they burned.”
(From the memories of Galina Gubenko, Poltava region)

Abandoned farmhouse in Ukraine, whose inhabitants had died of starvation in 1933. Alexander Wienerberger, 1933. From: http://vitacollections.ca/HREC-holodomorphotodirectory/3636253/data

I’m asking for your permission to advance me any amount of grain. I’m completely sick. I don’t have any food. I’ve started to swell up and I can hardly move my feet. Please don’t refuse me or it will be too late.”
(From a petition to the authorities by P. Lube)

A. Full-length Memoirs and Diary Accounts

   1. By Survivors

~ Execution by Hunger: The Hidden Holocaust, by Miron Dolot. New York: W.W. Norton, 1985.
The author, a teen-ager at the time, presents a harrowing account of his recollections of the  Holodomor as it was implemented and experienced in his village.  PreviewInternet Online .  Online (not secure).

~ Two Regimes; a Mother’s Memoir of Wartime Survival, by Teodora Verbitskya, with paintings by her daughter, Nadia Werbitzky; edited by Mimi Shaw and Kelly Bowen. Bloomington: iUniverse, 2011.
Two Regimes  “tells a true and powerful story of survival under the two regimes of Stalin and Hitler: before, during and after the Holodomor of 1932-33, the Holocaust of 1933-1945 and  WWII.  Teodora’s Christian family witnessed first-hand, the  atrocities of two brutal dictators during their reigns of terror that starved entire populations and  forced 7,500 Jews from Mariupol, Soviet Ukraine to their murderous deaths- at the hands of the Nazis- in Soviet Ukraine, in 1941”  From the Two Regimes website.  See the website for curriculum materials and exhibits related to this memoir.

~The Holodomor and the Origins of the Soviet Man: Reading the Testimony of Anastasia Lysyvets, by Vitalii Ogiienko, et al.  Ibidem Verlag, 2022.  This slim book contains a stark  memoir  “Speak of a Happy Life”  written  in the 1970s by Anastasia Lysyvets, of her life as a 10 yr old child during the Holodomor. It was not intended for publication, but rather as an account for her children, who eventually published it in a Ukrainian journal in the 1990s.  The book also contains an extensive commentary on how the trauma of the Holodomor genocide expresses itself in later life, as a way to interpret the text. Preview 

~ Sliding on the Snow Stone by Andy Szpuk. That Right Publishing LLC. 2011.
Particularly chapter 1, p.5-17, which recounts his childhood years during the Famine. From GoodReads reviewer ‘Pam:’ “This book is a recounting of a man’s life in Ukraine during Stalin’s genocide and his subsequent journey from the Ukraine with his father, running from both the Nazis and the Russian army, his life in between and the return to his childhood home when he was much older.”

~ “Witness:  Memoirs of the Famine of 1933 in Ukraine,” by Pavlo Makohon. Translated by Vera Moroz;  originally published in Anabasis, Toronto. 1983.
Engrossing memoir of the author as a 14 year old boy during 1933 and his efforts to survive.  Short story length.

Thursday, 26 February 1931  (From the diary of a teacher, Oleksandra Radchenko)

Oleksandra Radchenko (left) with daughter and husband. from: https://www.istpravda.com.ua/articles/2013/11/22/139903/

“We Ukrainians are living through an exceptional moment in history. When you read Leo Tolstoy, you always understand his outrage over the vile acts committed by the government in that disgusting time. But now those horrors appear miserly in comparison with what is going on at the present time. There is no justice. Sticks and whips. Besides sticks and whips, there is much more. They say that during interrogations at the militia station, the accused are beaten. They are forced to place their fingers between the door and the frame, and they are squeezed until the person suffering, enduring inhuman torture, either confesses or reveals his accomplices.
Why are hundreds of thousands of completely innocent people suffering? Children are suffering because their parents were capable, energetic workers. This is how ‘dekulakization’ is taking place….”

“We can receive nothing from abroad. My sister tried several times to send a parcel. But parcels either were not admitted or were returned. ‘We do not have any hungry people’ was written on one of the parcels. What impudence! Headscarves and shoes were stolen from a parcel in Moscow, and the parcel was returned….”

