Holodomor
Small group of people gathered around a child lying dead near the edge of a sidewalk in Kharkiv
Description
Creator
Williams, Whiting, 1878-1975, Photographer
Media Type
Image
Text
Item Types
Photographs
Newspaper illustrations
Description
Several women, men and a child look with concern at the body of a very young girl lying with her bare feet over the curb. Williams states that the child is dead. The setting is a city bridge with a busy sidewalk alongside the road. One of the women looking at the child holds a teakettle in her hand, while another appears to be looking quizzically at the photographer. Barely visible in the background are a couple of men in some kind of uniform.

In the Answers version, the setting is cropped out, and considerable liberty was taken by the photo editor in enhancing the outlines of the subjects, as well as creating a bare right foot for the woman in the foreground - whereas the original shows both feet in shoes.

Context: Homeless children during the Holodomor

As famine conditions in Ukraine became ever more severe in the 1930’s, the numbers of homeless youth increased dramatically. Starving parents from the countryside sometimes dropped off their children in urban areas in the desperate hope that they had a better chance for survival there. Perhaps they might be taken in by a kind stranger or an orphanage. Older children sometimes left their dead or dying families in the villages of their own accord, also in the hope of finding a means to stay alive in the city.

The situation was particularly acute in Kharkiv. Officials report 9,000 children picked up off the streets in one week alone in May, 1933. There were not enough provisions in the overcrowded orphanages, where the death rate was 30% and higher from disease and starvation. Conditions were so appalling that more able-bodied children often escaped to return to a chance for survival in the streets.

Notes
Photo taken August, 1933.

This photo was later published with the first of 2 articles by Whiting Williams in a London weekly titled Answers: “My Journey Through Famine-Stricken Russia,” February 24, 1934, p.16.

See Related Features menu to link to the article.

The original photograph and the published version are both shown.
Inscriptions
Caption on the back of the photograph: “A little victim of Russian hunger.”
Caption under the photo in Answers: "“Factory women passing a tiny victim of famine: a dead child lying on a pavement in Kharkov.”
Date of Original
1933
Date Of Event
1933
Subject(s)
Local identifier
PD201
Collection
Whiting Williams
Language of Item
English
Geographic Coverage
  • Kharkiv, Ukraine
    Latitude: 49.98081 Longitude: 36.25272
Copyright Statement
Copyright status unknown. Responsibility for determining the copyright status and any use rests exclusively with the user.
Recommended Citation
for original photograph: “A little victim of Russian hunger”; [Container 1, Folder 9 ] PG 89 Whiting Williams Photographs, Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, OH. Retrieved from: http://vitacollections.ca/HREC-holodomorphotodirectory/3634044/data

for published version: Williams, Whiting. “My Journey Through Famine-Stricken Russia,” Answers (weekly). London, February 24, 1934, p.16. Retrieved from: http://vitacollections.ca/HREC-holodomorphotodirectory/3634044/image/4224303
Location of Original
[Container 1, Folder 9 ] PG 89 Whiting Williams Photographs, Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, OH.
Terms of Use
Reproduction of images is restricted to fair use for personal study or research. Any other use requires a contractual agreement with the Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, OH. Contact the Society directly at:
https://www.wrhs.org/research/library/services/
Reproduction Notes
Reproduced by contractual agreement with the Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland, OH.
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Small group of people gathered around a child lying dead near the edge of a sidewalk in Kharkiv


Several women, men and a child look with concern at the body of a very young girl lying with her bare feet over the curb. Williams states that the child is dead. The setting is a city bridge with a busy sidewalk alongside the road. One of the women looking at the child holds a teakettle in her hand, while another appears to be looking quizzically at the photographer. Barely visible in the background are a couple of men in some kind of uniform.

In the Answers version, the setting is cropped out, and considerable liberty was taken by the photo editor in enhancing the outlines of the subjects, as well as creating a bare right foot for the woman in the foreground - whereas the original shows both feet in shoes.

Context: Homeless children during the Holodomor

As famine conditions in Ukraine became ever more severe in the 1930’s, the numbers of homeless youth increased dramatically. Starving parents from the countryside sometimes dropped off their children in urban areas in the desperate hope that they had a better chance for survival there. Perhaps they might be taken in by a kind stranger or an orphanage. Older children sometimes left their dead or dying families in the villages of their own accord, also in the hope of finding a means to stay alive in the city.

The situation was particularly acute in Kharkiv. Officials report 9,000 children picked up off the streets in one week alone in May, 1933. There were not enough provisions in the overcrowded orphanages, where the death rate was 30% and higher from disease and starvation. Conditions were so appalling that more able-bodied children often escaped to return to a chance for survival in the streets.