A philatelic exhibition opened in the Holodomor Museum

15 September 2023

The opening of the philatelic exhibition “Stamps of the Ukrainian SSR: belated aid to the starving” took place in the Holodomor Museum. It is dedicated to the centenary of the end of the first mass man-made famine of 1921–1923.

Opening the exhibition, its curator, leading researcher of the Holodomor Museum, Andrii Ivanets, briefly recalled the historical context of those tragic events:

“The famine that occurred in Ukraine a hundred years ago remains in a certain way overshadowed by the events of the Holodomor of 1932-1933. However, at the time, when it happened, the famine was unprecedented for Ukraine. Then we lost, according to the Institute of Demography and Social Research, 936,000 people. Historians qualify it as the first mass man-made famine because its causes were not only drought or the devastating consequences of seven-year wars and revolutions but also the policy of Soviet Russia, which it pursued in the occupied territory of the Ukrainian People’s Republic. The communist regime’s silencing of the famine in Ukraine in 1921, its de facto delay in the start of work of foreign humanitarian organizations in the Ukrainian SSR until the spring of 1922, and the export of Ukrainian food to Russia and abroad led to a significant increase in the number of victims among Ukrainians.”

In order to help starving Ukraine in 1922, the authorities of the Ukrainian SSR issued charitable postage stamps, part of the cost of which was supposed to go to charitable needs. However, due to the opposition of the communist representatives of the RSFSR, the first and only series of postage stamps of the Ukrainian SSR, “Aid to the Starving,” appeared on sale late – only on June 25, 1923. Whereas postal charity stamps to help the starving people of the Volga region began to be issued much earlier – back in 1921.

Andrii Ivanets explained why we should look at the events of the 20s of the last century through the prism of philately and stamps. “After all, an ordinary postage stamp can tell a lot about the historical period in which it was issued. Therefore, when preparing the exhibition, we did not focus on narrow philatelic approaches, but sought to look at the stamp and other philatelic materials as a source of historical information about the unprecedented famine for Ukraine at that time.”

As part of the event, a special envelope was cancelled, which was issued in cooperation with the “Cossack Post” project and its head, Andriy Pyliukh.. Acting general director of the Holodomor Museum, Lesia Hasydzhak, Andriy Pyliukh, Andrii Ivanets, and Valeriy Cherednychenko, a collector and author of books on philately participated in the special cancellation.

You can buy this envelope in our museum shop.

The exhibition “Stamps of the Ukrainian SSR: belated aid to the starving” will last until the end of September.

On Sunday, September 24, at 3:00 p.m., a curatorial tour of the philatelic exhibition by Andrii Ivanets will take place. You can register here.