Bulletin No. 47 [Fall of 1921]
Distributed by American Friends Service Committee (Quakers)
20 South 12th Street, Philadelphia, PA
(Click on images to enlarge them)
Famine in Russia today holds in its grip 15,000,000 people. There
is suffering and hardship in other parts of Russia, but nowhere does
starvation stalk through the land embracing a whole people, rich and
poor alike, as in the Valley of the Volga. [page 2]
In the fall of 1920, as usual, the peasant farmers of Russia planted
their wheat and rye. Then came the drought. From October until June
no rain fell. The wheat germinated poorly in the fall, then the hot, dry
winds of summer shriveled and burnt the struggling fields until they
seared almost as if by fire. Seventy per cent of the land produced
nothing, the balance only one-twentieth of the normal crop. [page 2]
small child standing alone [page 3]
THE VOLGA VALLEY
An area 800 by 500 miles, with a population of 30,000,000 people,
is affected by this disaster: 15,000,000 face starvation. [page 4]
Panic-stricken with fear, literally hundreds of thousands of peasants
fled to escape the trap of hunger and approaching winter. Piling a few
belonging onto their wagons, they traveled as far as their horses could
go, then killed and ate them. [page 4]
two horse drawn wagons [page 5]
REACHING THEIR DESTINATION
Many died on the weary journey from hunger and exposure.
Those who at last reached the railway stations were again doomed
to disappointment. No food was there, and very meagre means of
transportation to more favored parts of Russia. So here they await
food or death. Which will come first? [page 6]
boats on river [page 7]
CHILDREN SUFFER MOST
Some hope of relief came with the late rains, which produced certain
quick-growing vegetables, especially melons. These they ate, rinds and
all. Impossible as was this diet for adults, its effect upon children
proved most pitiable. Many parents, in despair, deserted their children
leaving them on the doorsteps of private homes, or in railway stations, or
at the doors of the Government orphanages. Seeing no escape from
death for themselves, they pursued this last hope for saving their children.
small girl eating a rind [page 9]
PATHETIC SCENES IN ORPHANAGES
These deserted children, placed in already overcrowded orphanages,
fared little better. The small stores of food here were soon exhausted.
The attendants daily separate those who have yet a chance from those
that are doomed to die that day. Each morning now a creaking cart
drives up, to carry out the little cold bodies off to a common grave,
while the hungry wails of those still living can be heard two blocks away.
children in a room [page 11]
Attempts have been made by the Russian Soviet Government to give
relief by sending food trains into the famine areas, but the supplies are so
inadequate that they have made to perceptible difference in conditions.
trains and people [page 13]
WHAT HAPPENED AT HOME
For those who stayed at home there is even less hope. Gathering
the grass and roots from their fields and pastures, they grind them up
and cook them with the soup from dead horses' bones and hoofs.
This forms their one and one diet. Physicians declare that life cannot
be sustained in this way more than two months; in cases small
children not even two months. [page 14]
lady, horse grass and roots [page 15]
THE CRY OF LITTLE CHILDREN
It is difficult to imagine the effect on the parents, when, after
a heroic struggle to keep their little family together, safe from the
clutches of starvation, they can now only sit hopelessly by and
hear the last feeble cries of their helpless children. [page 16]
two small starving children [page 17]
SEED FOR NEXT YEAR'S CROP
In the face of such hunger, the peasants realize that they must
plant if they are to reap. They have therefore eagerly accepted the
limited supply of seed wheat issued to them by the Government,
and have planted it in hope.
It is AMERICA'S privilege to share with these Russian
sufferers, even at a sacrifice, until their next harvest comes. [page 18]
sacks of seed covered by tarps [page 19]
THE PLAN AND YOUR PART IN IT
The need of Russia today is appalling. The greatest amount of
relief which may be secured in America, both Government and private,
will be inadequate. During a famine in this same area in 1891 the Russia
Government spent $79,000,000 for food.
The American Friends Service Committee has appealed to the
American millers to give a contribution of flour which is to serve as a
nucleus in their communities. We now appeal to individual and
organizations to add flour to the mill contributions. Together these gifts
of flour represent the community's contribution to Russian relief.
Will you indicate on the blank herewith the quantity of flour you will
give? Pin your check or money to it and turn it over to your local
committee or send it direct to American Friends Service Committee,
Philadelphia, PA. The money will be spent, wherever possible, in
the place where contributed.
When all the contributions of flour have been received, the American
Friends Service Committee, Philadelphia, will furnish instructions for
forwarding your community's gift. The Friends will pay all of the cost of
transportation and distribution. Every pound of flour given will actually
reach Russia. [page 20]
THE CORN CAMPAIGN
Realizing that many who want to give, and in the past have given
generously , can more conveniently contribute this year in the form of
corn, we also invite gifts of corn for the starving Russians.
We have appealed to the country elevators to receive gift corn for
us and when a carload has been secured to load it out and ship it to
our agent, Mr. Howard B. Jackson, Postal Telegraph Building, Chicago.
Any person wishing to contribute corn, call upon your elevator man
and find whether he is co-operating. Call upon your neighbors to join
with you and make a community gift of corn to the starving farmers of
Every pound of corn given will reach the famine district, transported
and distributed by the Quakers. [Page 21]
CONGRESS GIVES $20,000,000
At the suggestion of President Harding, Congress has appropriated
$20,000,000 for Russia relief. Every man and woman should
support this measure and future measures for governmental aid. The need
What effect will this appropriation have on the Quakers' campaign for
flour and corn? Absolutely none.
This is the situation; The minimum cost of food to keep a person
alive with one meal a day is four cents, or one dollar a month. There
are 15,000,000 people starving in Russia. In other words, it will take
a minimum of $15,000,000 a month to feed them for a least five months,
probably six, until their ground can yield food.
It would be useless to feed all the people for one month and then let
them die. Consequently with the funds now available only one-fifth or
one-sixth of the starving can be cared for on a program covering the
full period. The remaining four-fifths or five-sixths will be just as dead
in two months if no other than governmental aid is sent in as they would
had no money been appropriated by Congress.
The $20,000,000 given from Washington means an involuntary
contribution, by taxation, of twenty cents per person. Surely with death
staring a whole people in the face no American should feel satisfied that
he has done his duty until he has made a personal gift and sacrifice.
The Relief Campaign of the American Friends Service Committee
will go on. Your help is needed. [pages 22-23]
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