Holodomor
Two horse drawn carts transport piles of dead bodies down a Kharkiv street to a burial site
Description
Creator
Wienerberger, Alexander, 1891-1955, Photographer
Media Type
Image
Text
Item Types
Book illustrations
Photographs
Description
Two open horse drawn carts, the one in front quite full, transport bodies collected from the city streets to a burial site. Several men passing nearby stop to look at the carts. The location appears to be a major city street in Kharkiv with a tree-lined boulevard. A streetcar runs on the other side of the boulevard.

During the spring and summer of 1933, tens of thousands of Ukraine’s residents were dying daily of starvation. In June alone, on average 28,000 persons were dying each day in their village homes, in the fields, along roadsides, and in the cities of Ukraine. (Wolowyna, graph).

In Kharkiv, most of those who were found dead in the streets were people who left their starving families in the rural villages and collective farms in search of food for sale or barter, or to find work.

However by 1933, with the implementation of residency permits (Liber, Total Wars, 154), farm workers were considered illegal aliens in the city. They were not allowed the required food ration cards; work was not available for most of them; and barter – where not actually illegal, was disproportionately unfair to the rural seller. To return home, was a certain death sentence. But without food or shelter in the already overcrowded city, these immigrants from the countryside slowly began to die in ever increasing numbers throughout the city.

Each day city workers were sent out to collect the dead that were found in the streets into wagons and take them to one of many hastily designated plots of land for mass burial.
Notes
Photo taken between spring – late summer, 1933.

Photo source: Ammende, Ewald, and Alexander. Wienerberger. Muss Russland Hungern?: Menschen- und Völkerschicksale in der Sowjetunion. Wien: W. Braumüller Universitäts-Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1935, Abb.18.

The title loosely translated as, “Must Russia starve? The fate of the peoples of the Soviet Union, ” this book was a remarkably revealing, detailed and damning portrayal of the USSR in the early 1930s by a respected expert on nationalities issues. It also included a photographic supplement: 21 photographs on 11 pages of plates with the title: "Der Hunger in der Hauptstadt der Ukraine. Bilder, Aufgenommen in Charkow im Sommer 1933." [Famine in the capital of Ukraine. Photographs taken in Kharkiv during the summer of 1933.] According to Ammende, the photographs were unattributed to protect the identity of the photographer, but later were proven to be Wienerberger’s.

The original 1935 edition was followed by an English translation, Human Life in Russia, published in London after Ammende’s untimely death in 1936. This edition, however, included only half of Wienerberger’s photos and added others – some of possible legitimacy from the North Caucasus region of Russia, and the remainder proven to be from the 1920s famine in Russia and Ukraine. Reprinted in the US in 1984 for its important historical text, hardly anyone knew of the false and unverified nature of some of the photographic content. Regrettably, therefore, Human Life in Russia became an accepted resource for all its photographic documentation as well.

For essays and a listing of originals and versions published through 1939 with their captions, see Related Features below photo and Home page menus.
Inscriptions
Caption: “Ein alltägliches Bild: Primitiver Leichentransport.” [An everyday scene: primitive transport of the dead.]
Date of Original
1933
Date Of Event
1933
Image Dimensions
Image Width: 11cm
Image Height: 7cm
Subject(s)
Local identifier
PD108
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
Ammende, Ewald, and Alexander. Wienerberger. Muss Russland Hungern? : Menschen- und Völkerschicksale in der Sowjetunion. Wien: W. Braumüller Universitäts-Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1935, Abb.18. Retrieved from: http://vitacollections.ca/HREC-holodomorphotodirectory/3636285/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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Two horse drawn carts transport piles of dead bodies down a Kharkiv street to a burial site


Two open horse drawn carts, the one in front quite full, transport bodies collected from the city streets to a burial site. Several men passing nearby stop to look at the carts. The location appears to be a major city street in Kharkiv with a tree-lined boulevard. A streetcar runs on the other side of the boulevard.

During the spring and summer of 1933, tens of thousands of Ukraine’s residents were dying daily of starvation. In June alone, on average 28,000 persons were dying each day in their village homes, in the fields, along roadsides, and in the cities of Ukraine. (Wolowyna, graph).

In Kharkiv, most of those who were found dead in the streets were people who left their starving families in the rural villages and collective farms in search of food for sale or barter, or to find work.

However by 1933, with the implementation of residency permits (Liber, Total Wars, 154), farm workers were considered illegal aliens in the city. They were not allowed the required food ration cards; work was not available for most of them; and barter – where not actually illegal, was disproportionately unfair to the rural seller. To return home, was a certain death sentence. But without food or shelter in the already overcrowded city, these immigrants from the countryside slowly began to die in ever increasing numbers throughout the city.

Each day city workers were sent out to collect the dead that were found in the streets into wagons and take them to one of many hastily designated plots of land for mass burial.