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Grants & Opportunities

Research grants

The HREC Research Grants Competition is held annually to support academic research on the Holodomor, the publication of research results, the preservation of materials, and the organization of and participation in academic venues. Each year, a new thematic focus is established, though proposals for other topics are considered. The applications are reviewed by a committee of scholars and HREC associates.

  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015
  • 2014
  • 2018 HREC Research Grants Competition

    The Holodomor Research and Education Consortium awarded a total of $33,500 (CAD) in grants, ranging from $980 to $6000, through its 2018 Research Grants Competition.

    The focus of this year’s competition was on projects that focus on research and publishing of research results, preservation of materials, and organization of and participation in Holodomor-related conference sessions and workshops.  For the second time, HREC considered proposals for collaborative projects involving two or more individuals and/or institutions, and in particular, projects that engage institutions and individuals both in and outside Ukraine.

  • Individual Projects 2018

    Gulnara Bekirova

    Gulnara Bekirova

    Deputy Director of the Special Commission of the Kurultai for the Study of the Genocide of the Crimean Tatar People

    “Deportations and hunger: Crimean Tatar (post)memory and the shared fate of Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars under the Stalinist system.”

    Many historical parallels exist between Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar experiences under Soviet
    rule, including deportation and mass starvation. Oral histories of Crimean Tatars who lived
    through the famine of 1921-22, the Holodomor of 1932-33, and the deportation of 1944 reveal
    that witnesses perceived a direct association between these events and Stalinist policies. This
    grant supports the continuation of a project to analyze how memories of deportation and
    starvation have been preserved and transmitted across generations of Crimean Tatars.

    Olga Bertelsen

    Olga Bertelsen

    Postdoctoral Fellow, Columbia University in the City of New York

    “Cannibalism at Sites of Mass Starvation in Ukraine in 1932-1933.”

    The research examines in what ways prolonged food deprivation shapes people’s behavior and
    analyzes a range of transgressions committed by starving individuals during the Holodomor,
    illuminating problems of ethics, morality, and personal choice that occurred in spaces of
    violence and extreme starvation.

    Mykola Horokh

    Mykola Horokh

    Tarnovsky Chernihiv Oblast Historical Museum

    Researching Archival Documents of the Vinnytsia Regional "Torgsin” Branch

    The Ukrainian SSR had an expansive network of “Torgsin” stores, where during the Holodomor, starving peasants and urbanites surrendered their valuables to the state in exchange for a chance at survival in the form of bags of flour, for example.  This project examines archives of the Vinnytsia Regional “Torgsin” Office (perhaps the most complete in comparison to others), the documents of which were previously marked "classified" or "top secret."

    Yulija Hryshchenko

    Yulija Hryshchenko

    Graduate Student, NASU Institute of the History of Ukraine

    “Bulgarians in the Ukrainian SSR during collectivization and the Holodomor”

    The Bulgarian peasants of the Ukrainian SSR had higher land security and were more commercially successful than the average Ukrainian peasant household. This study examines how collectivization, several waves of dispossession and a series of repressions destroyed the economic basis for preserving the national identity of the Bulgarian ethnic minority, undermined their traditional economic activities, and altered the social structure of the Bulgarian population.

    Artem Kharchenko

    Artem Kharchenko

    ‘Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute’ National Technical University

    “Forcible Transfers of Children during the Holodomor (1928-35)”

    Taking as a theoretical framework the ideas of Raphael Lemkin and applying Intersectionality Theory, this study examines Soviet policy regarding orphans as an element of the Holodomor (1928-35). Inmates of orphanages were subject to different levels of oppression – age, social, cultural, and national. The research will present collective portraits of representatives of the orphanage system and their staffs as ordinary perpetrators of a totalitarian system.

    Victoria Khiterer

    Victoria Khiterer

    Millersville University

    “The Holodomor and Jews in Ukraine”

    This project will produce an article on the experience of Jews during the Holodomor and the effect of the Famine on Jewish-gentile relations. The article will explore how the brutality of the Holodomor and Stalin's other repressions paved the way for the Holocaust as people became inured to the suffering of others.

    Martin Kisly

    Martin Kisly

    PhD Candidate, National University of “Kyiv-Mohyla Academy”

    “Crimean Tatars’ memory of the Holodomor”

    This project builds on oral histories with members of the Criman Tatar community conducted under a previous grant.

    Karolina Koziura

    Karolina Koziura

    PhD Candidate, New School for Social Research (New York)

    "Gender and Violence in the Oral Testimonies of Holodomor, The Ukrainian Famine of 1932-33"

    Through their embeddedness in family, neighbourhood, and communal life, women are often responsible for securing food for their families, yet their voices and experiences are frequently neglected in both famine historiographies and in more contemporary famine prevention programs. This project seeks to problematize the gendered impact of famine through the analysis of oral testimonies and the role of gender in conceptualizing memory and famine.

    Daria Mattingly

    Daria Mattingly

    PhD Candidate, University of Cambridge

    Roundtable at ASEEES Convention: “Heroes and Villains: Performers of Mass Violence in Ukraine, 1918-1945" (December 2018)

    The funding supports the holding of the roundtable 'Heroes and Villains: Performers of Mass Violence in Ukraine, 1918-45' at the convention of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES, December 6-9, 2018) with panelists David Marples, Georgiy Kasianov and Yurii Radchenko discussing the perpetrators of the Holodomor and the Holocaust and their interpretation in memory and various narratives.

    Iryna Reva

    Iryna Reva

    Institute for Social Research (Dnipro)

    “Holodomor, Repressions, and Motivational Changes among Servicemen in the Red Army (1930-41) and the Armed Forces of Ukraine (2014-18)”

    This project compares the impact of the current Russian-Ukrainian war on the motivation of Ukrainian servicemen whose ancestors lived through Stalinist repressions, with values and motivational reorientation of the Ukrainian Red Army servicemen in 1930-41, who witnessed the Holodomor in the 1930s. The study examines audio testimonies of the servicemen who fought in the Russian-Ukrainian war for a comparative study that may have implications for rethinking Ukraine’s past.

