In December Ukraine lamented over the ten million lives lost in the great artificial famine of 1933. It's been 70 years since that terrible time, but many Ukrainian people still remember the horrors that they went through during those months of great suffering that they've been put through due to the cruel and unwise decisions that were made by the Communists. It is now the well-known fact that the famine in 1933 was created artificially, when millions of tons of flour and other products were taken away from the Ukrainian farmers and shipped over to Russia. This is what we heard from one of the older people here in Kiev, who survived that famine:
"The Soviet power used this terrible method in order to make Ukrainian peasants join Soviet collective farms. That's why the mentioning of the famine of 1933 was a rigid taboo over several decades. Not a single word in the mass media, not a single word in speeches, not a single word anywhere. Only in the times of Gorbachev's perestroika was this taboo broken. Most of what I saw in the terrible spring of 1933 is impossible to describe. How can I write about people eating their children in order to stay alive? How can I describe the smell of starvation? How can I describe the famine victims? Millions of them. Starved people lying in ditches along the road. The presence of death was everywhere."
"A woman offered me candy to go with her. I was only four, and nearly became another victim of the Great Famine in that Spring of 1933. The woman wanted me for dinner. No, not to share with dinner, but to be her dinner! That's the way it was during a period when 6 to 10 million Ukrainians, mostly peasants, starved to death. I shake even now as I tell you this story 67 years later. After being offered sweets, I followed the woman. My grandfather saw me follow her, looked at the woman's swollen belly from lack of food, and pulled me away."
"I remember crying because I wanted the candy. Two days later, they found another child in that woman's house. He had been butchered. My father took me to the women's home. 'That could have been you,' he said."
Lydia's grandmother Olga was also one of those who survived that terrible famine. She came to visit us not so long ago and shared her sad testimony with us. She survived the famine, but lost her parents and four of her brothers and sisters back then. Only two of her brothers stayed alive, and only because they fled the Ukraine and went to St. Petersburg. Granny Olga comes from a Christian family. Christian meetings were held at their house regularly, as their church was closed by the Soviets. She told us how the Soviets were persecuting anyone in the village who didn't seem to starve and how they confiscated possessions of those who worked hard and thus had some food to eat.
She also told us how they were making bread out of the chaff, and how they ate the weeds just to stay alive. "First they took the beehives, then the cows and the grain," she told us. "When there was no more food left and we began to starve, one of our communist school teachers began coming and asking us if our father, who was a Christian, spoke anything against the Communist party."
We saw tears in her eyes, as she told us about the death of her little brothers, who died from starvation just after the food had arrived. They had no more strength to eat it! But no matter what terrible things she had to go through, Olga kept believing and trusting the Lord, who protected and blessed her!
Today, like many years ago we also meet those hungry children on the streets of Kiev, begging for bread and a little bit of compassion. I was met by the little girl, while we did shopping, who was dressed in rags - she asked me for some food. Her eyes brightened, as I handed her some money, and she gave me such a happy look! I will never forget those eyes. There was pain in them, but also so much thankfulness, that it almost made me cry. I thanked the Lord for all the wonderful blessings that we do have and for such a loving Family, where nobody has to starve - thank God for His provision! It makes us so thankful for everything that Jesus gives us and also motivates us to go out and to reach these people with His love, so that everyone would know Him. Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!
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