Thursday evening, 23 March 1933
“Upon entering Babka, we came up to a 7-year-old boy. My co-passenger yelled out, but the boy staggered on as if he had not heard; the horse overtook him; I shouted; the boy unwillingly turned from the road; I was drawn to look him in the face. And it was unbearably horrible. The expression on that face left an everlastingly indelible impression. Obviously, that expression in the eyes can be found in people when they know that they will soon die but do not want to die. But this was a child. My nerves could
not take it. ‘For what? For what, children?’
I cried quietly, so that my co-passenger would not see. The thought that I could do nothing; that millions of children were perishing from starvation; that this was elemental, reduced me to total despair….”
(From the diary of the teacher Oleksandra Radchenko as excerpted in The Holodomor Reader  from  Rozsekrechena pam’iat‘ (2007). Excerpts, pp. 542–43, 545–48. Translated by Bohdan Klid.)  

In 1945, Oleksandra Radchenko’s apartment was searched and the “secret police confiscated her diary.   Following  a six-month interrogation, she was charged with having written a ‘diary with counter-revolutionary contents.’ During her trial she told the judges that ‘the main aim of my writings was to devote them to my children. I wrote because after 20 years the children won’t believe what violent methods were used to build socialism. The Ukrainian people suffered horrors during 1930-33…’ Her appeal fell on deaf ears, and she was sent for a decade to the Gulag, returning to Ukraine only in 1955.” (Described by Anne Applebaum in Red Famine, 2017, p.329)

    2. By Witnesses

~ The Education of a True Believer, by Lev Kopelev. New York, Harper & Row, 1980 (Originally published in the US in Russian, 1978).
A recollection of his life.  For Lev, a committed Ukrainian communist activist, The discrepancies between that belief and what his own experience shows him culminate in a great chapter of lamentation: ‘The Last Grain Collections (1933).’ But here too, he maintains the perspective of that time: The Bolsheviks who ravage the villages are presented as colorful characters, self-sacrificing workers….But now, of course, we know where it all leads: to misery, starvation, death, the all but unbearable final scene of crying women.” (from publisher’s description.) Internet Archive online option

Assignment in Utopia, by Eugene Lyons. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company. 1937.
A journalist and avowed Socialist who was assigned in 1928 to cover Russia for the United Press wire services, Lyons became disillusioned as he saw his ideals shattered and he came to vehemently oppose Stalin’s brutal regime. Presents his reflections on censorship, propaganda, the brutality of dekulakization, anti-intellectualism, show trials, the famine and more – in contrast to the views of many intellectual elites in the US during that time.

How People Live in Soviet Russia : Impressions from a Journey, by  Mendl (Mendel) Osherowitch.  Translated  from Yiddish by Sharon Power; edited by Lubomyr Y. Luciuk.  Kingston, Ontario: Kashtan Press, 2020.
For two months in early 1932, Osherowitch visited the USSR  on assignment for the Yiddish daily published in New York City, Forverts.  Spending much time with members of his family still in Ukraine, he spoke both with pro-Soviet activists and resisters and observed the alarming conditions of repression, surveillance, and cultural assimilation in addition to the growing famine that would culminate in the Holodomor genocide.  His articles, published in Yiddish, were followed in 1933 by a more detailed book, also in Yiddish.  This is the first translation to appear in English.

Credit: Institute of History of Ukraine: Gareth Jones. Diary Notes relating to Soviet Ukraine Famine, p.169. These pages describe starving villagers begging for food outside a torgsin, an exclusive currency shop; also an article in the Soviet communist newspaper, Pravda, about the arrest and trial of members of a supposed subversive organization accused of causing failures in agricultural production.

Proletarian Journey: New England, Gastonia, Moscow, by Fred Erwin Beal.  New York: Hillman-Curl, 1937.
Beal was an idealistic and notorious unionizer who ran afoul of the law and “skipped” out to  what he expected would be the worker’s paradise, the Soviet Union, where he lived from 1930-1933.  With increasing shock and horror, he learned that it was not as promised.  His experiences, including in Kharkiv during the famine years, are described in the second half of this memoir.

“Tell Them We Are Starving”: the 1933 Diaries of Gareth Jones, by Gareth Jones and Lubomyr Y. Luciuk.  Kingston, Ont.: Kashtan Press. 2015.
“provides high quality facsimiles of the 3 pocket notebooks as well as a transcription of the contents that Welsh journalist Gareth Jones collected during a 3-week stay in the USSR during March 1933…”
See further details about this book, and several pages of diary entries, on the Gareth Jones website. 

