Holodomor
Teen-aged youth begging in Kharkiv
Description
Creator
Wienerberger, Alexander, 1891-1955, Photographer
Media Type
Image
Text
Item Types
Book illustrations
Photographs
Description
A teen-aged boy most likely from the countryside is shown begging in a busy urban setting. He looks exhausted and destitute in his tattered coat and trousers. What he owns is likely what he is wearing. Note that the people visible in the background are more lightly dressed than he is.

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. Abandonment and runaways occurred, though to a lesser extent, among urban families as well.

The older children tended to band together, begging, scrounging for scraps, and stealing to survive. Prostitution was not uncommon. Living and sleeping on the streets in unsanitary conditions, they were susceptible to often fatal diseases carried by lice or caused by unclean drinking water.

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 between spring – late summer, 1933.

Photo source: Wienerberger, Alexander. Hart Auf Hart. 15 Jahre Ingenieur in Sowjetrussland. Ein Tatsachenbericht; mit 52 Original-Leicaaufnahmen des Verfassers. Salzburg, Leipzig: Pustet, 1939. f.p.64.

Hart auf hart was Alexander Wienerberger’s memoir of his career as a chemical engineer and technical manager in the Soviet Union through most of 1917 – 1933. Three of the chapters deal exclusively with his period in Ukraine, where he was tasked with retrofitting and managing a factory in Kharkiv from autumn 1932 – late summer 1933.

As stated in the title, the memoir includes 52 of his photos; however, only those from Ukraine are included in this Directory. The book was initially serialized with 7 photographs in an Austrian newspaper, the Salzburger Volksblatt, as “Abenteuer in Sowjetrussland,” [Adventures in Soviet Russia] in late 1938.

For essays and a listing of originals and versions published through 1939 with their captions, see Related Features below photo and Home page menus.
Date of Original
1933
Date Of Event
1933
Image Dimensions
Image Width: 5.5cm
Image Height: 8cm
Subject(s)
Local identifier
PD114
Collection
Alexander Wienerberger: Beyond the Innitzer album
Language of Item
German
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.
Copyright Holder
Samara Pearce https://www.samarapearce.com/
Recommended Citation
Wienerberger, Alexander. Hart auf Hart. 15 Jahre Ingenieur in Sowjetrussland. Ein Tatsachenbericht; mit 52 Original-Leicaaufnahmen des Verfassers. Salzburg, Leipzig: Pustet, 1939. f.p.64. Retrieved from: http://vitacollections.ca/HREC-holodomorphotodirectory/3636251/data
Location of Original
Location of original photograph reproduced in this publication is unknown.
Terms of Use
Rightsholder requests that the name of the photographer, Alexander Wienerberger, accompany each authentic reproduction of his work.
Reproduction Notes
Reproduced with the permission of rightsholder Samara Pearce. Source: Book cited in NOTES above.
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Teen-aged youth begging in Kharkiv


A teen-aged boy most likely from the countryside is shown begging in a busy urban setting. He looks exhausted and destitute in his tattered coat and trousers. What he owns is likely what he is wearing. Note that the people visible in the background are more lightly dressed than he is.

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. Abandonment and runaways occurred, though to a lesser extent, among urban families as well.

The older children tended to band together, begging, scrounging for scraps, and stealing to survive. Prostitution was not uncommon. Living and sleeping on the streets in unsanitary conditions, they were susceptible to often fatal diseases carried by lice or caused by unclean drinking water.

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.