    Vitalii Ogiienko

    Vitalii Ogiienko

    National University of "Kyiv-Mohyla Academy" and Ukrainian Institute of National Memory

    “The Holodomor as a Historical Trauma”

    The research looks to conceptualise the traumatic memory of the Holodomor in terms of post-traumatic stress disorder and collective trauma, comparing symptoms and markers of traumatic memory in Holodomor narratives, including memoirs, journalistic articles, fiction, and folklore. The research investigates how original traumatic experience passes down through generations, becoming cultural phenomena.

    Olha Vasylenko

    Olha Vasylenko

    Glière Institute of Music (Kyiv)

    “The Holodomor in the Works of Ukrainian Composers”

    Utilizing analytical and comparative methodologies of musicology and culture, the research focuses on musical works of contemporary composers that address the Holodomor, including operas, cantatas, oratorios, and symphonies. The study assesses dramaturgy of these works in the development of the musical arts in Ukraine, as well as genre and stylistic characteristics of contemporary musical works dedicated to the Holodomor.

    Oleh Wolowyna

    Oleh Wolowyna

    University of Carolina at Chapel Hill

    Organization of a conference at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill: "The 85th Anniversary of the Holodomor: New Interdisciplinary Approaches" (October 2018)

    The grant supports organization of a conference in commemoration of the 85th anniversary of the Holodomor held at the Center for Slavic, Eurasian and East European Studies at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill). The conference is intended to explore interdisciplinary research within the context of other man-made famines as part of the University’s “Spotlight on Ukraine Initiative” to develop Ukrainian studies at the university.

    Collaborative Projects 2018

    Serhii Plokhy

    Harvard University

    Konstiantyn Bondarenko

    Harvard University

    Oleksandr Gladun

    NASU Ptoukha Institute of Demography and Social Studies

    Natalia Kulyk

    NASU Ptoukha Institute of Demography and Social Studies

    Nataliia Levchuk

    NASU Ptoukha Institute of Demography and Social Studies

    “The Holodomor in Ukraine: regional peculiarities of population losses by gender and age in 1932-1934.”

    This project assesses Holodomor population losses in Ukraine based on demographic statistics for 1926–39, contributing to a series of thematic maps for the Holodomor Atlas (part of the GIS project "Mapa. Digital Atlas of Ukraine"). The objectives include assessment of intensity of losses by region; comparative analysis of the age profile of male and female losses in regional context; and differences in sex and type of settlement.

    Oleksandr Lysenko

    NASU Institute of the History of Ukraine, Department of the History of Ukraine during the Second World War

    Oleksandr Maiyevsky

    NASU Institute of the History of Ukraine, Department of the History of Ukraine during the Second World War

    “The Holodomor in Ukraine as a focus of academic and journalistic study in the 1940s and 1950s.”

    The project aims at a comprehensive analysis of publications about the Holodomor in the 1930s–50s to assess their influence on the formation of the historical memory of Ukrainians based on ego-documents, periodicals, publications by diaspora scholars and publicists, and representatives of Ukraine’s independence movement, as well as Nazi propaganda that sought to focus attention of those under the Nazi occupation on the crimes of Stalinism.

  • 2017 HREC Research Grants Competition

    In 2017, HREC held its fourth research grants competition. The focus was on projects concerning the Holodomor that sought to conduct and publish research, preserve relevant materials, and organize or engage in academic events.

    For the first time, HREC considered proposals for collaborative projects involving two or more individuals and/or institutions, with the intention of fostering engagement among researchers and institutions in and outside of Ukraine.

    This year HREC awarded seventeen grants totaling $36,250.00 CAD, which ranged from $750.00 to $5,300.00 CAD.

  • Individual Projects 2017

    Lana Y. Babij

    Lana Y. Babij

    Librarian Emeritus, University of Connecticut; Connecticut Holodomor Awareness Committee

    Digital Archive of Non-Soviet Photographs Documenting Famine Conditions During the Holodomor

    This project aims to complete work begun in 2016 with regard to Holodomor-related photographs published outside the USSR from 1932-1939. The photographs will be prepared for inclusion into a searchable online digital archive. Each photograph will be accompanied by basic descriptive metadata as well as publication history and notes of interest. The database will also include a selection of photos from the 1920s that often have been used to depict the 1930s Holodomor, along with each photo’s pre-1925 publication history.

    Gulnara Bekirova

    Gulnara Bekirova

    Deputy Director of the Special Commission of the Kurultay for the Study of the Genocide of the Crimean Tatar People

    Deportation and Hunger: Crimean Tatar Memories of Their Shared Fate with Ukrainians under Stalinist Rule

    Many historical parallels exist between Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar experiences under Soviet rule, including deportation and mass starvation. Oral histories of Crimean Tatars who lived through the famine of 1921-22, the Holodomor of 1932-33, and the deportation of 1944 reveal that witnesses perceived a direct association between these events and Stalinist policies. Through the analysis of existent and new oral histories, Bekirova will investigate how memories of the tragedies of deportation and starvation, and their association with Stalinist policies, have been preserved and transmitted across generations of Crimean Tatars.

    Brent Bezo

    Brent Bezo

    PhD Candidate, Department of Psychology, Carleton University

    The Multi-Level Impacts of the 1932-1933 Holodomor on Descendants of Survivors

    Bezo’s research investigates the psychosocial impacts of the Holodomor that have been passed on to descendants of Holodomor survivors. Specifically, this research investigates how the Holodomor may have impacted family and community functioning and socio-cultural norms through the generations and, in turn, how these multilevel impacts may affect the well-being of individuals who did not directly experience the Holodomor but whose ancestors were survivors.

    Yulija Hryschenko

    Yulija Hryschenko

    PhD, Institute of the History of Ukraine, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine (Defended dissertation in December 2016)

    Bulgarians in the Ukrainian SSR: Collectivization and Famine

    Hryschenko studies the impact of collectivization and famine on the Bulgarian minority in Soviet Ukraine during the 1920s and 1930s. Communist rule prompted a drastic change to the livelihood of the Bulgarian minority, who had strongly adhered to the concept of individual property, and previously enjoyed relative prosperity in comparison to ethnic Ukrainians. The research will focus on the impact of collectivization, dekulakization, and repressions on the Bulgarian minority during this period, which effectively dismantled the group’s economic and social structures.

