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Date and Place of Birth: 1967 in Newark, New Jersey, USA

Date of Interview: August 6, 2015

Place of Interview: Toronto, Ontario

Interviewer: Sophia Isajiw

Length of Interview: 01:14:08 (raw)

Father (Survivor): Iwan Jemetz, b. 1930 in Tsariczanka, Ukraine


My grandmother, you know, she was funny. Didn’t smile too often but the smile would break out into a smirk when she saw us doing something naughty, or... She was just a happy person but concerned about – ‘what are we going to eat, are we hungry, are we ok’ – whenever we were spending time with her. But I remember at one point she wanted to tell us stuff about the Holod, or our parents told us: ‘go sit down with your grandmother, she’s going to tell you about the Holod.’ And I remember a couple of her stories saying that people were getting bloated from hunger and she didn’t know what to do because KGB guys came around the house regularly and were poking the ground with sticks to make sure there was nothing buried in the ground.

I remember these stories vividly. And they were just desperate to find anything to eat that, at one point out of desperation, she got reeds and kind of chopped them up and made kind of like a pancake and fried them. They were like bland and watery and they didn’t have any salt, and it was just uh – she didn’t really convey the fear but now I feel it because I’m a parent and I can understand a fraction, not being there, but a fraction of what it must have been like to have children and your husband, and you’re desperate for food and not only can you not find any, you’re not allowed to have it because the forces that are in power want to eradicate you.


  1. Alexander’s father, Iwan Jemetz / Іван Ємець (1929), is interviewed in the book Ukrainian Holocaust: 1932-1933 #5/ Український Голокост: 1932-1933 #5, (UCRDC, 2008), Pp: 161-167.

  1. Iwan Jemetz is interviewed in Ariadna Ochrymovych’s video, UCRDC Archive File #319, November 12, 2009 for the “Share the Story” project (“Iwan’s Story”; ”Share the Story” project webpage)

excerpt from the Interview with ALEXANDER JEMETZ

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