The Ukrainian Genocide/Famine

By: Jaron, Brad, Jon

The Great Famine

The Ukrainian Genocide took place in the early 1930’s and was premeditated by the Soviet Union. The Ukrainian Genocide was effectively a mass famine that was put into place by Joseph Stalin to destroy any source of nationalism within the country. Stalin was said to have done this act to prevent any potential uprising from Ukrainian nationalists. The famine was so severe that more than twenty-five thousand citizens would die each day, and an additional several thousand were arrested and murdered for being, “too intellectual.” This genocide was such a violent act as it denied all citizens of an already conquered colony their essential needs for life.

Testimony of an eyewitness

An eyewitness account of the Ukraine Famine truly puts into perspective the brutality of the event. Hannah Doroshenko suffered through the famine and provided a short excerpt as a petition to authorities. Hannah describes having seen hundreds of families in rags begging for food at train stations and any public square capable of supplying even the slightest of food. The children were said to resemble, “embryos of alcohol,” with puffy, infected stomachs and drumstick limbs. Hannah supplies information of the hideous deaths that occurred on a daily basis in Ukraine during this time.

What did the United States do?

When news about the famine reached out to the Ukrainian immigrants of the United States and Europe, people reacted fast and sent out food supplies. The Soviet Union’s policies were arrogant and repulsed to the idea of needing help. They denied that there was a famine and would reject food and supplies that were sent their way. Although there were attempts in helping the people, this help was more from the people rather than from the Government. Instead, that year the United States chose to formally recognized Stalin's Communist government and also negotiated a sweeping new trade agreement. Most Governments had a passive attitude towards the situation, but they were all aware of the true suffering going on.


There were many people who fled to the United States as a result of the Ukrainian Genocide/Famine. Although there are no exact numbers on how many fled, a large group certainly came to the U.S. Many survivors fled to East Village, the Ukrainian community in New York. This is where the majority of survivors in the U.S. seemed to have fled to. One such survivor, Daria Schulha Kira, has lived in the East Village area of New York for over 75 years after fleeing the famine.

Was this Preventable?

There are many things that weren’t preventable that led to the Great Famine, such as natural causes like a drought or very bad weather. Three main reasons that were preventable include not enough farming, an extensive amount of exports, and the reign of Joseph Stalin. This means the Ukrainians were not creating enough food, and the food they were making was all being shipped out of the country. Also, Joseph Stalin did not help the people in this dire time- he simply resorted to eliminating his enemies.