    Karolina Koziura

    Karolina Koziura

    PhD Candidate in Sociology and Historical Studies, The New School for Social Research, New York

    Unravelling the Silenced Past. The Memory and Perception of Collectivization in the Eyewitness Accounts of the Holodomor

    Koziura will study how experiences of collectivization have figured in the memories of Holodomor witnesses. Through the analysis of testimonies, the research will retrace changes in the social and cultural space of the Ukrainian countryside prompted by the Stalinist modernization project. The research seeks to uncover a subjective understanding of social relations in the countryside, changing property regimes, and different pedagogies of persuasion employed by the Soviet state. The project will also investigate Soviet technologies of  “silencing” the Famine and their influence on suppressing memories of the Holodomor. The project will contribute to Koziura’s ongoing PhD dissertation at The New School for Social Research, in which she will construct a historical ethnography of the collectivization of Ukrainian agriculture and its role in the spatial formation of the Soviet Union.

    Wiktoria Kudela-Świątek

    Wiktoria Kudela-Świątek

    Coordinator for Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, National Science Centre, Poland

    Places of Memory of the Holodomor , 1932-1933

    The project will investigate the visual culture of the Holodomor — specifically, memorials and monuments — in order to better understand the contexts and processes in which memories of the Holodomor are shaped.  In particular, the project will examine state-organized commemorative initiatives and the extent to which they are politically motivated and driven by the needs of Ukrainian society. The project will also investigate why painful memories of the Holodomor have resurfaced in contemporary society, and will argue that these memories hold the potential to strengthen Ukrainian societal unity. The analysis of memorials and monuments will serve as a starting point for further studies on the history and politics of memorializing the Holodomor.

    William Noll

    William Noll

    Independent Scholar

    Transformation of Civil Society. An Oral History of Ukrainian Peasant Culture of the 1920s and 1930s

    The project will translate into English a book of the same name, originally published in Ukrainian in 1999. The book contains segments of interviews with elderly villagers collected in Ukraine in 1993-1995, which address a range of themes related to repressions, collectivization, and the Holodomor.  In particular, the book details the nature of peasant culture and civil society before collectivization and the Holodomor and the ravages on culture that these events and ideas inflicted upon nearly all villages in Eastern and Central Ukraine from approximately 1928 to 1934.

    Vitaliy Ogienko

    Vitaliy Ogienko

    Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Humanities, National University of “Kyiv Mohyla Academy”; Lead Specialist, Ukrainian Institute of National Memory, Kyiv

    Holodomor as Historical Trauma

    Ogienko will study how the experience of trauma during the Holodomor has influenced the development of a cultural memory of the Famine and how this memory has been transmitted over generations. Within the context of the project, historical trauma refers to the transmission of accumulated symptoms, images, representations, and discourses prompted by the experience of trauma. The investigation will involve an analysis of memoirs, journal articles, fiction, folkloric literature, and testimonies.

    Lesya Onyshko

    Lesya Onyshko

    Director, Research Department, National Museum, “Memorial to the Victims of the Holodomor”

    Holodomor 1932-33 in Ukraine: Information Dissemination and Western Reactions in the First Half of the 1930s

    Research will be conducted into the passivity of Western diplomacy during the time of the Holodomor and the reluctance of the West to interfere in the internal affairs of the Soviet Union. Documents from contemporary diplomatic missions — including from Italy, Poland, Germany, and Britain — reveal that foreign governments were aware of the Famine around the time of its occurrence but do not explain their passive response. The research will thus investigate internal and external considerations that underlay this passivity. Focus will be placed on Soviet efforts to block the spread of information on the Famine and corresponding efforts to disseminate disinformation — activities that constitute elements of information warfare.

    Yana Prymachenko

    Yana Prymachenko

    Managing Editor, Holodomor Studies

    Ukrainian Culture in Periods of Societal Transformation

    This project will research the artistic development of “social realism” among Ukrainian intellectuals and its relation with the Holodomor. During the first Five-Year-Plan (1928-1933), a “cultural revolution” was initiated in Soviet Ukraine, a first step towards the creation of a new society of the “Soviet people.” The revolution sought to develop loyalty towards the Bolsheviks, and particularly among intellectuals, who were perceived to be the foremost producers of moral and spiritual values. Discussions in artistic circles on the eve of the implementation of the CC CPSU (b) resolution “On the Reconstruction of Literary and Artistic Organizations,” dated April 23, 1932, are particularly informative on the development of “social realism” in Ukrainian culture, and will be the focus of the research.

    Olha Ryabchenko

    Olha Ryabchenko

    Director, Department of History and Culture, O.M. Beketov National University of Urban Economy, Kharkiv

    Student Participation in Collectivization, Sowing, and Harvesting Campaigns in the Period of Stalin’s Revolution from Above and the Holodomor (1928-1933)

    The project will research the participation of university students in the Soviet transformation of the Ukrainian countryside around the time of the Holodomor. It will involve an analysis of student accounts of events in the village, student attitudes towards villagers, and student-villager interactions. Research will also be conducted into how students reacted to government policies implicating them in collectivization, and their forms of protest in this regard.  Finally, the research will analyze attitudes of authorities towards the students and the penalties that were incurred for non-compliance with government mandates.

    Inna Shugalyeva

    Inna Shugalyeva

    Associate Professor, Department of the History of Ukraine, Zaporizhzhya National University (ZNU); Research Associate, Department for Innovative Educational Technologies, ZNU

    Infant Mortality in State Childcare Institutions during the Holodomor, 1932-1933

    During the Holodomor, state childcare institutions in Soviet Ukrainian cities witnessed widespread mortality among its child wards. The project will look to clarify the reasons and dynamics of this mass mortality, investigate the infrastructure of the childcare institutions, and research the provision of food and healthcare to the children. The project will also involve the creation of an interactive map locating the child care institutions that existed in the network.

    John Vsetecka

    John Vsetecka

    PhD Candidate, Department of History, Michigan State University

    Feeding the Mind, Starving the Body: Children, Education, and Social Memory during the Ukrainian Holodomor, 1928-1933

    This project will utilize themes of empire and colonialism as lenses to examine how Soviet (re)education attempted to eradicate Ukrainian language and culture during the Holodomor and what this meant for Ukrainian children who were exposed to this Soviet system. The project will utilize the testimonies of Holodomor survivors — many of whom were children in 1932-33 — which were provided to the U.S. Commission on the Ukraine Famine in the late 1980s. Research will also be conducted in the Communist Party Archives and the Central State Archive of Public Organizations in Kyiv, to gain an understanding of how political ordering and education influenced the social milieu in Ukraine during the Famine.

