Natalia Avramenko (Ilchenko)

There was a cafeteria where miners ate. Potatoes were peeled by hand, and those women or girls who peeled them knew that people came to collect the potato peels. They threw the peels out the window and we went and collected them. They would purposely peel them thick [for us].
People went all the way to Kyiv on foot to exchange whatever they had for food. People would tell each other – I went there and there, and got a bit of flour, potatoes or millet.
I remember there was a cart, with a deep hatch, would come around to pick up corpses. They used pitchforks to pick up the dead. When people heard the cart coming, whoever still had the strength tried to hide in the bushes or behind a tree, because [they took people who were still living], saying that they didn’t want to return for them later.
There were 200 homes [in the village]. Every house had three or four people. More than half died.
There were statues of Lenin and Stalin, and they would wash them [often]. In the morning, when people were going to work, somebody had already thrown mud in the statue’s face. If they found the person who did that, they were thrown in prison. But my father said that every day the statue had mud thrown on it. They sent people to prison, shot them, tortured them before exiling them to Siberia. This was a real horror.


File size: 14.3 Mb
Duration: 2:25

Date of birth: 25 February 1925
Place of birth:Tymoshivka village, Kyiv oblast
Witnessed Famine in:Tymoshivka village, Kyiv oblast
Arrived in Canada:1949
Current residence: St. Catharines, Ontario
Date and place of interview: 17 February 2009, St.Catharines, Ontario