The population of Yaroslavka village (Ruzhyn district, Zhytomyr region) suffered from Holodomor-genocide of 1932-1933. According to the eyewitnesses, a half of the village died of hunger. By 1932 there were more than 1500 inhabitants living in the village.
A famine began in Yaroslavka village in 1932. An order was given from the district authority that the grown crop of corn would fully be handed over to the state, and the “dictatorship of the proletariat” would be applied to those who did not surrender. The villagers did not manage to fulfill this obligation, as another terrible order of additional robbery came. The designation of the “father” of nations was fulfilled. Stalinist district performers came and together with rural “activists”, took up work. In village they were named as “shaking”, because they were shaking, shattering everything that fell under their arms, searching for people’s remnants of bread.
Olena Bondar, Mariya Kozeniuk and Motria Artymchuk told how the members of the authorized brigades by big iron probes pierced every meter of the land of the estate, rows of houses, loaves, barns, demanding to fulfill “bread plan”. They took away not only grain but also potatoes, beans, scalded in ovens, swaddled booths, pots. As Hanna Malitska testified, knocking out people’s confessions about the remnants of bread, the village activists drove drove men into a big pit. The pits were covered around by semi-dry weed and then it was set on fire, caustic smoke strangled people. People shouted, gasping. One man escaped from the pit, hiding in the bosom a loaf of bread for children. He was grabbed and they picked up his bread. Who resisted, was brutally beaten, taken out, and such people never returned in the village. When nothing was found, “activists” from malice (especially in the winter) broke the furnace, destroyed the chimneys, the walls, beat the window.
They took the millstone, the husk, the stupas, so that the peasants could not even use the cottage-style method to “grind” grain for flour. There was a windmill in the village that had moles of corn. He was locked and sealed. Such actions caused hunger. People ate rotten frozen potatoes found on fields, weeds, grass, leaves of trees to be saved from hunger. After such “food” unbearable abdominal pains began. Children crawled on the ground, did not withstand the pain and died: somebody in the house, somebody in the weed in his own yard. Dogs, cats disappeared in village. Frogs disappeared in the pond. People ate dead cattle, there were cases of cannibalism. The witness of the famine Kseniaya Pokoiuk with a pain remembers these horrors, says through tears:
-In our family there were four children. Two children died of hunger. Our grandfather, Pylyp Dovgal was a deacon. And he died of starvation. And the whole family of his daughter, our aunt, Hanna, died out of hunger. The activists of the village rushed to the houses, took everything – food, clothes, furniture. I, a six-year-old girl, was beat in my chest by them to say where the grain was hid. Our family was thrown out of the house in winter. Went to relative, Eugenniya Dovgal. Her family consisted of seven souls. We ate frozen sweet beets that were found in the field, torn leaves of linden, dried, triturated, dried and poured boiling water. From loboda cooked soup.
Many mothers, without enduring the terrible torment of their children, were crazy. Maria Nikitiuk said that the women who were stronger, in the spring of 1933 went to the collective farm to sauté beets. For their work they cooked the balanda-maulesse. But tit did not save them, they swollen, fell and died. Straight from the field they loaded, like firewood, on a cart and taken to an already finished pit.
Do not hurt them humanly. Dead and still alive people were dropped into the pit. Some people were still half-dead and might have survived, but they were forcibly thrown into the trap. Some of them asked not to be taken. The man who, in the village for a working day, and grams of grain, took the Holodomor victims, was called Samiylo. He answered the petitioners: “I have no time to come for you tomorrow, you will die too.”
Sometimes there was nobody to carry the dead people from starvation to pit, and corps lay in houses for weeks. Some mothers, swollen from hunger and being exhausted carried their little children to pit to drop them down to the ground. The holes with the Holodomor victims, for weeks, sometimes even for months, were not filled with earth.
The Memorial sign at the mass burial place – an obelisk of black granite with carved words ” The inhabitants of Yaroslavka village are resting here, those, who died of hunger in 1932-33. Eternal memory”. The sign was established on April 14, 1991, by D. Kovalchuk.