    Collaborative Projects 2017

    Gelinada Grinchenko Yaroslava Muzychenko Iryna Reva

    Gelinada Grinchenko

    Professor, Ukrainian Studies, V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University; Director, Ukrainian Association of Oral History

    Yaroslava Muzychenko

    Researcher, Museum of the History of Ukraine

    Iryna Reva

    Research Associate, Institute of the History of Dnipro, Dnipro Development Agency, Dnipro Municipal Council

    Holodomor as Oral History: Objective Event and Subjective Narrative

    The project will focus on aspects of subjectivity in existing and new oral histories about the Holodomor.  Employing a novel methodological approach, Grinchenko will consider oral histories on the Holodomor not as a set of facts but as a set of complex human emotions, concerns, and interpretations. Grinchenko’s analysis will focus not on what is being told, but how and why witnesses build their memories the way they do. Muzychenko will analyse existing and new oral histories among descendants of Holodomor victims to understand how Ukrainian society was negatively influenced by Soviet anti-religious policies. Finally, Reva will collect oral histories from veterans of the current Russian-Ukrainian war, in order to illuminate links between the transmission of memory among victims of these contemporary events and those of the Holodomor and Stalinist repressions.

    Tetiana Zabolotna Oleksandr Lysenko Oleksandr Mayevsky

    Tetiana Zabolotna

    Research Associate, Institute of the History of Ukraine, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine; Secretary, Department of the History of Ukraine during the Second World War

    Oleksandr Lysenko

    Director, Department of the History of Ukraine during the Second World War, Institute of the History of Ukraine, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

    Oleksandr Mayevsky

    Research Associate, Department of the History of Ukraine during the Second World War, Institute of the History of Ukraine, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

    Holodomor in the Collective and Individual Memory of Ukrainians and in the Informational Space of the Second World War

    The project will study the development of individual and collective memory of the Holodomor during the Second World War, when information about the extent of the tragedy was initially brought to light. Preliminary research has already revealed that the disclosure of crimes committed under Stalin’s regime deepened the crisis of loyalty towards the Bolshevik regime. Memories of the Holodomor thus became a defining factor in the way not only witnesses of the Holodomor, but also their descendents, were to perceive Soviet totalitarianism.

  • 2016 HREC Research Grants Competition

    In 2016, HREC held its third research grants competition. This year’s competition focused on support of research, preservation and publication of materials, as well as organization of and participation in conferences and workshops related to the Holodomor.  Seventeen grants were awarded in amounts ranging from $1,043 to $6,000.

  • Individual Projects 2016

    Lana Y. Babij

    Lana Y. Babij

    Sorting out the photographic evidence of famine in Ukraine, 1932-1934, as first used in English language publications, 1932-1939

    This research will lay the foundation for the first comprehensive visual resource on non-Soviet photographic evidence of the 1932-34 famine in Ukraine. The aim is to identify, authenticate, and classify famine-related photographs first used in English-language publications.  The focus is on photographs not sanctioned by Soviet officials but claimed to have been taken by non-Soviet visitors in 1930-1934 — businessmen, representatives of governments and non-governmental organizations, and journalists.  Photos attributed to the Holodomor that were in actuality from other famines will be identified, and accusations of inauthenticity will be addressed.

    Yaroslav Faizulin

    Yaroslav Faizulin

    Holodomor 1932-1933: Diaries of the Repressed

    The project entails research in the archives of the Security Services uncover, analyze, document, and publish diaries of individuals who lived during the Holodomor. Diary entries were used as evidence for the imprisonment of their authors by Soviet authorities, who considered any kind of documentation of the events of the Holodomor as counterrevolutionary. These diaries are particularly useful for illuminating everyday life during the Holodomor, strategies for survival, and attitudes towards the Soviet authorities.

    Kristina Hook

    Kristina Hook

    Providing new theoretical tools to incorporate the Holodomor into broader discussions of genocide

    Although genocide has been defined in international law, no standard scholarly definition exists. This project will provide new theoretical tools for scholars seeking to incorporate the Holodomor into broader discussions of genocide. While previous literature on the Holodomor has largely focused on Soviet starvation policies as a genocidal and political tool, and therefore a method of violence, the project intends to reorient the question of genocide in Ukraine, focusing on the intent of the violence.

    Mykola Gorokh

    Mykola Gorokh

    The Establishment and operation of the Odesa Regional “Torgsin” Office (1930-1936)

    The project focuses on Soviet Torgsin stores, where peasants would exchange jewelry for food in a bid for survival during the Holodomor. The focus of the project is the Torgsin regional office in Odesa, which was considered among the most important in the network given its location in a large port city.

    Yulija Hryshchenko

    Yulija Hryshchenko

    The impact of collectivization and Famine on the Bulgarian minority in Soviet Ukraine

    The project will study the impact of collectivization and the famine on the Bulgarian minority in Soviet Ukraine during the 1920s and 1930s. The project will examine how this minority was affected by broader socio-economic and political changes occurring throughout the Soviet Union, and will discuss the demographic and psychological repercussions.

    Artem Kharchenko

    Artem Kharchenko

    Forcible transfers of children in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic: 1928-1935

    The project aims to investigate the treatment of children by Soviet authorities during the 1928-1935 period. The project will analyze the forcible transfer of children to orphanages, which according to the 1948 Convention can be considered an act of genocide.  The research will draw upon intersectionality theory, in order to consider the multiple factors that contributed to the social repression of the population, and in particular children, including language, religion, and culture.

    Vitaly Klymchuk

    Vitaly Klymchuk

    National PTSD and posttraumatic growth: echoes of the trauma of famine in the psyches of modern Ukrainians

    The project pursues the hypothesis that a national post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) exists among Ukrainians as a consequence of the Holodomor. The project will consider the psychological implications of the longstanding policy of silence and denial that persisted after the famine. The research will also investigate the psychological consequences of other traumas endured by Ukrainians, including repressions, wars, and revolutions.

