The book “Mechanisms of Creation of the Holodomor: Grain Procurement Campaigns of 1931–1933 in the Dnipropetrovsk Region” was presented

16 November 2023

A presentation of the scientific publication “Mechanisms of creation of the Holodomor: grain procurement campaigns of 1931-1933 in the Dnipropetrovsk region // collection of documents and materials” was held at the Holodomor Museum today. 171 documents from this edition have been published for the first time.

The moderator of the event, the head of the Department of Holodomor and Man-made Famines, Dmytro Bilyi, introduced the book and its compiler, who reminded us that Natalia Romanets has been studying the Holodomor for a long time and is the author of at least a hundred scientific articles.

Natalia Romanets, compiler of the publication and author of the introductory article, doctor of historical sciences, leading researcher of the National Museum of the Holodomor-genocide, reminded that this is already the third collection of documents on the subject of the Holodomor, in the preparation of which she participated.

“This book was published almost 30 years after the first collection of documents called “National Tragedy”, which was prepared by scientists of Oles Honchar Dnipro National University. In it, archival documents and memories of eyewitnesses of these events were made public. And I was one of its three authors, Natalia Romanets recalls. – It was the first experience of working in the party archive for me, then a graduate student. The experience is quite specific: I was forced out several times, I was not allowed to completely rewrite the documents. And the people who worked there were quite specific.”

Soon, in 2021, the National Museum of the Holodomor-genocide published a collection of documents, “The Holodomor Genocide of 1932-1933 in the Dnipropetrovsk Region: Scales, Consequences”, which Natalia Romanets also worked on. It tells about the scale of the Holodomor, the mortality rate among the population, the sanitary-epidemiological situation, the level of crime, the social and economic consequences of the genocide… Today’s edition is essentially a continuation of the previous collection, the documents which do not touch on the topic of the causes and prerequisites of the Holodomor in. While the author was still working on the previous book, she realised that this topic needed a separate study.”

“I think scientists do not need to explain why they publish collections of documents,” says Natalia Romanets. – First of all, this is the introduction of a large number of new documents into scientific circulation, which become available to a wide range of scientists. And to research them, now you do not have to go to the archive. Secondly, we, historians, are often accused of “rewriting history”. These documents provide answers to many questions. If a person has doubts, they themselves can take a collection of documents, read them and draw a conclusion: whether there was a Holodomor and whether it can be considered a genocide. Third, documents fade. No one is engaged in their restoration, no one is engaged in scanning them. Numbers and surnames are no longer visible on many of them. The fact that, when I was a graduate student, I managed to transcribe a large number of documents by hand, which helped me a lot in preparing this collection. Thanks to this, it was possible to reconstruct some numbers and surnames.”

While talking about the book, Ms. Natalia recalled that the Dnipropetrovsk region had a completely different appearance in the borders of 1932-1933. Formed on February 9, 1932, it included four cities of regional subordination (Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, Kamianske, Kryvyi Rih) and 50 districts. Due to the organization of the Donetsk region on July 2, 1932, which included 5 districts of the Dnipropetrovsk region, its territory decreased to 45 districts. H|owever, it still remained a fairly large and powerful administrative region, as it included almost the entire southeastern part of the republic.

Therefore, the Dnipropetrovsk region played a crucial role in the grain procurement campaigns of 1931–1933, as it was one of the main producers and suppliers of commodity bread not only in Ukraine but also in the USSR: in 1933, the share of the region in the all-Union production of winter wheat was 16.8 %, barley – 11.9%.

“Such data are given in the report of the commissioner of the Central State Commission on Productivity under the Soviet People’s Committee of the USSR for the Dnipropetrovsk region on the productivity in 1933-1934. This determined the scale of those repressions that were used during the grain procurement in this region,” says Natalia Romanets.

Various repressive measures were used, from listing villages on the “black board” to punishments under the law of five ears of grain and crimes against specific people. She gives an example: in the collection, there is a document about the assistant prosecutor of the Apostolovo precinct named after Troyanovskyi, who, during grain procurement in the village of Zahradivka of the Vysokopillia district, raped the 14-year-old daughter of a kulak several times in order to find out where the bread was hidden. He even flaunted how he managed to “knock” the information out of the kulak woman. The girl’s father died at that time, and her mother was arrested for not fulfilling the plan…

І це не єдиний документ, що шокує. Наприклад, до попереднього збірника «Голодомор-геноцид 1932–1933 рр. у Дніпропетровській області: масштаби, наслідки» вміщено документи про справу з села Гур’їв Долинського району. В ній фігурує керівництво села, яке в 1933 році організувало катівню для селян, де за будь-які провини піддавали тортурам односельців. Для цього там були навіть спеціальні засоби й інструменти. Кількох чоловік вони забили до смерті. «Але найбільше мене вразило те, що люди були такі залякані, що навіть боялися ховати тіла закатованих родичів. Так вони і лежали на вулицях по кілька днів, – каже науковиця. – Такі документи мене переламали в буквальному розумінні. Зовсім інше сприйняття, коли це робили не окупанти, а свої ж – односельці. На жаль, ми це й сьогодні бачимо в умовах широкомасштабної війни».

“The methods of violence that were used against the farmers can be traced to literally the same ones that we observe from the side of the rashists already in our time. And when some of our citizens, who continue to live in the system of Soviet stereotypes, having woken up on February 24, 1922, and ask: “How can this be?”, I always have only one answer: you need to learn history and you need to read documents,” the compiler says.

“I am happy that the work on the collection is finished,” Natalia Romanets concludes. – After all, it was created in difficult conditions. I call this collection “quarantine-war” because when I started preparing it, the quarantine began, the archives did not work, and then, several people were allowed in at a time. When I woke up on the morning of 24 February 2022, one of my thoughts was that I had not finished the work on the book. That’s why I am happy I can hold it now. So, I thank everyone involved who helped to get it printed. This is a colleague at the Holodomor Museum, Lilia Sheremeta, who made the layout and edited the book, designer Victoria Odnosum, who created the cover with the map of the Dnipropetrovsk region depicted in the webs of the Holodomor, Mykhailo Kostiv, head of the department of the Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Research Department, who took care of the printing of the book, and the Institute of the History of Ukraine of the National Academy of Sciences, whose employees were reviewers of the book.”

Apart from this, the collection also contains documents on the Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, and Kirovohrad regions, which were partially part of the Dnipropetrovsk region at the time. Considering that the Kherson archive was practically plundered by the occupiers, fortunately, something was preserved in the Dnipropetrovsk state archive. And this saved them from destruction. And now, many documents about the Holodomor are also protected by the fact that they are stored on the pages of our publication…

How to buy

The book “Mechanisms of Creation of the Holodomor: Grain Procurement Campaigns of 1931-1933 in the Dnipropetrovsk Region: A Collection of Documents and Materials” can be purchased at the ticket office of the museum. The price is UAH 380.

You can also order the publication online. To get the book, pay its cost (380 UAH) using the following details (note that the bank may charge a fee):

National Museum of the Holodomor-Genocide

Address: Kyiv, 3 Lavrska Str.

Account: UA338201720313251001202056526

in the State Treasury Service of Ukraine, Kyiv

MFO 820172

EDRPOU 36588948

Phone/phone (044)254-45-89

Send the receipt for the payment of the cost of the book to the e-mail [email protected] and indicate your surname, first name, phone number and the address where to send it and by which carrier (Ukrposhta, Nova poshta). Shipping is at your expense.

Attention! Books are sent the next day after funds are credited to the Museum’s account.