Evhenia Bozhenko

[My mother] had to walk another one and a half kilometers, [from the train station] and carry the bread. It was night and she was very tired. It was snowing and she was dragging her bag. She said she was very tired, but that she was praying to God that she not fall asleep, because her hungry children were waiting for the bread. She brought the half a bag of bread home, and we were so happy, yelling Mama’s home! My father didn’t know that mother had returned, as he was still at work. When father came home we were so happy we didn’t sleep until the morning. Mother gave us each a tiny piece of bread. I can still see that bread today – it wasn’t white or black – you could say it was gray. My father worked with the horses. He came home [during the day] because it was a small village – 42 homes. When he was coming home, he took a handful of grain [that was used to feed the horses]. He did this a couple of times, but got scared, because if the brigadier found out, you would get ten years [in prison camps] for sure. When he would bring that grain home mother would cook it at night, so that nobody would see. He and mother were scared that father would get caught stealing, although he couldn’t steal a lot. So mother sewed little bags that he wore under his pants, where he hid [the grain]. That’s how we survived the winter. Thank God we at least had that.

The church was destroyed. I went there sometimes with my aunt. A man came out onto the church steps and started to talk about the Famine, about how Stalin did this. He said whatever he wanted. They took him right away and gave him ten years [in the prison camps]. He never returned home. He left three children – I went to first or second grade with his daughter. A woman went to collect wheat stalks. She collected some stalks and put them in her apron. How much could she have taken? She didn’t take a whole bag, just what fit in her apron. She was walking and chewing the grains. A brigadier saw her, and she got ten years [in the prison camps] for collecting and eating wheat stalks.



File size: 33.6 Mb
Duration: 4:37

Date of birth:11 December 1923
Place of birth:Kozlovka village, Mykolaiv oblast
Witnessed Famine in:Kozlovka village, Mykolaiv oblast
Arrived in Canada:1950
Current residence: Calgary
Date and place of interview: 22 March 2009, Calgary