    Nicholas K. Kupensky

    Nicholas K. Kupensky

    Margaret Bourke-White and the Ukrainian Famine: The scenarios to Eyes on Russia (1993)

    This project examines the American photographer Margaret Bourke-White’s unmade film, Eyes on Russia (1932-1933). Bourke-White was one of many English-speaking journalists who visited Zaporizhzhia in October 1932 to witness the opening of the Dnieper Hydroelectric Station. While most of her colleagues revealed that they had seen evidence of famine, extant scenarios to Eyes on Russia reveal that Bourke-White intended to celebrate the effects of the First Five-Year Plan on agriculture during the period when the famine was at its worst. This project will establish what she likely witnessed and why she never addressed the existence of the famine in her art.

    Nataliia Levchuk

    Nataliia Levchuk

    Monthly variations of mortality in 1933 in Ukraine’s largest cities: Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Odesa

    The project will research monthly variations in mortality rates in the cities of Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Odesa in 1933. The project intends to produce a more developed understanding of the dynamics of hunger among urban residents in Ukraine. Research questions will include the following: To what extent do mortality rates during the Holodomor in these urban centres differ from those in non-crisis years? Did a rise in deaths occur simultaneously in all three cities? Are there similar patterns in the monthly dynamics of mortality among the three cities? How do the causes of death differ across monthly periods and cities during this period?

    Kassandra Luciuk

    Kassandra Luciuk

    Danylo Lobay, leader in the Ukrainian Canadian progressive-socialist movement and the Ukrainian Labour Farmer Temple Association

    This project seeks to situate Danylo Lobay, a leader in the Ukrainian Canadian progressive-socialist movement and the affiliated Ukrainian Labour-Farmer Temple Association (ULFTA), within a larger context of Holodomor awareness in Canada during the 1930s and 1940s. In March 1935, Lobay addressed his community, concerned by the denial of the Holodomor by Communist Party of Canada and ULFTA officials. A comprehensive study of how Lobay’s revelations affected the Ukrainian Canadian community has yet to be written. Ultimately the project will illuminate how the Holodomor was talked about, debated, and eventually commemorated by Ukrainians in Canada.

    Gennadij Mahorin

    Gennadij Mahorin

    Peasant resistance to soviet policy: 1932-1933

    The project will research peasant resistance to Soviet policy in 1932 and 1933. In particular, the project will compare efforts of resistance during this period with those of previous national liberation struggles in order to illuminate aspects of continuity in Ukrainian national aspirations.

    Yarosalv Papuha

    Yarosalv Papuha

    Western attitudes toward to Holodomor

    The project will analyze Western attitudes towards the Holodomor in order to illuminate varying positions among Western countries. In particular, the project will draw upon documents in Polish and Ukrainian archives related to the initiatives of Ukrainian emigres to lobby Western governments to recognize the Holodomor.

    Ukrainian Canadian Research and Documentation Centre

    Ukrainian Canadian Research and Documentation Centre

    Digitization of ‘Sharing the Story’ Interview

    The project will digitize interviews conducted with Holodomor survivors living in Canada. The interviews were conducted by Orest Zakydalsky and Ariadna Ochrymovych as part of a joint project of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress and the Ukrainian Canadian Research and Documentation Centre titled Sharing the Story. The interviews were recorded on 138 Mini DV/DVCAM video cassettes, which need to be reformatted and digitized in high definition in order to make them useable and accessible components of the UCRDC Oral History Archives.

    Iryna Zakharchuk

    Iryna Zakharchuk

    The inversion of cultural roles: Enemies and victims in Ukrainian literature during the era of collectivization and the Famine

    The project seeks to develop a new analytical framework for understanding social experiences during the era of collectivization and the Famine through the study of Ukrainian literature from that period, a powerful force of social transformation.  Moreover, literature’s moral and psychological narratives can further illuminate an era’s cultural practices and norms.  In particular, this project will investigate oppositional attitudes in the literature of this period, namely, between ‘enemies’ and ‘victims,’ as a means of uncovering the dynamics of social order under collectivization and the Famine.

    Nikolai Zerkal

    Nikolai Zerkal

    Policies of collectivization and industrialization in Southern Ukraine

    The project will analyze the Bolshevik leadership’s policies of collectivization and industrialization in the southern oblasts of Ukraine within the broader context of military and industrial modernization in the region, The projecgt will illuminate the socio-economic, political, and psychological traumas endured by the peasant population, including death from starvation, the destruction of agricultural production, and the prevalence of psychological and physical intimidation used to discourage resistance to the Stalinist regime.

    Collaborative Projects 2016

    Lumey Research Team

    Relation between famine severity at time of birth and diabetes risk

    Using data from the Ukrainian national diabetes registry up to 2008, the Lumey Research Team has shown a relation between famine severity at the time of birth and type 2 diabetes risk in old age. These findings make clear that conditions in a mother’s pregnancy affect the health of her children. This project will bring together research groups from the US, The Netherlands, and Ukraine to exchange information and to prepare proposals for more extended studies to be submitted to national and international research institutions for funding.

    Olha Vasylenko Tetiana Markovska

    Olha Vasylenko

    Tetiana Markovska

    Holodomor in academic musical compositions of Ukraine’s contemporary composers

    The project, co-organized by two colleagues at the R. M. Glière Kyiv Institute of Music, will illuminate an unexplored period of post-totalitarian art, language, and music. The project will document developments in music composition at the turn of the twenty-first century that address the topic of the Holodomor and to produce video presentations of these compositions. The compositions span a wide range of genres and were produced by composers including Ivan Karabyts, Yevhena Stankovych, Myroslav Skoryk, and Viktor Kaminsky.

  • 2015 HREC Research Grants Competition

    In 2015, HREC held a second grants competition to support research, preservation and publication of materials related to the Holodomor. Grant applications were considered in amounts up to $5,000. Submissions were evaluated for their relevance to the stated aims of the competition; soundness of the proposal, including methodology; and preparedness to undertake the proposal (based on CV, letters of recommendation and demonstrated preparedness). HREC awarded nine grants for a total of $25,395, ranging from $1000 to $5,000.

  • Individual Projects 2015

    Olga Bertelsen

    A Social History of the Holodomor: Voices from the Kharkiv oblast, 1926-1934

    Dr. Bertelsen examines archival materials that shed light on the everyday lives of the Ukrainian peasantry in the Kharkiv oblast from 1926 to1934, their attitudes toward Soviet power, and toward each other. The study examines behavioral changes under conditions of physical abuse, state violence and hunger. Letters of complaint, protocols of the inter-district oblast court for 1932-1933 and the GPU’s reports constitute the evidential base for the analyses. The study will include an exploration of women’s, men’s, children’s and the elderly’s behavioral patterns and strategies of survival, and an analysis of their individual and collective sensibilities, and attitudes toward the regime.