~ “Black Famine in Ukraine 1932-33“, by Andrew Gregorovich, Forum; Ukrainian Review, No. 24, 1974.
This 1974 issue is included here because it offers a wide variety of excerpts from journalists, historians and witnesses demonstrating how much evidence already existed about Ukraine’s genocide that was all but ignored.  Some of the photographs are from the 1920s famine in Ukraine and Russia.

On a battlefield men die quickly, they fight back … Here I saw people dying in solitude by slow degrees, dying hideously, without the excuse of sacrifice for a cause. They had been trapped and left to starve, each in his own home, by a political decision made in a far-off capital around conference and banquet tables. There was not even the consolation of inevitability to relieve the horror.”
(As remembered by Victor Kravchenko, a Ukrainian defector who wrote of his experiences in the Soviet Union and as a Soviet official in his 1946 book  I Chose Freedom, which contains extensive revelations on collectivization, Soviet prison camps and the use of slave labor.  The publication came at a time of growing tension between the Warsaw Pact nations and the West. His death from bullet wounds in his apartment remains unclarified, though it was officially ruled a suicide. His son Andrew continues to believe he was the victim of a KGB execution.)

I saw the ravages of the famine of 1932-1933 in the Ukraine: hordes of families in rags begging at the railway stations, the women lifting up to the compartment window their starving brats, which, with drumstick limbs, big cadaverous heads and puffed bellies, looked like embryos out of alcohol bottles …”
(As remembered by Arthur Koestler, a famous British novelist, journalist, and critic. Koestler spent about three months in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv during the Famine. He wrote about his experiences in The God That Failed, a 1949 book which collects together six essays with the testimonies of a number of famous ex-Communists, who were writers and journalists.)

B. Films and short videos with a large amount of Holodomor survivor testimony

~ The Living (Ukr: “Zhyvi”), directed by Serhiy Bukovsky (additional credits: Victoria Bodnar and Mark Edwards), Ukraine, 2008. In Ukrainian with subtitles.  full length documentary.
Skillfully weaves a dramatic real life narrative of the young Welsh journalist, Gareth Jones – who tried to alert the world in 1933 to the devastating famine he witnesses in Ukraine, with the recollections of several elderly Holodomor survivors. The faith and resilience of the “living” poignantly counterbalance the harrowing legacy of their past experience. An outstanding, award-winning documentary. Bukovsky previously directed Spell Your Name, about the Holocaust in Ukraine.

~ 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 haunting illustrations and authentic Holodomor photographs (with a few 1920s photos, as acknowledged in the credits) . At 30 min., a very good introduction to this subject. To purchase: email: blackseamedia3@gmail.com ;  View free:  Preview version (3 min.); Short version (9 min.)

~ Genocide Revealed, directed by Yurij Luhovy (additional credits: Zorianna Hrycenko, Adriana Luhovy, Istan Rozumny, Graham Greene, Jill Hennessy, and Lubomir Mykytiuk). 75 min. Quebec, MML Inc. 2011. Trailer and Review by historian and educator Cheryl Madden.
Engrossing feature length English language documentary on the 1932-1933 Famine Genocide in Soviet Ukraine. Utilizes the latest archival evidence, academic commentary and eyewitness accounts to affirm the Holodomor as genocide. Winner of 12 US and international awards. Also available in French and Ukrainian. Purchase DVD . Other viewing options. Also available: Genocide Revealed: Educational Release DVD, [2013]. 26 min. and 52 min. editions on a single DVD.

~ Ukrainer series on the Holodomor.  Created in cooperation with the Ukrainian Holodomor Museum, with the support of the Ukrainian Cultural Fund.
Articles with embedded videos varying in length from 10-20 min. The accompanying text offers a version of the film content and is interspersed with authentic photos. The following videos from the series are based on survivor interviews.  For other videos in the series see:  https://holodomorct.org/holodomor-information-links/full-length-film-video-theater-audio-holodomor/

~~ “She survived the Holodomor and saved a boy“,  Sep 19, 2020.  14 min.
Survivor Mariia Hurbich’s account.

~~“They endured on potato peels from Belarus”,  Sep 26, 2020.  21 min.
Survivor Fedir Zadiereiev’s account.

~~ “Never take what is not yours“,  Oct 4. 2020.  14 min.
Survivor Marfa Kovalenko’s account.  “Thanks to the mutual support in the village, Marfa’s family managed to survive.”

~~ “They even took pillows away“,   Oct 10, 2020.  18 min
Survivor Nadiia Korolova’s account.

