The Ukrainian Genocide

December 6, 2009
By Khrystyna123 SILVER, Brooklyn, New York
Khrystyna123 SILVER, Brooklyn, New York
5 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Prologue- 1929
Lilia Balka
My poor daughter,
how can I protect you
from the pain,
from the sadness,
from the emptiness you will feel?
How can I explain that he was arrested and killed
after being falsely accused
of plotting an armed revolt?
The thought of it makes me mad!
Your father was an author,
He expressed his thoughts in words,
Not with weapons and fists.
He was a fair man,
A man with dignity and pride,
A man seeking justice and freedom,
A man you will never know.
The thought of how many children are left without
Mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters
The thought of families broken apart by a cruel man
A man with his soul as black as his moustache
O what horrors await!
The Beginning – January 1933
Anna Balka
We had little food today,
Mama said it was because of
The man with the black moustache
Who is this man?
I prayed before going to bed,
And asked Papa to watch over us from heaven
I remember the day Grandma came and said that Papa
Was in a better place
I was seven years old,
small and chubby.
Mama and Grandma came into the room,
with Volodya and told me to sit on the sofa
Grandma asked if I knew what heaven was
When I answered ‘no”
Grandma said it was where God and the angels were,
And where Papa was now.
I didn’t understand at first, but when Papa didn’t come home
that day, nor the next, or the day after.
I began to understand that he wouldn’t be coming back.

Yelezaveta Stapko
We no longer have our gardens,
Our rows of golden wheat,
Our soil filled with plump potatoes
It’s all gone…taken by Stalin’s men
Collectivization, is what they called it
Collectivization, is the reason they gave us for taking our land
My darling grandchildren, Anna and Volodya
My dear daughter and husband
We have nothing to eat, but the spare potato or beet saved
from the last harvest…the bread will also do,
but for how long?
Last night, Sophia knocked on my door,
And said that her husband was shot by the GPU*
Right in their kitchen for refusing to give up their harvest
She had no place to live, so I took her in

*Soviet Secret Police

April 1933
Anna Balka
Yesterday, Mama was talking to Grandma
About what she saw in the house across from us,
Her voice was dry and hoarse,
Her face covered in tears:
‘Emilia’s son had died yesterday and the GPU
came and tossed his body onto the wagon…with all the others.
Emilia passed out… when she saw her son’s body…how thin
he was….and how swollen his stomach was from hunger…she cried out,
but they didn’t stop…only hit the horses to go faster…she just stood there…
tears making clean streaks across her dirty face…looking helplessly
as the wagon disappeared”
Grandma listened and soothed Mama,
and then there was a knock on the door
I hid under the table so Grandma didn’t see me crying,
I didn’t want cause anymore pain to her weakened heart.

Yelezaveta Stapko
The door burst open just as I reached for the handle.
There were three men standing on the porch with guns
on their shoulders. “Surrender your wheat” one man said.
I glanced back to the kitchen where Sophia and Lilia were sitting.
The men followed my glance and walked into the house.
Lilia came out with Sophia just as the men walked into the kitchen.
They slammed cupboards and shelves looking for grain or wheat.
When they found nothing, but a loaf of bread they opened the door
Shack where we stored food for the winter. They took everything that was left.
We have nothing anymore,
nothing to help us survive,
nothing to give us strength.
The man started to yell and as I turned around, I noticed Sophia on his back.
She was trying to stop him from taking the food.

Sophia Melenko
The man hit me multiple times as he tried to pull me off
I, however, wasn’t going to let go.
I wanted him to feel the pain I was feeling.
He took my husband away, my food, my home.
I wasn’t going to let him take away Yelezaveta’s food as well.
She is such a well mannered woman with a kind heart
She took me in when I lost everything,
Now it was time for me to repay her.
I bit the back of the man’s neck and he tumbled to the ground
Falling on top of him, I heard a blast behind me…
Suddenly, I felt a pain in my chest
I slowly
fell to the

cold dirt and closed my eyes.

Andrew… is… is that you?

Lilia Balka
My scream echoed into the night as I ran to Sophia
What had they done?
They killed her!
I tried to find a heartbeat,
A sign that she would live,
And found nothing.
The men picked up the little amount of food left
and disappeared with our hope of surviving.
I glanced up as Yelezaveta who had her head down in prayer.
I made a cross with my fingers and prayed as well.

Lord, please take care of Sophia as she passes on to a better life. Amen.
I covered Sophia with a blanket since the burial of people was forbidden.
So many people are dying from starvation that there isn’t any more room
for graves. Even if there was, the people that live, have so little strength…so little strength
Anna knows something is wrong, but she never gets upset
When I tell her we have nothing to eat.
She smiles and says “Everything will be okay tomorrow, Mama”
I hope she is right

June 1933
Anna Balka
Grandma died last night
She wanted to find some food for us
But she never made it back.
I saw Ms. Burschenko pulling out the raw potatoes
That were left in the ground with her nails and eat them.
She had tears rolling down her cheeks as she tried to bite the potato.
I wanted to help her, but I what could I do?
Mama is ill.
Her hands and legs are so thin
She always asks if there is any water
And my heart aches when she drinks the dirty water from the sink
Her stomach has swollen to almost the same size as mine
She asks if it is getting bigger
And my heart aches when I tell her no
I don’t want to say yes because that would mean that Mama will die soon
Leaving me all alone,
To take care of myself.
Papa, please….help us

Lilia Balka
My sweet, sweet Anna
No one has ever cared for me
As much as you are now
You don’t deserve this
You should be out with your friends,
Playing with dolls and having fun,
Not watching over your dying mother.
This world is cruel and heartless,
You don’t deserve this.
You don’t deserve being hungry while the rest of the world thinks we’re fine
Reporters walk through this town and the next and say that Ukraine is flourishing under Communism.
They say that the harvest is prosperous and the people are wealthy…such lies!
If the people of the world knew what was really going on.
If they only knew how hungry we are,
If they only knew how tired we are,
If they only knew how much we suffer.
If they only knew…


See: Women crawling on the ground, trying to feed their starving children

Say: The people of Ukraine have never been as healthy and well fed as they are now

See: Dead bodies rotting everywhere

Say: The harvest this year is one of the best Ukraine has had yet!

See: A man digging out worms from the dirt and eating them

Say: The economy is growing, the people are happy, and the food is plentiful

What am I doing?
Is money more important than the truth?
I can’t keep lying that Ukraine is flourishing while in realty, a crime is being committed.
A genocide against the Ukrainian people is occurring and I am letting it go on.
I am no better than the people causing this starvation.
Can a price be put on the lives of millions?
If not, why am I doing this?

The author's comments:
This piece is the beginning of a much larger novel-in-verse.

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This article has 2 comments.

on Feb. 16 2010 at 3:21 pm
katiethefabulous BRONZE, Brooklyn, New York
4 articles 0 photos 7 comments
Wow, this is really amazing. I'm 1/4 Ukrainian, and have never known much about the famine. Fascinating, and excellently written!

luvu said...
on Dec. 31 2009 at 1:24 pm
i love this. please write more. ther is no words to describe this piece of marvellous work, write more!!


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