    Valentyna Borysenko

    Documentary and oral historic evidence of purposeful genocide by hunger (Holodomor) during 1932-1933 in Ukraine

    The research project “Documentary and oral historic evidence of purposeful genocide by hunger (Holodomor) during 1932-1933 in Ukraine” aims at examining the social and psychological consequences of the Holodomor, including: deformation of national traditions and devaluation of values, which had a negative influence on moral and ethical behavioral norms and caused conformity and spread a culture of fear that persists today. Little known documents will be examined, including those from the Luhansk region (Starobilsk, 1933) that indicate that all of the children of an orphanage there died of “hunger disease.”

    Lubomyr Luciuk

    Support for publication of Tell Them We Are Starving: The 1933 Diaries of Gareth Jones

    This book contains both transcriptions and facsimiles of the notebooks of Welsh journalist Gareth Jones, written during a three-week stay in the USSR in March 1933, as famine devastated Ukraine, the Kuban region and the Lower Volga. Jones used these notebooks to write a series of newspaper articles upon his return to Great Britain. The diaries constitute an important independent record of the famine now known as the Holodomor, recorded as it unfolded. The diaries went unnoticed for 50 years after Jones’ death in 1935 until they were discovered by his nephew. They were first exhibited in 2009 at Trinity College, Jones’ alma mater.

    Daria Mattingly

    Interdisciplinary examination of cultural memory of the Holodomor

    This project, drawing on archival data and oral (post)memory on the republican and village level in two villages, focuses on the rank-and-file perpetrators of the famine: their identities, activities and their traces in the cultural and memorial texts created after the Holodomor. While Stalin and Kremlin functionaries organized the famine and loom large in memorial and historical discourse, party plenipotentiaries and local activists made it possible on the ground but are forgotten or reduced to prosopographical reading as an aberrant group devoid of agency. By looking at personal narratives of lower rung perpetrators from published memoirs, testimonies of their descendants as well as those of survivors, this project seeks to reconstruct the fragmented memory of the perpetrators.

    Ihor Shuyskiy

    Torgsin in Ukraine: documented history

    This research will examine the establishment, functioning and consequences of the Torgsin trading network within Soviet Ukraine in 1931–1933.  While officially organized to service the needs of foreigners, the “Torgsin” system served to “mobilize currency reserves” during the Famine, through which starving people were deprived of their family values. The Torgsin system saw its peak activity during the years of the Famine. The project will examine the spread of the Torgsin network on Ukrainian territory; the system for collecting the valuables and the amounts targeted; personnel of the Torgsin; and the consequences and impact of the Torgsin system on society.

    Mykola Soroka

    Ukrainian famine of 1932–33 as presented in the Russian émigré discourse of the interwar period

    The project examines the Ukrainian famine of 1932–33 as presented in the Russian émigré discourse of the interwar period.Viewing Ukraine through an imperial prism and critical of its “separatism,” the Russian émigré discourse was quite consistent in exposing the totalitarian nature of the new Soviet state and, thus, may serve as a reliable source on these tragic events in Ukraine, following their dynamics and providing unique insight. Research will address issues of how the imperial views of the Russian emigration framed perceptions of the Ukrainian famine, how Russian émigrés saw the famine in the context of Soviet industrialization and international developments, how perception of the famine in Ukraine was different from that in other regions, attitudes to Ukrainian nationalism and the politics of Ukrainization, and responses to Soviet propaganda.

    Mykola Horokh

    Establishment and functioning of the Torgsin system in the Chernihiv region (1932-36)

    This project aims to produce a regional history of the Soviet state-run “Torgsin” stores (1930 – 1936), which were at the height of their activity during the Holodomor 1932-1933. This project, focusing on previously unstudied sources, is the first to focus on the Chernihiv regional division of “Torgsin” and the first overall regional study of the Soviet state-run “Torgsin” system. The project will result in preparation of a monograph that will describe the Chernihiv regional “Torgsin” system as it operated in the period 1932-1936; and research in regional archives on the specifics of Torgsin operations on the territory of Ukraine. The publication will include information on employees of the system, analysis of data on the purchase of gold, silver, platinum, diamonds and foreign currency by the Torgsins, and rare photographs of the first half of the 1930s.

    Natalia Romanets

    Lynching and “mob justice” in Ukrainian villages during the Holodomor (1933) and post-Holodomor period (1933-1936)

    This project examines instances of lynching and “mob justice” in Ukrainian villages during the Holodomor (1933) and post-Holodomor period (1933-1936) in the context of social, moral, and psychological consequences of the Holodomor. The project aims to analyze criminality in Ukrainian villages during the Holodomor and post-Holodomor period; define the social cohort of criminals; research methods the authorities employed to fight crime during the Holodomor and the periods1934-1935 and 1936-1937; to determine the scale and scope of lynchings, who participated and the ramifications; analyze methods the authorities employed to combat lynchings, their effectiveness and outcomes; and define the social, moral and psychological consequences of the lynchings.

    Valentyna Yeremenko

    Holodomor of 1932-1933 within the Soviet policy of “compulsory amnesia” and its memorialization in modern Ukraine

    This project will support research of a number of sources in preparation of a selection of documents about the suppression of and informational manipulations around the topic of famine in the USSR. A significant portion of the documentation will be collected from the archives in Moscow of Glavlit (General Directorate for the Protection of State Secrets in the Press under the Council of Ministers of the USSR) fund., the repository to which documents were sent.

  • 2014 HREC Research Grants Competition

    In 2014, HREC held its first grants competition, with a focus on support of research and preservation of materials related to the Holodomor. Grant applications were considered in amounts up to $5,000. Submissions were evaluated for their relevance to the stated aims of the competition, which is to support research on the Holodomor and preservation of materials; soundness of the proposal, including methodology; and preparedness to undertake the proposal (based on CV, letters of recommendation and demonstrated preparedness).

     

    HREC awarded eleven grants for a total of $33,300, ranging from $993 to $5,000. Two grants for $5,000 were awarded to Canadian institutions engaged in projects to preserve rare witness testimonies.

