The Great Famine-Genocide in Soviet Ukraine (Holodomor)


The Family of Five Shown on the New Ukrainian Stamp are Russian, not Ukrainian. Image was Taken from a 1921 Russian Photograph

Campaign Started To Change the Design of the New Holodomor Stamp


By E. Morgan Williams, Publisher,  Information Service (ARTUIS)
Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, September 27, 2003


KYIV.......The Ukrainian postal service will issue a new stamp in memory of the victims of the holodomor (to kill by hunger, or torture with hunger) of 1932-1933 and two other political famines, 1921-1922; 1946-1947, according to information received by the  Information Service (ARTUIS) earlier this week in Kyiv. An image of the stamp was also obtained. ARTUIS has not yet been able to confirm the information with Ukrposhta, the Ukrainian postal service.

It is expected according to usually reliable sources that the stamp will be issued in November of 2003. The official day of commemoration of the holodomor in Ukraine is the fourth Saturday of November each year.

The stamp has on it the image of a mother and four children with the words "Ukraine, In Memory of Victims of Holodomor, 1932-1933." In the upper right hand corner of the stamp are listed the dates for three famines, 1921-1922, 1932-1933, 1946-1947. The word holodomor is on the stamp three times.

There is not any text on the stamp to exactly indicate the stamp is in commemoration this year of the 70th anniversary of the 1932-1933 holodomor though the 1932-1933 holodomor is feathered in a square with a church bell on it that takes up the right half the stamp. The stamp will reportedly sell for 45 kopiykas.

Image of new Ukrainian holodomor stamp reported to be ready for issue by the Ukrainian postal service in November, 2003
(Click on images to enlarge them)


ARTUIS has shown the reported new Ukrainian holodomor stamp image to several holodomor experts and the experts agree that the family shown on the stamp is taken from a 1921-1922 photograph. The experts also believe the photograph was taken in Soviet Russia and was not taken in Soviet Ukraine.

The photograph of the family of five is shown in a new huge two volume book of photographs entitled: "Ukraine: XX Century." The two volume set, authored by Volodymyr Lytwyn, Valeriy Smoliy and Mykola Shpakovatyj, was published in 2002 in Kyiv that show a very large number of black and white photographs in chronological order supposedly related to Ukraine during the XX Century. There are almost 2,000 pages in the two volumes.

The image of the family on the new stamp is shown in a photograph in Volume 1 on page 389 with the text, "Starving Family" 1921 year. ARTUIS has talked to the publisher of the publication, Alternatives, who stated they could not verify historically that all of the famine related photographs shown for 1921-1922 and 1932-1933 in the book were actually taken in Ukraine.

Photograph of starving family of five taken from the book, "Ukraine: XX Century," a two volume set of photographs published in 2002 in Kyiv, authored by Volodymyr Lytwyn, Valeriy Smoliy, and Mykola Shpakovatyj and published by the Alternatives Publishing Company

The very young naked girl shown in the photograph and on the new stamp also is shown in a different photograph on a printed postcard published in Europe in 1921-1922. The postcard was sold to raise money for the famine relief program in Soviet Russia.

The postcard is number nine from a set of 10 or so postcards issued by children's humanitarian organizations in Geneva, Brussels, Lausanne, and Paris. The photographs on the postcards are thought by most experts to have been taken in Soviet Russia in 1921-1922.

Image from an early 1920's Russie famine relief postcard published in Europe
[Private "Holodomor Artwork and Documents Collection" of the Information Service (ARTUIS)]

ARTUIS contacted Dr. Roman Serbyn, a internationally known Ukrainian/Canadian scholar, who is professor emeritus of history at the University of Quebec, Montreal, Canada. Dr. Serbyn has researched and published books and articles about the famines in Ukraine for many years. About 10 years ago Roman authored a book about the 1921-1923 famine in Ukraine entitled, "Famine 1921-1923 and the Ukrainian Press in Canada."

Roman has verified to ARTUIS that the photograph showing the starving family of five was not taken in Ukraine but was indeed taken in Russia. The correspondence to ARTUIS from Professor Serbyn follows:

"Saturday, September 27, 2003

"Dear Morgan,

"Glad to have [recently] met you in Kyiv, now our correspondence is more meaningful.

"The two photographs you sent me are from the 1921-23 famine, from a place called Buzuluk (on the Samara river) in the Orenburg oblast (RSFSR) and one of the relief centres for the ARA [American Relief Agency] and Nansen campaigns [an international relief program headed by the European High Commissioner of Relief F. Nansen of Norway] in Russia proper.

The little girl is the same in both photographs, and if you look carefully, you'll see that the two pictures were taken in the same place, in front of the same doorway.

I have seen both of them, and am sure that I have reproductions of them at home, but cannot find anything except the little girl in a small brochure entitled "La famine en Russi" with a preface by Anatole France. The brochure was published to raise funds for famine relief in Russia.

"There are very few authenticated photos of Ukraine in the 1932-33 famine, so it may be necessary to use a picture from the first famine, but it must be one from Ukraine (and Buzuluk is not in Ukraine). I hope you can impress this on the people in Ukraine, so as to avoid this error.

It would be a shame to see another effort to commemorate the Famine-Genocide undermined by stupidity.

"Please let me know what happens with this project,

"Yours, Roman" [Dr. Roman Serbyn, Montreal, Canada]

Some of the Ukrainians and those with Ukrainian heritage contacted by ARTUIS about the new stamp have indicated they will immediately start a major campaign to convince the Ukrainian government to change the design of the holodomor stamp now showing a starving family from Russia in 1921.

These three tragic events in Ukraine's history cost the lives of many million of people, severely and permanently damaged the lives of millions more, and has severely cost the nation of Ukraine in so many ways ever since. The genocidal famine of 1932-1933 against Ukraine is one of the great tragedies of history.