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baby pisetskaya

To be able to buy medicines and more food for me, my parents took their silverware to the Torgsin store [15]. My father had to give his barbershop to the state. He couldn't keep it because of the high taxes.
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Eva Ryzhevskaya

In 1932 there was dreadful starvation in Ukraine [see Famine in Ukraine] [15]. Maybe it was not so noticeable in the towns, but in villages people suffered a lot. There were villages in Dnepropetrovsk oblast where almost the entire population died of hunger. Not very many people died of hunger in our village, but still there was great suffering. We had some potatoes and mother cooked a pottage from it, and she made fritters from potato peelings. We went to pick nettle and sorrel. Good thing, my parents had their wedding rings. Mother took them to Dnepropetrovsk, to a Torgsin store [16]. ?here were some stores, where it was possible to buy food products for currency and gold. Mother was able to buy two sacks of millet for two golden rings. Once a day my mother cooked millet porridge and added nettle to it. So, we were able to survive those hard times.
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Amalia Laufer

In 1947 there was a famine. I could only afford to buy some food for my mother whereas I was starving.
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bella zeldovich

1933 was the period of a terrible famine in Ukraine [16]. My family didn't starve. The husband of my father's sister Manya worked at the windmill in Peresyp. He received flour for his work and shared it with us. We baked bread and ate it.
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Anna Ivankovitser

In 1932 and 1933 there was a serious famine in Ukraine [6]. My mother's golden jewelry, her wedding gift from her father Iosif saved us from starving to death. We could go to Torgsin stores [7] where one could buy food for currency or gold. Mama left all her jewelry in the Torgsin in exchange for cereals, flour or butter. Mama baked our bread herself. The famine was not so visible in the bigger towns, but many people suffered from hunger in the country.
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arkadiy redko

A famine plagued Ukraine in 1932 [8]. It was easier to survive in towns, but in villages people died in thousands. It was a tragedy for our family. We were starving. We didn't have our own vegetable garden and had to buy all food products. My father hardly ever managed to get work. My older sisters moved to Kiev. My brother went to study in a rabfak [9] in Kharkov [430 km from Kiev]. Only Asia and I stayed with our parents. Our situation was very hard. My sisters sent us a message saying that it was possible to find a job in Kiev and thus my parents decided to move to Kiev. We left Ilintsy in December 1932. I studied in the 3rd grade at the time.
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Alfred Liberman

Our students were starving there just like everyone else. So I gave the sack to those at the farm who were still alive. I remember a street in this village – there was nobody outside and all the windows and doors of houses were closed.
When I arrived at the farm I, too, had to work there for two or three weeks. We stayed in the school and slept on the floor, I think on mats. Then every year we were sent to collective farms to do different kinds of work.
Physically I was rather weak; I never even did any physical exercise. I had no time for it. But I remember we would be sent to work at a collective farm for three weeks or a month. And I had to do the most difficult physical work: I had to stand on top of a threshing machine and put sheaves into the threshing machine to be threshed. It was a very hard work. I still remember how dust got into my eyes and I had to lift up those heavy sheaves and put them down and repeat this action an endless number of times… I asked my chief to transfer me to an easier work in the village. He allowed me to put sheaves on carts. The sheaves lay around everywhere. I had to pitchfork them and put on the carts. When the cart got full, it went to take the sheaves to the threshing machine, and I had time to rest. I worked this way for three weeks. We were fed three times a day. I don’t remember exactly what we ate, but I remember we had bread. For lunch we had a very liquid soup, porridge and bread. We also had about a one-hour-long break. In the afternoon and evening we worked again and when it got dark we returned to the school we stayed at. Practically nobody else worked in the village, because many people had starved to death and many moved to cities to find jobs there. Dead bodies lay around at the Brovary train station. These people had died of starvation. We were usually sent to agricultural works in autumn, in September, because a lot of seeds were sown, but very few people were left to gather the harvest – those who were strong enough moved to the city, while those who remained were too weak to work.
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In autumn 1932 an unheard-of famine began in Ukraine. [This famine took a toll of 5-6 million lives. All the harvest was confiscated from peasants, and the Ukrainian rural residents started dying out. Peasants stole into cities for bread, bypassing military guards.] In the streets of Kiev I saw weak, skeletal people who stood in long lines for bread. Every morning street cleaners would take away dead bodies.
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It is terrible to think of the years 1932-1933. There was famine all over Ukraine. People ate horse-flesh. I remember when I returned home from the farm, my father told me, “Horse’s flesh is very red.” Every time I see horses now I think of their flesh. Well, my father had a job, and it was easier to get foods in the city, so we ourselves did not really starve.
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When Ukraine suffered famine and they began arresting the national Ukrainian intelligentsia, Skrypnik, as one of the honest people of the old generation of party members, committed suicide.
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Abram Bashmet

In 1933 there was famine [10], I remember it well: we were miserably poor then. I remember that my mother and father had golden rings and they took them to the Torgsin store [11] to buy bread or something else. My father even had to take our pillows to sell them at the market. My father went to work at the garment factory. We didn’t have coal or wood to heat the apartment. I fell ill with measles. It created complications with my eyes: I had a squint, poor sight and long sight. I even couldn’t go to school at the age of seven: my parents decided I needed to get better.
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Anatoliy Shor

This beautiful new life ended in autumn 1932 when famine [5] started in Ukraine. I remember swollen dying people. Dead bodies were loaded onto wagons in the morning and taken to the cemetery where they were buried in common graves. They were mainly Ukrainians who came to the town from their villages hoping to get some food. The Ukrainians from the village where my father often went to work supported our family. They brought us whatever little they could share. We also tried to help the needy with whatever we could give them. We ate mamaliga  , soup with nettle and herbs. Mama always shared whatever food we had with villagers – she never refused anyone.
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Boris Girshov

In Usvyaty there was a Jewish community, all Jews knew each other, everybody knew the way of neighbors’ living and the way they observed Tradition. From my point of view our family was well-to-do. In 1933 and 1934 we did not starve, while many people in other parts of Russia did. At that period father worked at grain warehouses. We were not hungry; Daddy was one of the synagogue donors (I saw him making a donation to it). During holidays Jews also visited houses to collect donations for the synagogue (to engage a cantor or to pay synagogue maintenance costs), and father always gave money. He was among those people who supported the Jewish community of Usvyaty.

Father was in touch not only with Jews, and mother communicated mainly with Jewesses. In Usvyaty people lived alternately, but the Jews lived close to each other. All Jews were handicraftsmen. The Russians did not have such masters; they all went to Jews for repair. At school I had both Russian and Jewish friends, but my best friends were among my relatives.
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