~~ “An entire hamlet saved during the Holodomor“, Oct 24, 2020.  16 min.
“The head of the local collective farm (“kolhosp”) became a criminal to the Soviet government and secretly gave food to the villagers — the same food that was taken from them and left to rot before,” as explained by survivor Tetiana Krotova.

We had an elderly teacher by the name of Bahno, Maria Petrovna, who had also taught my father. She came and said to me, “Nastinka, come to school. In the cafeteria they serve a bowl of soy soup.” I began going to school. We kids were not like the ones today – happy and noisy. Back then, the kids were swollen, others were gaunt and depleted, and they waited impatiently for recess, during which there was lunch in the cafeteria. The teacher, Maria Petrovna, held dearly her miserable and hungry students, and did whatever she could so that her students would not die of hunger. She would stand by the door as we exited the cafeteria, called us by name, and asked if he/she had eaten well enough. Whoever said that he/she had not had enough to eat, the teacher would turn that student back and tell the cook to serve him/her a second helping. Thanks to this teacher and this cook and this bowl of lean soy soup, I survived and the rest of my life I recall [this] with tears in my eyes. During summer vacation we students would go to work by collecting boll weevils off of beets. For a day’s work we would earn a tablespoon of molasses, and then pick green, unripe apricots and spread the molasses on the apricots and eat [the fruit], and this is how we fed ourselves during childhood.”  From a letter by Nastia Trenbach, (translation; part of HREC’s Maniak Collection of solicited memoirs of survivors in Ukraine during the 1980s.

Ukrainian-American artist’s self-portrait, inspired by the Ukrainian man-made famine/genocide of 1932-33. Mixed media painting.

C. Survivor Accounts in Collections:

Among the richest sources of oral history, are those that included interviews from the immediate post-WW2 years into the1980s.  These included the testimony of survivors who were already adults during the years of Holodomor, and thus could describe a wider range of experiences and observations  – as a parent, as a member of the worker or professional classes, as a participant in social and political groups.  Of particular note from among the listing below are the testimonies that appear in The Black Deeds of the Kremlin (1953), The Ninth Circle, the Maniak Collection and Oseredok Project, as well as the several volumes resulting from the U.S. Commission on the Ukraine Famine investigations, published 1988-1990, and now available online. The Harvard Project is unique in that this immediately post WWII survey did not ask about the famine or dekulakization, yet many respondents talked about it.  A wide sampling from newspapers in the early 1930s, books, and later works is also available online in the Holodomor Reader.

1. Audio and/or Video Accounts:

~ Clips from the Mace Collection. a joint project of the Holodomor Research and Education Consortium and the Ukrainian Canadian Research and Documentation Centre. 2014.  26 min.
Audio excerpts from the original taped testimony presented during the U.S. Commission on the Ukraine Famine investigations in 1986.  With English subtitles.

~ Share the Story
80 brief oral histories (most are less than 5 minutes) by survivors of the Holodomor currently residing in Canada.  A project to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Holodomor. 2013.

Holodomor Survivors Tell Their Stories
Canadian oral history project, presenting more than 50 videotaped personal accounts. Video accounts in Ukrainian; written English transcriptions. 2008-9.

~ Children of Holodomor Survivors Speak This oral history project “consists of interviews with children of the survivors of the Ukrainian Holodomor and is the first … to address its impact on the lives of the second generation of survivors in the diaspora.” A project of the  Ukrainian Canadian Research and Documentation Centre, Toronto, initiated by project coordinator Iroida Wynnyckyj, with interviews  conducted and analyzed by Sophia Isajiw.  2015. (See also the Project’s “First Analysis...” listed in pt. 3 below)

Ukrainian Famine Survivors in Minnesota Oral History Project.
Eleven (to date) interviews with Holodomor survivors and descendents of survivors,  most ranging between 1/2 -1 hour. in length; (one in Ukrainian only, with no subtitles.) In cooperation with the University of Minnesota Libraries’ Immigration History Research Center Archives (IHRCA). 2019.

From 1931 to 1934 we had great harvests. The weather conditions were great. However, all the grain was taken from us. People searched the fields for mice burrows hoping to find measly amounts of grain stored by mice…”
(As remembered by Mykola Karlosh)

Of our neighbors I remember all the Solveiki family died, all of the Kapshuks, all the Rahachenkos too – and the Yeremo family – three of them, still alive, were thrown into the mass grave…”
(As remembered by Ekaterina Marchenko)

Where did all bread disappear, I do not really know, maybe they have taken it all abroad. The authorities have confiscated it, removed from the villages, loaded grain into the railway coaches and took it away someplace. They have searched the houses, taken away everything to the smallest thing. All the vegetable gardens, all the cellars were raked out and everything was taken away.

