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Date and Place of Birth: 1937 in Nizhen, Chernihivska oblast, Ukraine

Date of Interview: April 21, 2015

Place of Interview: Toronto, Ontario

Interviewer: Sophia Isajiw

Length of Interview: 2:05:17 (raw)

Mother (Survivor): Olha Mak, b. 1913 in Kamyanets-Podilskyi, Ukraine


I: How often did you talk with your mother about her experiences in Ukraine?

MH: We would not sit down and bring it as a subject, but very often she would go back like, we grew up aware of the Holodomor. Because we were so young during the Soviet era, it was prohibited, it was a taboo subject, but they would not be talking to children like what would we know about it. But as soon as we left, when we were abroad, it was an open subject. It was mentioned as in everyday life. She would sit down and she would sometimes recall how it was. For example, she said that my father brought a bag of carrots. She just said a bag of carrots, I don’t know what size bag. But somewhere, he got a bag of carrots and he brought it home. And she was pregnant, it was early pregnancy, but she was still pregnant. And she said that for days there was hardly any other food than carrots and she had to eat carrots and she hated carrots ever since. She would put a carrot in the soup just for the flavor but she would never eat it, just for the flavor, she said you know, like after that, I just couldn’t. Then, something that I find, now I find it cute, but my father got a bag, again I have no idea the size of the bag, of sunflower seeds. And she said you know, if I eat some of these seeds they numb the hunger. So they were not aware that it was a highly nutritious snack, so they thought it was somehow it would pacify the stomach and they wouldn’t feel hungry. So they had those seeds. About, she would, you know, very seldom, she was a person that was hardened. She would speak about it in an even voice.

There were only 2 occasions that I felt her voice breaking, she said the most pitiful were young boys, the teenage boys that reach this age that they eat like horses, and there was no food.


  1. Miroslava Hec’s mother, Olha Mak, is interviewed in the book Ukrainian Holocaust: 1932-1933 #5/ Український Голокост: 1932-1933 #5, (UCRDC, 2008), Pp: 103-106.

  1. Stones Under the Scythe, book by Olha Mak with English translation edited and with a forward by Miroslawa Hec.

  1. Olha Mak speaks in the film Harvest of Despair, UCRDC 

excerpt from the Interview with MYROSLAVA HEC

The interviews can be accessed at the UCRDC. Please contact us at: office@ucrdc.org