|Discovering Your Ukrainian Roots
UNDER THE AUSPICES OF UN VETERANS ORGANIZATION
|Interview #2 : The Great Famine of 1932-33
Yes, took away everything to the last crumb. They went around with ferrous flails and
checked every shred of earth, went to every house and kicked all the pots, looked in
all the nooks and crannies.
Q: Is it true, that in villages there were cases of cannibalism ?
Yes, and not only in 1932-33. Even in 1947, when we with my mother lived in Vinnitsa,
she saw at the market meat for sale with human nails.
Q: How was the life of your mother rescued?
Once late at night, she walked to a village trying to find something to eat. Suddenly at
the river, mother saw two men who were grilling something on the hearth. At that time,
many people had gone mad from hunger, so nobody wanted to share what little food
they had. Consequently, my mother hid behind a tree and expected the men to go.
Waiting until they left, she walked up to the place where the hearth was and she saw
a frog skin. It was the unexpected opportunity for her. She picked up the frogs and
put them in her apron. Upon coming home, she cooked these frogs in a cauldron, the
family had dinner, and more was still left for the next day.
In the evening, when all the village was sleeping, my mother again went on the river to
get frogs. She put the frogs into a sack and carefully went home, so that nobody
noticed her. But literally within a few days, people already knew that it was possible to
eat frogs, so all the people went to the river. Not one frog remained. Therefore, with a
toy sack full of the French delicacies, they survived the winter and she rescued her
family from starvation.
After WW2, my mother said: ”It is better to live through another war than another
famine.” This frightful event took place because of the cruel mode of Stalin’s power.
Our second interview was conducted by
Anastasia Poklyatska with her grandfather,
Oleksiy Demyanovich Poklyatskiy, who
remembers what was told to him by his mother,
Maria Illarionivna Koval, about the Great Famine
Q: One of the most frightful crimes of
Stalinization against the Ukrainian people was
the organized hunger of 1932-33. Did your
mother tell you something about these events?
Yes, there was frightful poverty. Villages became
empty. People who were generous and benevolent
before became timid and distrustful.
Q: In newspaper and magazines, we can read
that workers of the Communist party took away
all the food. Is it really the true?