Wealthy peasants were exiled into Siberia even before Holodomor during the “collectivization”. Communists came, collected everything. Children were crying beaten for that with the boots. It is terrifying to recall what happened. It was so dreadful that every day became engraved in my memory. People were lying everywhere as dead flies. The stench was awful. Many of our neighbors and acquaintances from our street died.

I have no idea how I managed to survive and stay alive. In 1933 we tried to survive the best we could. We collected grass, goose-foot, burdocks, rotten potatoes and made pancakes, soups from putrid beans or nettles.

People were drinking a lot of water to fill stomachs, that is why the bellies and legs were swollen, the skin was swelling from the water as well. At that time the punishment for a stolen handful of grain was 5 years of prison. One was not allowed to go into the fields, the sparrows were pecking grain, though people were not allowed.”  (From the memories of Olexandra Rafalska, Zhytomir)

2.  Print Collections, most available Online

~ U.S. Commission on the Ukraine Famine. Investigation of the Ukrainian Famine, 1932-1933; Report to Congress. Final Report, Appendix I” Washington: U.S. GPO. 1988.
The appendix is titled “Translations of Selected Oral Histories,” 160 pages of survivor testimony in English. They appear in the original Ukrainian in the Commission’s Oral History Project

~ The First Interim Report  and the Second Interim Report (print only) also include the translated testimony of scores of famine survivors.

~ Oral History Project of the Commission on the Ukraine Famine by James E Mace and Leonid Heretz.
Washington: U.S. G.P.O, 1990.
3 volumes consisting of hundreds of eyewitness and survivor testimonies. In Ukrainian with brief English summaries.

~ The Black Deeds of the Kremlin: A White Book by Semen Pidhainy. Toronto: Ukrainian Association of Victims of Russian Communist Terror, 1953. v. 1: Book of Testimonies.
With the tragedy and privations of WWII just behind them, the recollections of these survivors and eyewitnesses are especially meaningful with regard to the unique horrors of the famine they experienced less than 20 years earlier.

~ The Ninth Circle: In Commemoration of the Victims of the Famine of 1933, by  Olexa Woropay ( or Oleksa Voropai); with a brief forward by James E. Mace. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard Univ., Ukrainian Studies Fund, 1983.
Includes the personal recollections of the author, as well as the brief recollections of eyewitnesses, all gathered between 1934-1948.

~ Witness Accounts.
Page on the website of the Holodomor Research and Education Consortium (HREC) providing links to a  variety of oral history collections in audio, video, and written format.  Of particular interest:

~~ “Oseredok Project“.   A sampling of memoirs, some translated from Ukrainian, from the late 1940s,“written relatively soon after the Holodomor and reflect the experiences of Ukrainian intellectuals, teachers, and other professionals.”

~~ “Maniak Collection“. Searchable collection of selected accounts from among thousands gathered by journalist Volodymyr Maiak in late 1980s Ukraine, many translated into English.

~ A Candle in Remembrance: An Oral History of the Ukrainian Genocide of 1932- 1933, by V.K. Borysenko.  New York: Ukrainian National Women’s League of America, 2010.
A collection of brief testimonies resulting from recent research conducted in Ukraine. Includes an informative, well-documented introduction as well as historical and contemporary photographs.

~ Ukrainian Famine Memoirs  32 brief written testimonies translated from the Ukrainian; [Originally published in Holod 33: Narodna knyha-memorial (Famine 33: National Memorial Book; Kyiv:1991]. Transcribed under the auspices of the Montreal Institute For Genocide and Human Rights Studies, Concordia University (Canada).

The Holodomor Reader; a Sourcebook on the Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine, compiled and edited by Bohdan Klid and Alexander J. Motyl. Toronto: CIUS Press. 2012.
Particularly, Chapter 5: Eyewitness Accounts and Memoirs.
71 pages of excerpted accounts that appeared in newspapers across the world – some translated into English by the editors, and from memoirs published at the time and later.  Also, Chapter 6: Survivor Testimonies, Memoirs, Diaries, and Letters.

