Memorandum om forholdene under hungersnøden 1932-1933
TO THE HEAD OF THE WESTERN SIBERIA REGIONAL BOARD OF
HEALTH Comrade TRAKMAN.
Copy to POKROV REGIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE ALL-UNION
COMMUNIST PARTY (Bosheviks), REGIONAL EXECUTIVE
COMMITTEE and RUSSIAN COMMUNIST LEAGUE.
On the instructions of the Regional Committee of the All-
Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) issued to Kiselev on 24 March 1932 on the subject of finding hunger-caused illness, several families of the Kartsovskii village soviet were observed and the following was found: as stated by soviet chairman Comrade Sukhanov and secretary of the First Party Organization Comrade Medvedev, a series of written and oral statements from the kolkhozniks of this village, that they and their families suffer from starvation, were received.
The statements were made by the following people:
Gorokhova Mariia, Pautova Malan'ia, Rogozina Irina, Logacheva
Ustin'ia, and others. The soviet chairman, the secretary of the First Party Organization and other communists substantiate the fact that the kolkhozniks use animals that have died as food.
Together with the soviet chairman and other citizens I visited
the quarters of the above-mentioned kolkhozniks and also as per my wish I observed a series of homes besides the aforementioned in order to be convinced that the worst family cases were not chosen as an example.
From my observation of 20 homes in first and second Karpov,
I found only in one home, that of a Red Army veteran, a relative
condition of nourishment, some flour and bread, but the rest
subsist on food substitutes. Almost in every home either children or mothers were ill, undoubtably due to starvation, since their faces and entire bodies were swollen.
An especially horrible picture of the following families:
1) The family of Konstantin Sidel'nikov who had gone to trade his
wife's remaining shirts, skirts, and scarves for bread. The wife lay
ill, having given birth 5 days earlier, and 4 very small children as
pale as wax with swollen cheeks sat at the filthy table like
marmots, and with spoons ate, from a common cup, hot water into which had been added from a bottle a white liquid of questionable taste and sour smell, which turned out to be skim milk (the result of passing milk through a separator). Konstantin Sidel'nikov and his wife are excellent kolkhozniks--prime workers, ex-perienced kolkhozniks.
2) IAkov Sidel'nikov has 2 children and elderly parents, both
70, living in one room, but they eat separately; that is, the elderly obtain their own food substitutes with their savings; the son, IAkov Sidel'nikov, with his own; they hide their food substitutes from each other outside (I have attached examples of these food substitutes to this memorandum). The elderly in tears ask: "Doctor, give us death!"
3) Filipp Borodin has earned 650 work-days, has a wife and 5
children ranging from one-and-a-half to nine years of age. The
wife lies ill on the oven, 3 children sit on the oven, they are as pale as wax with swollen faces, the one-and-a-half year old sits pale by the window, swollen, the 9 year old lies ill on the earthen floor covered with rags, and Filipp Borodin himself sits on a bench and continuously smokes cigarettes made of repulsively pungent tobacco, cries like a babe, asks death for his children. In tears he asks Comrade Sukhanov: "Give us at least 1 kilo of potatoes, give us at least 1 liter of milk, after all, I worked all summer and even now I work unceasingly (now he takes care of the bulls and in the summer he tends the grazing cows).
According the the statement by Comrade Sukhanov and the
brigadier of the kolkhoz "Red Partisan," Borodin was a non-
Borodin does not even have food substitutes for nourishment,
two days ago he and his family ate two sickly piglets thrown out of the common farmyard. In the Borodin home there is unbelievable filth, dampness, and stench, mixed with the smell of tobacco. Borodin swears at the children: "The devils don't die, I wish I didn't have to look at you!" Having objectively investigated the condition of Borodin himself I ascertain that he (Borodin) is starting to slip into psychosis due to starvation, which can lead to his eating his own children.
My inspection of the series of families took place at the dinner
hour, where they use those same food substitutes which they eat with hot water, but in several homes on the table there were gnawed bones from a sickly horse. According to the explanations of the kolkhozniks, they themselves prepare food in the following manner: they grind sunflower stems, flax and hemp seeds, chaff, dreg, colza, goosefoot, and dried potato peelings, and they bake flat cakes. Of the food substitutes listed above, the oily seeds are nutritious, which are healthy in combined foods since they contain vitamins, by themselves the vegetable oils do not contain vitamins and by not com-bining them with other food products of more equal nourishment and caloric value they are found to be toxic and will harm the body.
The homes are filthy, the area around the homes is polluted
by human waste, by diarrhea caused by these substitutes. People walk around like shadows, silent, vacant; empty homes with boarded-up windows (about 500 homeowners have left their homes in Karpov village for destinations unknown); one rarely sees an animal on the street (apparently the last ones have been eaten).
In the entire village of 1000 yards I found only 2 chickens and
a rooster. Occasionally one meets an emaciated dog.
The impression is that Karpov village seems to be hit by
anbiosis (hibernation, a freeze, falling asleep). The livestock is free to feed on thatched roofs of homes and
In reporting the above-related to the Pokrov Regional
Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks),
Regional Executive Committee, Russian Com-munist League, and to you, as the regional health inspector and doctor of the Pokrov
region, I beg of you to undertake immediate measures to help the starving and to notify me of the practical measures taken.
March 25, 1932 Regional health inspector--doctor--KISELEV