Many people in a Kharkiv marketplace crowd in together around a closed store that sells rationed food
- Wienerberger, Alexander, 1891-1955, Photographer
- Media Type
- Item Types
- Photograph albums
- A large crowd of people press in together as they wait to get entry into what is most likely a store for getting food allotted on one’s ration card. The photographer states that these people are waiting for black bread –the inferior quality of bread that was available at the time. In his memoir, he also mentions that several shops opened in Kharkiv in 1933 where bread could be purchased at greatly inflated prices in rubles, without a ration card. It is possible that this establishment is this kind of store, instead.
Although it is not clearly visible from the photograph, Wienerberger also points out that the gable above the storefront still displays the faded depiction of lush fruits – an ironic reminder of what was once available at the market.
For another view of this location that was published in Wienerberger’s memoir, Hart auf Hart, see PD128: http://vitacollections.ca/HREC-holodomorphotodirectory/3636259/data
Context: Availability and access to food in urban and industrial areas
This was one of the many food stores repurposed in the early 1930s in the face of massive urban food shortages. A hierarchy of food rationing became the norm everywhere in the USSR in 1930. Those permitted to have ration cards could purchase an increasingly narrower range of basic foods at relatively low prices in certain designated stores. Having a ration card did not guarantee that the food would be available, however. Survivors frequently mentioned waiting many hours in long lines, only to leave empty handed.
Ration allotments were issued to individuals based on their assigned rank in the proletariat (non rural workers) and their place of residence. Locations in the USSR were assigned a rank based on their level of importance to the Soviet State. In Ukraine, the Donbas industrial region and Kharkiv were ranked as relatively important. (Osokina, 62, 78)
Farmers and their families and most other rural residents were not permitted to have ration cards. This huge segment of the population was dependent on the seasonal produce of the little garden plots near their homes, or the milk from their cow, if they were among the fortunate few to still have possession of one, (Applebaum, 254) or on trade at the now impoverished outdoor markets selling inferior goods at prices as much as ten times that of ration card prices.
In 1933, the number of state run commercial stores that sold goods for rubles and existed previously in only a few of the major Soviet cities, multiplied into the hundreds in order to take advantage of the desperation of a starving population. (Osokina, 127).The same applied to the Torgsin, foreign currency shops originally designed for foreign consultants and visitors. When Torgsin were opened to local citizens, allowing them to trade in gold and family heirlooms for food, the number of shops and the volume of their business increased dramatically in 1933, most notably in Ukraine. . For further information on Torgsin, see PD135: http://vitacollections.ca/HREC-holodomorphotodirectory/3636331/data
- Photo taken between spring – late summer, 1933.
Photo source: Wienerberger, Alexander. Die Hungertragödie in Südrussland 1933; also known as the Innitzer Album, 1934. p.3.
This is one of 25 photographs depicting life and death in and around Kharkiv during the Holodomor that the photographer put together in a small album with a handwritten title: Die Hungertragödie in Südrussland 1933 [The Tragedy of Famine in South Russia 1933.] He presented the album to the Roman Catholic Cardinal Theodor Innitzer of Vienna in 1934 as an expression of appreciation for the Cardinal’s efforts in trying to organize an international campaign to assist the victims of starvation in 1933. The album is housed in the collections of the Diözesanarchiv, Vienna, Austria.
For essays and a listing of originals and versions published through 1939 with their captions, check Related Features below photo and Home page menus.
- Caption: Handwritten caption in album: “Schlange stehn [sic]um Schwarzbrot.” [Standing in line for black bread.]
- Date of Original
- Date Of Event
Width: 24 cm
Height: 13.8 cm
- Image Dimensions
Image Width: 10.8cm
Image Height: 7.9cm
- Local identifier
- Alexander Wienerberger: Innitzer album
- Language of Item
- Geographic Coverage
Latitude: 49.98081 Longitude: 36.25272
- Copyright Statement
- Protected by copyright: Uses other than research or private study require the permission of the rightsholder(s). Responsibility for obtaining permissions and for any use rests exclusively with the user.
- Copyright Holder
- Samara Pearce https://www.samarapearce.com/
- Recommended Citation
- Wienerberger, Alexander. Die Hungertragödie in Südrussland 1933: Album Presented by the Photographer to Cardinal Theodor Innitzer of Vienna. Vienna: Diözesanarchiv der Erzdiözese, . p.3. Retrieved from: http://vitacollections.ca/HREC-holodomorphotodirectory/3636355/data
- Location of Original
- Diözesanarchiv - Bibliothek, Vienna, Austria. Please contact this archive for official reproductions.
- 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 and the Diözesanarchiv - Bibliothek, Vienna, Austria.