~ The Harvard Project on the Soviet Social System Online A searchable database of summary transcripts of 705 interviews conducted with refugees from the USSR during the early years of the Cold War. A quick search using the terms “famine 1933” yielded more than 100 transcripts by Ukrainians who mention or describe their experiences during the famine.  The Project survey did not ask any specific questions about experiences during the 1930s; however, many of the refugees made references to dekulakization, discrimination, and famine conditions in the course of their interviews.

~ We’ll meet again in heaven: Germans in the Soviet Union write their Dakota relatives 1925-1937, by Ron Vossler and Joshua J. Vossler. Fargo, N.D.: Germans from Russia Heritage Collection, North Dakota State University Libraries. 2001.  For description and to order:  https://library.ndsu.edu/grhc/order/nd_sd/vossler2.html
Letters written by German colonists who originally settled in southern Ukraine and Moldova in the 19th c. describe a life becoming increasingly “desperate.”  The publisher’s description concludes “…one senses imminent death, hunger, and fear… But readers will hear…the integrity of spirit of a people trying to survive in a world few of us can even imagine.”


During this meeting Kaganovich, the representative of the “party and the government,” declared with authority that if, in order to carry out the tasks of the party and the government, it became necessary to step over the corpses of the kulaks, who are mounting resistance, then local party workers should do this. And they did (although some of them went mad from the horror and committed suicide).”

“Trains packed to the rafters with starving people headed for the big cities and industrial centers, where the food balance was maintained by the policy of “facing toward the city.” … Despite the GPU barrier detachments, however, many people succeeded in reaching the capital and labour centers, where they gave away their last items of clothing, footwear, and valuables for kilograms of bread. On the way back they encountered GPU men, who confiscated this last scrap of bread. In despair, people threw themselves under trains, hanged themselves, drowned themselves, or died slowly at remote substations, with no energy left to make it home.”

“Still living skeletons throng next to Torgsins in order to trade a last silver or gold cross for a handful of groats… Unfortunates writhe in the agony of starvation before death… Corpses lie about and stink… And over this entire horror the radio broadcasts concerts, foxtrots, songs, and speeches about the achievement and overfulfilment of the plan… Death by starvation to the accompaniment of music along with figures on the achievements of the first Five-Year Plan “in four years”!!! (Excerpted from memoirs of an engineer, Mr. Alokhin, in: “Fragments from K. Petrus’s Correspondence ‘Soviet Arrestees’ , 1944– 1947”; HREC’s translation of the Oseredok Project memoirs.)

D.  Survivor Research

~The Holodomor and the Origins of the Soviet Man: Reading the Testimony of Anastasia Lysyvets, by Vitalii Ogiienko, et al.  Ibidem Verlag, 2022.  This slim book contains a stark  memoir  “Speak of a Happy Life”  written  in the 1970s by Anastasia Lysyvets, of her life as a 10 yr old child during the Holodomor. It was not intended for publication, but rather as an account for her children, who eventually published it in a Ukrainian journal in the 1990s.  The book also contains an extensive commentary by Dr. Ogiienko on how the trauma of the Holodomor genocide expresses itself in later life, as a way to interpret the text. Preview 

~ “First Analysis of the Children of Holodomor Survivors Speak oral history project” – in English.pdf by Sophia Isajiw, Interviewer and Analyst. 2016.
Fascinating compilation of observations based on the results of a survey of 21 respondents, “the first such project to address the impact of the Holodomor on the lives of the second generation of survivors in the diaspora.”

‘Remember the peasantry’: A study of genocide, famine, and the Stalinist Holodomor in Soviet Ukraine, 1932-33, as it was remembered by post-war immigrants in Western Australia who experienced it, by Lesa Melnyczuk Morgan. ResearchOnline@ND, 2010. PhD thesis. University of Notre Dame, Fremantle, Australia.
Unlike most other accounts, excerpts of survivor memories create the narrative that makes up the main body of this thesis as it describes the early stages, execution, following events and societal effects of the Holodomor.  Also includes an excellent overview of available research and resources in English.

~ Complex Social Memory: Revolving Social Roles in Holodomor Survivor Testimony, 1986-1988 by Johnathon Vsetecka.
Award winning paper presented at the Phi Alpha Theta Regional Conference, April 12, 2014, University of Wyoming, Laramie.  Abstract.

~ Politics of perseverance : Ukrainian memories of “them” and the “other” in Holodomor survivor testimony, 1986-1988, by Johnathon Vsetecka. M.A. thesis, 2014.  Univ. of Northern Colorado, Greeley, Colorado.