Ukraine Travel

Holodomor Museum

One of the main reasons I went to Ukraine was to see Holodomor Museum. For my Master’s I am studying an Anglo-American journalist who denied that the famine of 1932-1933 was happening in the ussr. In Ukraine, which was the breadbasket of ussr and both the most affected by the famine, this genocide is remembered as Holodomor or death by hunger. While russophiles are trying to deny that Holodomor was a genocide, Raphael Lemkin, the one who coined the term of genocide after the Holocaust, said that the Ukrainian famine of 1932-1933 was the best example of what genocide means.

As you can imagine it was a moving visit. The museum is so well made. Ukrainians are really good at commemorating and remembering. The museum makes a powerful statement. In less than 2 years, around 4 million Ukrainians died, according to the latest consensus. The estimate varied from 3 to 7 million.

Holodomor Museum

The museum is, from an architectural point of view, beautiful. The museum is in the back, in the building which looks like a candle. There is a statue of a little girl in front and the two angles with the dates 1932 and 1933 on them.

Holodomor Museum

The Bitter Memory of Childhood statue represents the ones who were most affected, the children. The girl is so small, it is really heartbreaking to see it and think of the children who starved to death 90 years ago. She holds in her hands 5 ears of grain. By law, any person who collected 5 ears of grain after the harvest to keep for themselves faced 10 years in prison (hard labour) or execution.

There was grain, some of it was exported, and any food peasants had in their houses could be requisitioned. This meant that the communists entered the homes of the peasants and took any vegetables they were growing in their own gardens.


At her feet people leave biscuits or something else, for people to take. It is one of the most impressive things I saw. Random people just exchanging food in remembrance of the famine their ancestors had to endure.


Back in the 1930s, ‘black boards’ were introduced, meaning the physical food blockade of farms, villages, and districts: total removal of food, ban of trade and transportation of goods, and ban on leaving for farmers and the surrounding places. It was enforced by military units, GPU, police. These black stacks of wheat lead the way towards the entrance to the museum. On the way to the entrance there is a list of all the villages which were affected, tens of thousands.


The wheat, as an ever present symbol in Ukraine.


The stork caught up in stone, unable to leave, a symbol of the law against free movement of people. Only Ukrainians and Kuban farmers were forbidden to travel to cities in Russia and Belarus. In Kuban the Ukrainian minority was disproportionally affected by these new laws.

Holodomor Museum - interior

The interior of the museum is just as well thought. On the walls the names of the victims of the famine are slowly rising to the heavens. I will share only three highlights from inside.


Firstly, this Vyshyvanka, which was put in a jar and buried in the garden. This happened during russia’s full-scale invasion, in 2022, in Kharkiv region. It was clear to them that having a symbol of Ukraine would put them in danger. Considering what happened and what is happening now in the Kharkiv region (with civilians being deliberately targeted), they were right to do that.

It also reminded me of the woman who buried the Ukrainian flag in a jar under a slab in Kherson.


There are two newspapers on display. On top is the new newspaper from the current invasion, from 2022, found in Kharkiv and read by the russian soldiers. On the bottom is a newspaper from November 1932, published by the communists.
The connections between Holodomor and the current imperialistic expansion of russia are clear to see.

Grain from Odesa

This was emotional for me to see. In March I did a presentation in which I talked about intergenerational trauma and how recent events remind people of Holodomor. One example was a russian attack on an Ukrainian grain store in Odesa in July 2023. I used a picture to show the destruction. In April, when I visited Holodomor museum I saw this burnt grain. It was from that grain store, hit in Odesa last year.


The museum is filled with more artefacts and details and it is expanding with a new building being constructed.

Holodomor museum should be on the list of places to visit for anyone going to Kyiv. I visited it this year and I will visit it again, next time I am in Kyiv.

2 Comment

  1. This looks like an incredible museum, both inside and out. I wish the world would pay closer attention to the similarities between now and 80-90 years ago.
    Kelly recently posted…GodzillaMy Profile

    1. It is an incredible museum indeed, so much attention to detail and presented in such a dignified way. I was so impressed as a historian and moved as a human.

      There are so many similarities and it seems we are getting into a war due to this “de-escalation”, a modern version of the appeasement, which was a disaster. There is still hope that something will change and a harder stance will be adopted, thus returning to a real deterrence, successful for decades during the Cold War.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge