How they were surviving

By the end of the winter of 1932, when the government blocked Ukrainians in the settlements covered by hunger, the peasants were getting food by exchanging household things in the regions of Russia and Belarus, where the situation was better.


Departures to the city were a chance to escape, finding a job, where the bread, even in small amounts, was issued by cards. With the hope on salvation mothers often left their children in the cities. Ukraine was embraced by mass homelessness. Only in May 1933 in Kharkiv 12 thousand homeless children were taken from the streets.


The implementation of the passport system on the 31st of December, 1932 prevented the peasants from entering the city, since, according to the law, the peasants did not receive passports. And the person without the passport did not have the right to move to other localities. 

The lines to get bread in the Torsin shop. Photo from the collection of the Cardinal Theodor Innitzer (The Archive of the Viennese diocese). Taken by an engineer Alexandr Vinninberg. Photodocuments are given by the professor V. Marochko (Institute of Hist

Those peasants who had precious things handed them to the shops "Torgsins", which means "trade with foreigners" from Russian. Initially, "Torgsins" were designed for foreign workers who were in the USSR. During the Holodomor, the network of "Torgsins" grew rapidly: in August 1933 there was 256 of them. This was due to the intent of the authorities to remove the maximum of jewellery, domestic gold, family relics, etc. In conditions of total hunger for Ukrainians, every value lost its meaning. On average, one reception desk hosted 400-450 people a day. In 1932, the Soviet government withdrew 21 tons of gold scrap from Ukrainian peasants, while in 1933 it was 44.9 tons. Meanwhile 1 kg of bread cost 25 cents of gold.