     

  • Individual Projects 2014

    Natalia Bem

    The Government and the Ukrainian Peasantry during the Collectivization of Agriculture and the Holodomor: Politics and Mass Consciousness

    This project will result in the completion of a manuscript and the publication of a monograph, to be completed by spring 2015, about the relationship between the government and the Ukrainian peasantry, including political attitudes during the collectivization of agriculture and the Holodomor.  Chronologically, this study will focus on the period from 1928–33.  The following research tasks are planned: researching the political attitudes of different segments of the Ukrainian peasantry (‘kurkuls’, middle peasants, poor peasants) at different stages; determining the dominant forms of protest by the peasantry during the forced collectivization; ascertaining female perceptions of the political and economic campaigns in the village, and the motivation behind their behaviour; analyzing the moral and psychological consequences of the Holodomor on the Ukrainian village.

     

    Relying on a rich base of evidence, primarily archives and oral histories, the research will examine not only the historical facts, but attitudes towards these facts and reactions to them, recreating the perceptions of peasants to Stalin’s policies.

    Olga Bertelsen

    A Social History of the Holodomor: Voices from Kharkiv Oblast, 1926–1934

    The purpose of the study is to recreate the scale of personal human tragedies under Stalinism, as well as the transformation of individuals under the threat of state violence. Through the voices of the peasants from Kharkiv oblast, the study will analyze a spectrum of human behavioral traits, from individual heroism to violence, including psychological and psychiatric transformations, before, during and after the Holodomor. The Holodomor amplified and exacerbated Ukrainians’ distrust of Soviet power. It could be argued that precisely this factor determined the scale and nature of subsequent Soviet repression in Ukraine. The project will also contain an analysis of new demographic data that will shed light on human losses during the Holodomor in the villages of Kharkiv oblast. Most important, the study will examine the dynamics of population losses in the context of political and social developments at the time. The significance of this study lies in the nature of the sources, which can contribute to a social history of the Holodomor that reveals behind statistics the real people who fell victim to the practices of the Soviet regime.

    Serhiy Bilivnenko

    An Oral History of the Holodomor on the Ukrainian Steppes: Eyewitness Accounts and the Reflections of Descendants

    Zaporizhia National University and other nearby academic and civic organizations have for some years collected oral histories from the Ukrainian steppes, accumulating a vast amount of empirical material on the Holodomor and its significance to Ukrainian society.  This project will create a thematic collection of their interviews of residents of southern Ukraine, to be released in a special edition of series The Oral History of the Ukrainian Steppes entitled Life and Death in the Time of the Holodomor, dedicated to the famines of 1921–23, 1932–33 and the 1946–47.  A documentary film with analogous material is planned.  Student will be active in the recording and preserving these materials and promoting them via social media, web streams and video hosting.

    Valentina Eremenko

    Holodomor in the Soviet Policy of “Forced Amnesia” and its Memorialization in Contemporary Ukraine

    This research project will determine the characteristics of the Soviet policy of amnesia and contemporary memorialization policies of the Famine of 1932–33.

    The project will produce and prepare for print an archeographic study with annotations of a coherent set of little-known or completely unknown historical sources about selected issues – documentaries, images, materials from periodicals, oral histories, and narratives. Additionally, the project will create a database of facts concerning places where the Holodomor took place in Ukraine. The database will be made available to scholars and the general public and will serve as a resource for developing relevant geo-informational systems on the Holodomor.

    Tatiana Yevsyeyeva

    The Liquidation of Ukrainian Orthodox Culture under Stalin’s “Revolution from Above” and the Holodomor

    The ethnic identity of the vast majority of Ukrainians was tied to the distinctiveness of Ukrainian Orthodox culture. The Russian communists aimed at transforming the multicultural Russian Orthodox empire into one, artificially unified, atheistic, communist nation, which they pursued with success in 1928 to 1932. The tasks of this project include establishing similarities between political systems and cultures of the Russian Orthodox empire and the internationalist USSR by identifying the mechanisms used to form and transmit church stereotypes about political culture, as well as the effects on the formation of political consciousness in Russian and Ukrainian subjects; examining the preconditions, causes and effects of the conflict between national identities in the Orthodox part of the Russian empire; determining the process of confiscation of church property, elimination of churches, communities, and the clergy during the famines of 1921–23, the “Godless Five Years” of 1928–32, and the Holodomor of 1932-33; exploring the relations between the state and the church and the impact on the liquidation of Ukrainian Orthodox culture in the 1928–33; and determining the place of the ethno-religious factor in the Ukrainian Genocide of 1932–33.

    Svitlana Kostilieva

    Students of the Kiev Polytechnic during Stalin’s Military-Industrial Modernization and the Holodomor of 1932–1933

    The purpose of the project is a historical reconstruction of everyday student life at one of the leading universities in Ukraine-—Kyiv Polytechnic Institute—during the forced military-industrial modernization and the Famine of 1932–1933. Based on thorough analysis of hitherto unknown archival materials, periodicals, and personal documents, the researchers will demonstrate the ambiguity of the role and place of students in Stalin’s “revolution from above” and during the Holodomor. On the one hand, students were actively used by communist authorities to promote the official political line, and students were actively involved in virtually all campaigns in the country, including grain procurement, dispossession and more. On the other hand, students themselves were subject to considerable pressure from the government and “cleansing” of “disloyal,” “kulak Petliura” “religious” elements, including expulsion from the school of those whose parents were “kulaks.”

    Nataliia Levchuk

    The Demographic and Medical Effects of the Holodomor in Urban Areas of Ukraine

    This project examines mortality differentials by causes of death for urban populations of Ukraine in the pre-Famine, Famine and the immediate post-Famine years. Three particular questions will be addressed: what causes of death accounted for most of the excess mortality in 1933–34?; how did the composition of causes of death for the urban population change before, during and in the immediate post Famine years?; were there any variations in the levels and patterns of cause-specific mortality between large cities and small towns? The proposed work will be based on data from archival sources and the collection of all available aggregated statistics on death by sex, age and cause of death for urban populations of the Ukrainian SSR in 1931 and 1933–38, organized into a database so as to determine patterns of cause-specific mortality associated with the Famine, especially the increase in the contribution to total mortality of certain diseases and the diminishing importance of others. Although there are concerns about the quality of cause-of-death statistics this data offers an important resource for estimating cause-specific mortality changes in urban areas during the crisis toward a deeper understanding of the demographic and the medical impact of the Holodomor. Ultimately, this study will contextualize and substantiate two very important issues related to the famine of 1932–33: the intentionality of the state’s actions in Ukraine, and the national element of the famine.

    Daria Mattingly

    A Study of Perpetrators in Three Villages

    This project is an interdisciplinary examination of the cultural memory of the Holodomor. It focuses on the rank-and-file perpetrators of the famine: their identities, activities and the traces they left in the cultural and memorial texts. While Stalin and his functionaries in the Kremlin organised the 1932–33 famine in Ukraine and loom large in memorial and historical discourses, the party plenipotentiaries who made it possible faded into obscurity as did the local activists and petty officials who assisted them. By looking at the personal narratives of the lower-rung perpetrators from published memoirs and testimonies of their descendants as well as those of survivors, this project seeks to reconstruct the fragmented memory of the perpetrators, whose numbers had to be proportionate to the starvation of millions. More specifically, the perpetrators to be studied are from three villages in Ukraine identified from the memoirs of Victor Kravchenko and Lev Kopelev. Archival data to complement their testimonies is essential. This micro-historical analysis seeks to cast what took place in the rest of the country in greater relief.

    Hrehoriy Papapkin

    “The Black List” in 1932–1933 Ukraine: Documentary Evidence

    The purpose of this project is the collection of documentary evidence and oral histories regarding the Ukrainian famine-genocide of 1932–33. In particular, it examines the blockading of economic life in Ukrainian locales deemed to have not fulfilled their required grain requisition quotas; all means of commerce and survival were deliberately expropriated for the state and then repressed. By examining state archives in both Ukraine and in Moscow, this project aims to show the national character of the Holodomor in Ukraine and the aims of the regime in implementing a “black list” policy towards Ukraine. Ultimately, this project will result in publication of a collection of documents entitled “The Black List: The Years 1932–33 in Ukraine.”

    Natalia Khanenko-Friesen

    Collectivization, Holodomor, and Oral History: Bringing Peasant Testimonies of the 1930s to the English Speaking Audiences

    This project will digitize and preserve the extremely valuable oral history project conducted in 1992–95 by a group of Ukrainian scholars on the transformation of civil society in the Ukrainian countryside that resulted from collectivization of Ukraine’s agricultural communities in the 1930s. The goal of the project was to collect first-hand accounts of the village life and community organization prior, during, and after collectivization of the Ukrainian agriculture. The researchers recorded 450 interviews with elderly Ukrainian villagers across the country. The testimonies served as primary data for the analysis of dramatic sociocultural changes the Ukrainian rural communities were forced to undergo in the 1920-30s, resulting in the book edited by William Noll, Transformation of Civil Society: Oral History of Ukrainian Peasant Culture of the 1920-30s (1999). It wasUkraine’s first monograph on collectivization and its aftermath that relied on oral history methodology and first-hand unabridged and unedited testimonies and witness accounts. The proposed project will ensure that the rich oral history data collected by the researchers is preserved, properly archived, and accessible to future researchers, both in Ukraine and elsewhere. Given the deteriorating state of the audio recordings and general inaccessibility of all project data to all interested researchers, a full digitization of all of the original interviews is underway, and a web portal for the project is being created where project data will be presented and profiled, and project documentation upgraded and translated into English to build a safe electronic home for the entire project collection at the University of Saskatchewan, in the Digital Research Centre.

    Collaborative Projects 2014

    UCRDC

    Restoration of Outtakes of Harvest of Despair Interviews

    In preparation of the film Harvest of Despair, which was produced by the Ukrainian Canadian Research and Documentation Centre, the interviews taken from witnesses, victims, scholars and journalists were quite lengthy (1–3 hours). Only a small portion of the filmed interviews was used in the film. The outtakes, which have been kept in the UCRDC archives, include invaluable and irreplaceable material, including interviews with such well -known witnesses as Malcolm Muggeridge, Petro Grigorenko, Olha Mak, and Vasyl Sokil and scholars such as James Mace. But the material exists in formats from the technology of the time, i.e. on 16 mm celluloid film. Accessing that material today is problematic as equipment and technicians able to do this are disappearing, to say nothing of the deterioration of the film stock over time. All the same, there is substantial interest in accessing the full interviews.

    In 1980s filming, the images and sound were captured on separate channels and then synchronized. Furthermore, in the case of Harvest of Despair, the parts used in the finished film were cut out of the originals; for synchronization they have to be edited back into the originals and then transferred to new film that can be digitized for accessibility and long-term preservation. Yurij Luhovy, the editor of the original film, has helped the UCRDC examine the outtakes of the interviews and determined that such a restoration can be done. The material is irreplaceable. Harvest of Despair interviews were done with witnesses who had been adults during the Holodomor and are now deceased. Any interviews done more recently had to rely on the testimony of those who had been children in 1932-33.

    In preparation of the film Harvest of Despair, which was produced by the Ukrainian Canadian Research and Documentation Centre, the interviews taken from witnesses, victims, scholars and journalists were quite lengthy (1–3 hours). Only a small portion of the filmed interviews was used in the film. The outtakes, which have been kept in the UCRDC archives, include invaluable and irreplaceable material, including interviews with such well -known witnesses as Malcolm Muggeridge, Petro Grigorenko, Olha Mak, and Vasyl Sokil and scholars such as James Mace. But the material exists in formats from the technology of the time, i.e. on 16 mm celluloid film. Accessing that material today is problematic as equipment and technicians able to do this are disappearing, to say nothing of the deterioration of the film stock over time. All the same, there is substantial interest in accessing the full interviews.

    In 1980s filming, the images and sound were captured on separate channels and then synchronized. Furthermore, in the case of Harvest of Despair, the parts used in the finished film were cut out of the originals; for synchronization they have to be edited back into the originals and then transferred to new film that can be digitized for accessibility and long-term preservation. Yurij Luhovy, the editor of the original film, has helped the UCRDC examine the outtakes of the interviews and determined that such a restoration can be done. The material is irreplaceable. Harvest of Despair interviews were done with witnesses who had been adults during the Holodomor and are now deceased. Any interviews done more recently had to rely on the testimony of those who had been children in 1932-33.